Developers, Community, Progress

Etan Reisner pidgin at
Wed Apr 30 19:56:22 EDT 2008

On Thu, May 01, 2008 at 12:02:29AM +0100, MonoApe wrote:
> >From
> rekkanoryo: "The fact that we aren't willing to undo our UI changes is not a sign of communications failure."
> No, it's a sign of disdain and arrogance in not listening to the community that contributes to the existence of Pidgin.

No, as has been explained numerous times the fact that we are unwilling to
undo our UI changes without compelling reasons to do so is, in fact, a
good thing. It means we actually care what pidgin looks like, it means we
care that it works well, and it means we care that the people who use it
have a nice time doing so. All of the above means we actively want help
making it work better for people who don't like it, all we need from them
is constructive comments about what the problems are. It is decidedly
unfortunate that constructive comments are exactly what we seem to be
unable to get. The issues we did get constructive comments on have been
rectified (namely the original four line maximum).

> rekkanoryo: "We have listened to the whining, ..."
> That sums up the depth of maturity and respect nicely.

Correct, the depths of maturity demonstrated by those continuing to
complain in the face of our repeated requests for constructive comments is
staggering and unfortunate.

> rekkanoryo: "...we had similar numbers of complaints about our changes to the buddy list and status UIs in the transition from 1.5.0 to 2.0.0. The complaints died down after several weeks."
> What sort of half-witted logic is that?  Of course the complaints died down.  People uninstalled Pidgin, gave up on the project or they realised their requests and complaints were being dismissed and ignored - so they stopped complaining.  Duh.

That's one conclusion you could come to, and one that is quite likely true
for some small percentage of people. It is not, however, the result that
we have seen most often. Quite the contrary, most of what we have seen is
people reporting that after a short time they have gotten used to the
change and rather appreciate the change having been made. It also sparked
the creation of a handful of plugins for people who needed better ways of
doing things as well as general improvements to the functionality of both
of the changed pieces based on continuing constructive feedback from
people. Both of which are things that wouldn't have happened had we not
made the changes the way we did, and both of which I think were good

I continue to hold out hope that at some point someone will have further
constructive things to say about the auto-resizing behaviour and will come
forward with those comments so that we can discuss and act upon them and
make pidgin better. I'm not holding my breath mind you because these
things have a way of taking time. We only just recently were informed that
people with tablets had a hard time dealing without the Send button we
removed ages ago, a plugin for which has now been added for example.

> rekkanoryo: "...we claim to make an IM client that meets our own needs..."
> Really?  If that's true, a big, fat warning needs posting on the front page to let people know that Pidgin is not developed for the community that contribute to it, but for the arrogant developers who write the code.  I'm sure once that gets out, there'll be a number of Linux distros who won't be so eager to include Pidgin by default.

The community is entirely welcome to contribute, complaining is not
contributing, whining is not contributing, insulting the developers is not
contributing. Commenting constructively is, responding directly to
questions is, suggesting new ideas is, writing patches is, writing plugins
is. It is not at all surprising that the people who contribute are the
ones who's ideas are more quickly received and acted upon than are ideas
contributed by people who have so far done nothing but complain. With a
few notable exceptions (which are generally in the past and which I tend
to chalk up to individual people having problems getting along) people who
actively attempt to contribute to the pidgin project are welcomed as are
their ideas, note that welcoming an idea is not the same thing as doing it
simply because it was suggested however.

> rekkanoryo: "The Path to Enlightenment is unique for each individual."
> So true.  Unfortunately some people who impact the lives of others have a long, long way to go down that path.
> As has been said by others, if Pidgin were commercial software there's a good chance some of the developers would be looking for a new job about now.

If pidgin was commercial software we would be getting paid by the number
of people who use it and we would have a financial incentive to kowtow to
the users. Thankfully it isn't and we don't have to. We are free to
implement the things we want to implement and not implement the things we
don't want to. Luckily, because we are good, nice people we give our work
away for free and do our best to make it suit as many people as possible
while being open enough to let people make it do things we didn't do
ourselves. It is really a shame that so few people actually think about
those aspects of what we spend effort doing and focus so much energy on
the handful of things we don't. The amount of time spent collectively
whining about things like this and spent attempting to respond to the
whining is leagues more effort than was required to write the plugin
(which has existed for quite a long time now) to "bring back the option"
allowing for manual resizing.

> Shame on you.

I'm sorry I've spent time working for free on software I give away for
free. I'm sorry I've worked as hard as I have to write and support the
software you have enjoyed for so long. I'm sorry you don't appreciate the
work I have done. I'm sorry you think our reasoned refusal to blindly
re-instate an option we don't agree with is a problem. I'm mostly sorry
I've spent so much time trying to be rational about this and hoping to
receive rational arguments from the people complaining.

If I didn't still manage to care about pidgin and the pidgin users in
general, I'd have given up working on it long ago. Since I'm pretty sure
getting all of us to stop working on pidgin is your goal I suggest you
think about what exactly you (and all the other people complaining) sound
like on our end and try to think about what might be involved in working
on a project that is used by an immense number of people in many different


P.S. I'm not responding to anything that isn't new ideas anymore. I'm done.

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