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    Hi Kev. Welcome to Lobsters!

    Your complaints about those mean old trolls are well founded enough, but I think they are not so much about “the Linux community” (whatever that might be) and more about Reddit. With that in mind, please take some time to acculturate. This place is very specifically not Reddit, nor HN.

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      That was my read as well, and also my own experience with reddit (and /r/programming even, which is supposed to be one of the better subreddits).

      Not sure what to conclude other than once a community gets a certain size, and once the long tail that ends up being very loud and caustic grows enough to be problematic do you start to see these kinds of things.

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        I’d like to think it’s not all communities, but I’m yet to see evidence of a larger community that doesn’t conform to this pattern unfortunately.

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          I think /r/rust shows that it’s possible to have a tech focussed community on Reddit without all the vitriol.

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            It is, but there’s still a low background hum of snarky and mean comments, in spite of the overall excellent tone. Some very valued members of the community avoid Reddit in favor of other places, like the Discourse instance. I think it’s fair to say that /r/rust is the exception that proves the rule, and will be effectively shuttering /r/xi_editor (not that it was ever very active).

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              /r/ProgrammingLanguages/ is also a pretty good one. But it has to be set up like that from the start, with strong moderation. It always depresses me when anything gender equality related takes a quick dive to the bottom on /r/programming/… :(

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          Subreddits have their own culture. Some are the worst, some the best. It all boils down to how the communities are managed.

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            You’re absolutely right, I could have been more specific as my issue is/was with Reddit, not the Linux “community”. I’ve edited the title with that in mind.

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              It occurs outside Reddit [1], Reddit is just one of the worst exponents of it. There is a subset of the Linux community who feel like they on a crusade against Microsoft, Apple, proprietary software, or whatever. I think Linux is attractive to some of these groups because of strong some ideological tendencies in Linux (GNU, ‘the true UNIX philosophy’, etc.). There is nothing wrong with these ideologies — most people are emphatic towards others and understand that Unix is not practical for everyone, nor that running a fully free system is not practical for everyone. But once you take away the empathy, you get pointless ideological and/or turf wars.

              It is not productive to engage in these discussions. What is a point of a discussion where no one wants to be convinced or is interested in the other person’s perspective?

              [1] I have been yelled at on some Linux forums because I also use a Mac, by people who never contributed a single line of code or documentation to a FLOSS project.

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              @minimax wrote

              but I think they are not so much about “the Linux community” and more about Reddit.

              @kev wrote

              As far as I’m concerned, these people are not part of the Linux community and they’re not wanted. If you feel it is appropriate to belittle someone, or tell someone to “go kill themselves” for their choice of software, operating system, or their opinions, do us all a favour and f**k off.

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                When you quoted me there, you left out the point I was trying to make. To clarify, I do not believe there is such a thing as “the Linux community”, any more than there is a “community” of Toyota drivers or people with colorful tatoos. Sure, the Linux kernel developers are a community of sorts: they have to work together. Distro maintainers have communities; maybe even the user base could be included, for some smaller and quirkier distros. But mere consumer choice does not grant anyone community membership status, under any sane definition of the word.

                Another thing: if you wander into any collection of people and start mocking their shared values, you can reasonably expect some hostility. Some will express it in a professional and mature fashion, others not so much. This age-old fact tells you nothing about Linux, Reddit, or even the Internet.

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              Please don’t come here to post Reddit drama.

              Your original story on lightweight linux I believe would’ve been a better submission, since it at least has a little more to engage with.

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                True, and had that link been posted here I’d have suggested the author to try to think outside of his “8GB RAM, a 4 core i7 CPU and 256GB of SSD storage” bubble. This is not the norm, not yet. Once hardware like that becomes old it might become the norm but we’re not there yet - the world is bigger than those places where such hardware can be had for a day’s worth of income or less. Then again, it might not become the norm at all given the increasing number of single-board computers running Linux here there and everywhere.

                Also, and more importantly, why whinge about others trying to score points - no matter how worthless - on the size of their Linux distributions? If that is what moves them just allow them the (small) space to do so and continue on your own thing. The same criticism could after all be thrown at those calling themselves cyber security people, now there’s a world full of blown-up claims and characters ripe for the pickin’. I won’t be the one doing the picking though as, again, if that is what moves him so it be.

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                  I agree with the sentiment of your post. This is mainly a tangent on the example machine you laid out

                  I’m very surprised at the current performance levels of machines you can pick up for only a couple hundred dollars or less. If the thing is about having something work on what a random person in the street might have, it’s pretty easy to say that it will be a relatively fast machine (loaded with junk, but fast).

                  Like my desktop machine from 10 years ago was ~$500 and it was a pretty fast quad core with 8 gigs of ram and a video card!

                  What is the definition of a low-end machine in this kind of conversation? I suppose that you could be looking at low-end laptops, but even they are really fast nowadays. Maybe at this point “low-end machine” is really “2004 thinkpad”. This is totally cool, in a sense. We’re able to improve the underlying tech without having to throw away machines anymore, and we don’t have to make our perf targets a moving target. If Texas Instruments can keep on selling TI-82s until the end of time, perhaps we can concentrate less on maxing CPU cycles and more on hardware re-use and building new hardware that is good without needing to use a bunch of power to do so.

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                    Since I happen to actually use a 2004 Thinkpad - a T42p with a glorious 1600x1200 4:3 screen, a real keyboard and all those other things which make me use this 2GB/1.8GHz Pentium-M relic in lieu of faster, more modern but otherwise sub-optimal alternatives - I could concur.

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                    True, and had that link been posted here I’d have suggested the author to try to think outside of his “8GB RAM, a 4 core i7 CPU and 256GB of SSD storage” bubble. This is not the norm, not yet.

                    Even if it was, a small, lightweight system has the benefit that it is easier to fully understand the system. It’s not for everyone, but one of the nice things of free software is that the people who enjoy it can run that tiny BSD or Arch system on their 64 core 768GB machine.

                    I don’t feel or see the need to criticize people on either end of the scale.

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                  Personally, I don’t really like Reddit threads at all, even on lobsters I don’t really like them, and any success that lobsters manages to have is in spite of, not because of, this kind of conversation threading. Jeff Atwood already spelled out some common arguments against this kind of threading, but my biggest objection to the Reddit model (and I’m not sure if Atwood is simply unaware of it or just never bothered blogging on it or even doesn’t see it as a problem) is with anonymous voting, not threading:

                  Namely, the two big problems:

                  • You allow people to affect the visibility of posts, which is almost as powerful an ability as posting itself.
                  • And they cannot be held accountable for it.

                  As long as it’s just links to full-blown articles, I’m not sure how much it matters, but within a conversation where you sometimes take an adversarial position with someone else, that’s a terrible ability to give people! Worse, because they’re just votes, it tends to lead to paranoia (“my comment got a -5?! WHY?! Can somebody at least have the decency to tell me why they disagree?!”) and dishonestly (“the rules of the r/rust subreddit say that the downvote button is not a disagree button, but the moderators are completely incapable of enforcing that rule, and even if they could see who was voting or ban someone from voting they can’t read the mind of the voter”).

                  As much as I like, or at least understand the necessity of, gamification at the macro scale of articles and topics, I really do not want to add gamification to an already in-progress conversation. It just adds another layer of tension to what can already be a very tense “I need to avoid allowing myself to get mad at this person, and try to see things from their PoV” angle. And it leads to people optimizing their content for expected number of upvotes from random passers-by instead of trying to be helpful to whoever they’re replying to, because that stuff ends up tied to your ability to use the full features of the site at all.

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                    Amen, sibling!

                    I’ve expressed my dislike of this style of threading elsewhere on Lobsters. If anyone goes so far as to fork the codebase and replace votes with emoji reactions (or nothing at all, but that was my suggestion for preserving the lightweight acknowledgment utility of upvotes), I would happily jump ship. I’d do that myself if I didn’t already have a five year backlog of personal projects.

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                      Emoji buttons can be even worse as those seem to invite hordes of thumbs-up-hearts-for-my-‘friends’-thumb-down-confused-face-for-anyone-else click-bots, an example of which is shown in this Github issue thread:


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                        Those (emojis) are a tremendous improvement on the previous status quo, which was all of those people posting on the thread until it gets locked.

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                          We already have adequate clickbot mitigation on Lobsters thanks to the invite tree. I like emoji reaction buttons because they can express nuance and ambiguity without much visual clutter, and only accumulate locally. But I don’t like them as much as I dislike up/down vote buttons.

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                      No matter whether the issue is with some imagined ‘community’ (Linux or otherwise) or a specific site (Reddit or otherwise) I’d say the solution is always the same: just ignore those who spout nonsense at you. You know that someone telling you to ‘commit suicide’ over an opinion piece related to the size of a Linux install is not worth your time so just don’t give them any time. Ignore them, block them if you’re into that sort of thing but don’t interact as that is what they’re after. People telling you “you don’t know anything about subject” when you in fact do know something about subject can be ignored as well. People telling you they have “traced (your) IP, they know where (you) live and they’re ‘coming to find (you)’ “ are either deluded and as such not worth your attention - will they come crawling out of the RJ45 socket? - or, if there is cause to take the threat serious in a real way - worth attention by law enforcement in those countries where such is an option. Otherwise you just ignore them just like you ignore those emails which spell out how the Z00perH4CkuRz installed virus-spy-worms into your webcamz and will send pictures of you wacking off to snuff movies to all your relatives unless you pay them $bitcoin.

                      Just ignore them. Don’t even tell them to get back under their bridges because by doing so you’re feeding them. Ignore, period. Block if you want but don’t respond.