I posted to a thread at t.mo. yesterday, and was surprised to cause a bit of a stir. Not by my content (which was fairly uncontroversial) but by the fact that I posted at all. I hadn’t realised that it’s been so long since I posted! Or that people thought I had left. I have been dropping in and reading a few threads every couple of days. Honest!
Anyway, I thought I’d get down on paper… errr… screen why I’ve been around less. In the hope it might help people reflecting on the State of Maemo/Meego. This is why you’ve seen less of me.
1) The personal stuff. This is easy. I just finished a research MSc (and I passed… Yay!) which took a lot of time. I’m in the throes of eye surgery, and I’ve managed to break my finger. As a non-typist, it’s the finger I use most on the keyboard. Add to that the life-time battle with the Black Dog which means that I have patches when I’m less emotionally resilient than normal, and there have been reasons for being online less generally.
2) Feeling useless. Ever since Meego was announced, I’ve had questions about whether the ignorant enthusiast is of any value. I read threads in the forum there, and seldom find anything of value I can contribute. A lot of what happens there is very high-powered, high-tech. With the n900 well established, I feel of less value at maemo.org, too. I haven’t had time for basic things like trawling the wiki for grammatical errors and no longer have anything useful to say in most threads.
3) Feeling stupid. This is closely allied to the useless feeling. These days most of what happens at either maemo or meego goes over my head.
Signing up for the mailing lists didn’t help. Someone said that anyone who was serious should at the very least be signed to the community lists. So I’m on the maemo and meego community mailings, and have over 1200 emails in my inbox of which I don’t understand about 90%. And I don’t even know the proper protocols for using mailing lists – I daren’t comment even if I had anything to say as I’d certainly use the wrong etiquette.
I was reading a thread on t.m.o. recently where a poster asked a question. It was the sort of question I might have asked myself just a few weeks previously (I only knew the answer because I still read a lot there!) The response they got was “Man you shouldn’t even OWN this device!” And I thought “If they shouldn’t, neither should I. Perhaps I’ll just stay quiet and not admit to having a phone that’s too clever for me.” Part of me wants to believe that that attitude is not common or prevalent among maemo-ites, and my experience has been that the long-time devs are happy to welcome people who want to learn, but statements like that go unchallenged. And it helps no-one.
4) Trolls. We’ve acquired a few people who have an Agenda. Which they will introduce into every thread they post in. Loudly. And angrily. I served nearly a decade at TrekBBS where it was my role to read and deal with that sort of stuff – these days I feel my ire rising and just close the browser. Luxury. But it means that of late my browsing sessions have been shorter than I might have liked. Life is too short for that stuff. So I’m pleased to see the mods and Reggie clarifying a code of conduct for the place, with some sanctions for persistent offenders. Hopefully it will become a nicer environment.
So that’s why I’ve been less noticeable at t.m.o. I still chat to the maemo-folks on twitter, and have even shown my face in IRC a couple of times (most notably the day I did my first ever genuine reflash and wanted to boast. I was so touched to see someone retweet that, celebrating my nascent geekhood.) I’m still around, still reading. And if you ever find what I’m supposed to be doing there, let me know!