Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-translation (237 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-translation] openSUSE Weblate
  • From: Richard Brown <RBrownCCB@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 11:49:36 +0200
  • Message-id: <>
On 13 October 2015 at 09:50, jcsl <trcs@xxxxxxx> wrote:
From my point of view, the problem here is a communication problem. Things
developed "secretly" (à la TTIP) without first asking and discussing the
subject with the involved parts for the benefit of all. We are a community,
aren't we? So transparency and communication are fundamental pillars.

While I wholeheartedly agree that the communication about Weblate
could have been handled better, I think it's a stretch to go as far as
a comparison to TTIP

The reality is that we're a community of technical people, and the
psychology of technical people is sometimes a little hard to
understand, but when you do, this current situation makes a lot of

In my previous life as a Systems Manager, I used to quote this
following article when i tried to explain some of the behaviours of my
Even though it talks about 'IT Pros', I find much of this logic
applies to the way the vast majority of our contributors think and
act, and therefore I think a lot of the information here is relevant
to the situation with Weblate

But for those who don't want to read the full thing, here's a few extracts

"Few people notice this, but for IT groups respect is the currency of
the realm. IT pros do not squander this currency"

"IT pros always and without fail, quietly self-organize around those
who make the work easier, while shunning those who make the work
harder, independent of the organizational chart."

"IT is a team sport, so being right or wrong impacts other members of
the group in non-trivial ways"

"If you are dismissive of complaints, fail to recognize an illogical
event or behave in deceptive ways, IT pros will likely stop
complaining to you. You might mistake this as a behavioural
improvement, when it's actually a show of disrespect. It means you are
no longer worth talking to, which leads to insubordination."

"Arbitrary or micro-management, illogical decisions, inconsistent
policies, the creation of unnecessary work and exclusionary practices
will elicit a quiet, subversive, almost vicious attitude from
otherwise excellent IT staff Interestingly, IT groups don't fall apart
in this mode. From the outside, nothing looks to be wrong and the work
still gets done.
But internally, the IT group, or portions of it, may cut themselves
off almost entirely from the intended management structure.
They may work on big projects or steer the group entirely from the
shadows while diverting the attention of supervisors to lesser topics.
They believe they are protecting the organization, as well as their
own credibility -- and they are often correct."

I think it is fair to say that for quite some time there has been a
growing perception that the translation team is resistant to change
and a blocker to progress.
I do not want to solely blame all of this on Carlos, but as a very
vocal mailinglist and forum poster, there are countless examples of
posts from him with help reinforce that perception.

To cite an example, statements like "Factory can not be translated"
are the kind of illogical statement that is downright wrong, resists
the direction of travel the rest of the Project is already taking, and
is going to lower the respect of the person uttering it.
It is also dismissive of those of us who feel Tumbleweed must be
translated, because it's a major output of the openSUSE Project.

The very mindset of 'us' vs 'them', the history of bikeshedding over
translations, and Weblate in particular, further feeds into that cycle
of reduced respect and from that insubordination.

It doesn't matter what the 'openSUSE organisation chart' says, whether
or not there is an 'official' translation team or not

There has been and remain to be a group of dedicated contributors who
believe Weblate is part of the fix for the solutions they perceive and
who have felt their only option is to work quietly on it due to the
resistance they have witnessed and directly faced.

Now, at the earliest opportunity from their perspective, they are
trying to bring their work out into the open because they do believe
in concepts like openness and transparency, but up until this point,
while not ideal, I totally understand how they have acted, in their
shoes I could have seen myself doing the same.

In an ideal world, this route wouldn't have been taken. Mutual respect
for all involved would have been present, and it would have been
possible to work in an open and collaborative fashion from the get go.

I'd rather see progress being made via this route however than the
available alternative, which would mean preserving a translation
approach that everyone accepts was dysfunctional and from a very
practical perspective would mean Tumbleweed (and possibly also Leap)
would be insufficiently translated

And hopefully from this point we can all learn how to get along a
little better.. I can still hope :)
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