There is a disturbing trend that I have noticed going around in these
groups. I read COLA, not comp.os.ms-windows.nt.advocacy (COMWNA?), so
obviously I can only comment on what I've seen in COLA. But I think the
scope of this post will fit both groups.
Both of these groups are about advocacy. That's fine. But we cannot
lose sight of the larger goal of _helping computer users do what they
need to do_ and begin off on tangents, splitting ourselves into
factions. I'm not suggesting that we never have opinions, and state
facts blandly to people who come looking for help. That's not it at all.
Obviously, people are going to have likes and dislikes as to how they
interact with their computer. I prefer the Linux way. Maybe you like the
NT way. This guy over here says MacOS is pretty good. But we all need to
notice one thing about the statements I made.
Or, I should say, notice what _isn't_ in the statements I just made. I
didn't say, "I think everyone should use Linux." I didn't say your
opinion was, "NT is the be-all end-all OS for everyone, everywhere." The
guy off to the left here isn't telling everyone he meets to use MacOS,
because it's obviously the best OS ever invented. Sound far-fetched? Do
you know anyone who would say such a thing? Here's the deeper question:
Would _you_ say such a thing?
I think the vast majority of us might, myself included at times. We
tend, because of our "factions," to dismiss everything that isn't "us"
as "them" -- or something to be avoided. Guys, gals, this isn't helping
anyone. It's especially not helping those who need it the most: the
users who come in to all .advocacy forums looking for good, solid
answers that will point them in the right direction.
The first step is to admit that your OS of choice has flaws. Nobody I
know of has ever seen the perfect OS. There is no operating system here
today that does everything exactly the way you want it, supports all of
your hardware flawlessly, never crashes, is never slow, has a load of
near 0 all the time, is coded without any errors, bugs, or mistakes,
etc. I'll be the first to admit that Linux is not the best choice for
any one genre, any one situation. Maybe it'll make the best server for
me. Maybe it'll be a good desktop for you. What are my needs? What are
There needs to be a fundamental shift in how things go on here, or else
these groups are only going to degenerate into a mass of flaming bits.
Remember, we are here to help people who need to figure out what OS
they're going to run on their computer (if not OSs). Yes, good,
technical arguments are OK. If you want to argue about the design of
something in NT vs. Linux, go ahead. But don't do it to argue. Concede
points that you know you've lost. We can make these newsgroups a great
resource for everyone. It just takes a little effort.