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Personal Support - Rights Versus Privileges 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:31 pm
Posts: 14913
Location: Home sweet home!
Until a day or two ago, I'd universally given my time to anyone even looking at using FreeEMS. Sadly, that has to change. I only have a limited amount, and I have to spread it where it makes the most sense. I estimate that I won't be able to provide the same level of support once the user base exceeds around twenty. From that point on, the 20 that I continue to support will be expected to help others, or help themselves more, or help each other more, such that I can help new comers. Even before then, though, if you want my personal 1:1 24/7 phone/forum/irc/email support, you'd better keep to the rules. There are three sets of rules that users can be bound by. The forum rules, the IRC rules, and the diyefi movement rules. The rules are rules as much as your rights are rights. And by that I mean, I can't force you to keep to them, just as you can't force me to help you once you've fucked me, even if it was gentle.

You have the right to use the firmware as you see fit, within the terms of the license agreement.

You are here on this forum as a privilege, you do not have the right to do as you please here.

You are in the IRC channels as a privilege too, you do not have the right to do as you please there either.

You receive my direct support and help with your use of the firmware as a privilege too - it's not your right.

If you enjoy my personal support, which is typically available 18 - 20 hours a day, on most mediums, then you should, out of respect for me, and all that I've done for you, be it directly, or through organising others and steering and mentoring, stick to all three sets of rules. They're pretty reasonable in my eyes, and the eyes of most people, including everyone who I've ever asked about them and value the opinion of. If you do not abide by these simple terms of honesty and transparency and respect, then you are at risk of losing my support, or your rights on the forum, or in IRC.

Those who do respect the foundational principals of this site and movement as a whole might be wondering what the hell has gone on to motivate me to write such a thing here. A small group of people (5) violated terms 2 and 4 of the diyefi why page rules by engaging in secretive development and testing in a private and unmentioned IRC channel. Through an arrogant display of boldness, I had an inkling of this situation some weeks ago. Then, by the same individual's slip of the keyboard, I became directly aware of the room. I asked four of them, who I have some hope for, to apologise for being passively involved in such behaviour (three were roped in, no doubt). As a consequence, in the mean time, prior to such an apology being forthcoming I withdrew my direct support from these individuals Two showed some regret and remorse and are forgiven. One got angry at the thought of this and made a scene which inspired the IRC rules thread (only four people have ever needed that thread, from more than 30 total). One got defensive and stubborn. One wasn't asked because I genuinely believe that they need to see a shrink.

So, the lessons here are three-fold, then:

1) Don't behave in secretive back-room behind-doors development of FOSS stuff as per 2 and 4 of the diyefi rules
2) If you do, realise the harm you're causing to the community through lack of software transparency and records of discussions had, work done, issues found, and resolved, etc, and apologise for your behaviour
3) if you don't apologise, don't be surprised, angry, upset, or confused when support for your install is withdrawn wholesale

I'm a very principalled person, but pretty straight forward to deal with and keep happy. If you're honest, useful, intelligent, fun, loyal, I'm going to like you and give you my time, not just for FreeEMS. If you're dishonest and/or un-loyal, I'm going to discard you. If you're not fun, not intelligent and not useful, I'm not going to put much time into you as the return on investment is likely to be low. I'm growing old, this is normal, just not stated so plainly, usually.

Hopefully this public declaration of "how it is" will help the two remaining members of the private party to see some sense and pull their heads in. Hopefully, also, it will help others avoid making the same mistake in future.

Finally, was it worth my time spending half an hour writing this at 3am? Probably not, however possibly, and you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Please, don't waste my time by being roped into such counter-productive situations yourself. Rather let that person know that they should be doing it in the public eye for all of the well known reasons that make FOSS what it is.

Fred.

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Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:07 am
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