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Re: Changes made with too little discussion

On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 11:13:15AM +0100, haad wrote:
 > We need some proper way how to evaluate changes, discussion about them
 > is clearly  not good way. Because most of best developers are not
 > talking in those never ending mail threads. In practice most active
 > never ending mail writers contribute very small or zero amount of
 > code. I really don't think that their opinion should be taken serious.
 > If they really want to have NetBSD done by their way they should start
 > contributing, just talking is not going to fix anything.

This is a common perception around here, but it's not true. When there
are open design questions and other unresolved issues, talking is how
they get resolved.

That is, if you know where you're going you can just go there, but if
you don't, you have to figure out first, and having a bunch of smart
people helping makes that a lot easier. Believe me. I've spent a long
time working alone. (Granted, there's a point at which talk devolves
into design by committee, but I don't think I've ever seen that in

*Conflict* arises mostly when one person is convinced they know where
they're going, and it turns out that not everyone agrees with them.
Sometimes this is because everyone else is wrong, but more often it's
not. Sometimes it's because they haven't stated their case clearly, or
didn't explain some important aspect up front. But often it's because
they've overlooked something or even because they're pursuing a bad
idea... that is, they're wrong.

The most important lesson to learn in software is that it's ok to be
wrong and that when you are wrong, the sooner someone notices the
better. We all make mistakes; we all make lots of mistakes, all the
time. (Writing this post was probably a mistake, for example.) The
important part is to try to mitigate the consequences.

Where I work we routinely see undergrads who not only haven't learned
this lesson but are so hung up on the idea of their own awesomeness
that they literally cannot say "I was wrong". (And, also, frequently,
"I don't know".) Sooner or later they end up in difficulties.

 > Truly I haven't seen any discussion which had more than 10mails where
 > clear consensus was made. Thats not going to happen.

If you don't read them, of course you won't see the ones where
consensus appears. It does happen regularly.

David A. Holland

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