April 6th, 2008

A reminder about how lj_userdoc works and fits in the Big Picture™

(To anyone who may not know me: Hi, I'm pauamma, and I'm nominally in charge of this part of the volunteer circus. Mostly, I try not to doze off, and to look like I know what I'm doing. I'm here because I like it, not because I'm paid to or otherwise required to. On rare occasions I have to write entries like this one.)

I want to make a few points about the previous post. I'm aware that some of those were made already in comments on that post, but I still want to gather them all in one place for ease of reference. So here they are, in no particular order:

  • A number of the people posting in this community, or commenting on entries, are long-term community regulars or volunteers. Even when they're not the ones who would act on your suggested documentation change, they will likely know more about how this community works (and more often than not, other pieces of the volunteer puzzle), simply because they've been here longer. When they ask you (or in some cases, tell you) to do something, there usually is a reason for that, even if you don't understand what it is. There is no blame in not knowing or not being familiar with the culture of this community, but when in doubt, ask, don't assume. (One exception: you may safely assume it's never OK to be rude, fling gratuitous accusations, insult people, or call them names.)
  • Conversely, long-term contributors should remember that not everyone knows as much as they do, and that what makes sense to them may not make sense to first-time posters. Try to explain rather than tell, and to remember that asking isn't questioning. Also, don't pile up on the poster from all directions at the same time. A few hours' delay in your answer won't hurt. Relatedly, remember that not everyone knows how all pieces of the volunteering puzzle fit together.
  • I'm pleased that most everyone managed to stay somewhat civil throughout and that sanity eventually prevailed and allowed the discussion to return to addressing substance. I would much rather not have to use so many qualifiers, though. It looks like part of the heatedness is actually spillage from a support request. I don't like it when it happens. I specifically don't like waking up and finding out first thing in the morning that it happened while I was asleep, without anyone bothering to check with me or let me know.

That is all. Thank you for your attention. We now return you to your scheduled program.