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Disapointment

Michelle (CPT Klak) found the following quote this week:

"In reality, I lay many hundred miles away in an alien land, and would wake, before many seconds had passed, in the bare little hotel bedroom, comforting in its very lack of atmosphere."

It's from the book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. It strikes me as both quite amusing and appropriate for both Michelle and I (I LOL'ed when I read it) since we're both activated reservists and away from home.


The new Mozilla (0.9.9) is less than satisfactory. It fixes some little bugs (like the download popup now actually has reliable sizes, times, and progress bad), but it has a new "feature" that it keeps randomly locking up. That is, it becomes totally unresponsive. This seems to happen randomly -- sometimes when I'm in the middle of browsing something, sometimes I come back to it after having left it for a while and find it locked up.

Very annoying.

It also continues an annoyance that I saw in previous versions: sometimes Mozilla arbitrarily grabs the keyboard input. I don't even have to be in the same virtual desktop as Mozilla for this to happen
-- I can be over in an entirely different desktop, working in emacs or a shell, and suddenly I can't type anymore. The mouse still works fine (thank goodness), but keystrokes get "lost". After much trial and error, I discovered that the only way to fix the problem is to kill Mozilla.

In truth, I don't know if this is because I downloaded binaries rather than compiling from source -- I don't know if there's some little incompatibilities in the version that they compiled vs. what I actually have on my system (version of glibc and all that). I'm reluctant to try to compile from source -- I seem to recall having tries this before, and that it was quite the hassle.


DirectTV DSL spammed me today.

I'm already a DirectTV customer -- why would I want to receive an e-mail from them that encourages me to sign up for DSL service when I already have DSL service from DirectTV? <sigh>


There was a great joke on TV today (The Daily Show):

"Anderson was handed a 10 page indictment today. Well, it was 10 pages, now it's 4,000 little strips. <shrug> It happens."


I downloaded Mandrake 8.2 ISO's. Brian is doing me the favor of burning those into CD's and sending them to me here in AZ.

Woo hoo!!


Brian spent a lot of work this week moving a very large mailing list from Yahoo! groups to our mail server at IU (the list has a few thousand members). This is a research mailing list that several members in our lab are involved with; our lab has established a good research collaboration with the leaders of the group, etc. The leaders of the group were unhappy with their previous home at Yahoo! groups (for various reasons), so my boss offered to host the list at IU. Seems like no big deal.

Brian spent a lot of time this week setting up the list, importing all the old messages, transferring over the membership lists, etc. They finally went "live" with the list yesterday.

Wow, what a disaster.

"Disaster" is not really a good word, though. That would tend to imply that Brian or the group's leaders did something wrong. No, the "disaster" aspects of the list transfer were because so many of the members of the list are keyboard warriors who have no respect for anyone else. Perhaps "disappointment" is a better word.

It is shocking -- absolutely shocking -- how many violent, abusive, and degrading flame mails that Brian and the list leaders received, attacking all aspects of the list transfer process. These "keyboard warriors" are faceless e-mail addresses that send vicious and hateful e-mails about their perceived wrongs to every e-mail address that they can think of.

For example, many of these mails were sent to the list itself (which is sent out to a few thousand people around the world), and up to about a dozen system-administration-level addresses (I'm not on this particular mailing list, and I even got some of them). They whine and moan about their woes, and then attack people like Brian and the list leadership in a most callous and cowardly way.

The truly amazing amazing aspect is that majority of abusive mails were users demanding to be removed from the list. That is amazing because there are many places where instructions for getting one's self removed are available (and blatantly obvious) - including a footer that is included in every single mail sent across the list.
There are even "click here" kinds of buttons on the web pages for the list and kinds of notices giving clear and concise directions for how to remove one's self from the list. We use a very popular and standard listserv program; one of the reasons that we chose that listserv program is because of its ease of use (from the user perspective). It shocks me that people choose to not read any of the information presented to them -- indeed, they do not even give the pretense of having read any of the directions -- and make baseless accusations against Brian (et al.) and then demand to be taken off the list "or else".

Finally, it saddens me that we were blamed and castigated for doing everyone a favor. We're hosting the list as a 100% free service -- providing both the hardware and the software expertise to make it work. Heck, even the list leadership are donating a large portion of their time to make the list work. And these freeloaders feel the need to send scathing mails to everyone they can think of, detailing how stupid they think we are. We're not a .com professional service -- not a single person pays us for this service. I'd like to think that we actually do a pretty good job because we have an unusually large amount of system administration experience for an .edu organization, but still: the amount of hate that we received was simply uncalled for.

I don't know what it is about e-mail (mailing lists in particular) that makes people feel that they can just kill kill kill. People say things that they would never say in a normal conversation.

It's not air rage, or road rage... it's e-rage.

Granted, the total number of people who were unhappy was actually pretty darn small (probably under a few percent of the total membership). But they were loud and quite "vocal" -- it was disconcerting and disturbing.

As the list leader said to Brian during this whole debacle yesterday (paraphrased), "And these people are among the smartest researchers in the world. Amazing."

<sigh>

I don't have any kind of moral or neat/tidy rollup of the actions of the past 24 hours -- and this won't change our service-oriented attitudes about running lists and providing other free services in the research arena. It just bothered me so much that I wanted it in my journal.

So let me re-phrase my prior assesment: "Wow. What a disappointment."

:-(

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 20, 2002 9:36 AM.

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