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Old 03-08-2010, 08:27 AM
"Nicolas Mailhot"
 
Default Update question: some user data

Le Sam 6 mars 2010 20:04, Adam Williamson a écrit :

> The numbers do surprise me, to be honest. As I write this, it's 34-8 -
> that's over 80% - in favour of 'adventurous' updates.

Advanced users (those most likely to want a more stable rawhide to use it as
primary system) use irc, mailing lists, bugzilla, etc. Normal users (those
that need a stable Fedora so they can spend their time writing apps, doing
i18n, etc) do not read Fedora forums (if they had this kind of time they would
not object to adventurous time-wasting updates).

About the only population likely to read Fedora forums regularly are tinkerers
that have not moved to the advanced stage and its communication channels, but
need something to coordinated workarounds when one of the experimental updates
they so like break their system. This something is Fedora forums. It would
have been highly surprising that you'd get a different answer by posting your
poll here.

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Old 03-08-2010, 03:05 PM
Adam Williamson
 
Default Update question: some user data

On Mon, 2010-03-08 at 10:27 +0100, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
>
> Le Sam 6 mars 2010 20:04, Adam Williamson a écrit :
>
> > The numbers do surprise me, to be honest. As I write this, it's 34-8 -
> > that's over 80% - in favour of 'adventurous' updates.
>
> Advanced users (those most likely to want a more stable rawhide to use it as
> primary system) use irc, mailing lists, bugzilla, etc. Normal users (those
> that need a stable Fedora so they can spend their time writing apps, doing
> i18n, etc) do not read Fedora forums (if they had this kind of time they would
> not object to adventurous time-wasting updates).

I don't think that's an assertion you have any kind of evidence to
support. It's really quite sad that half the people who've responded to
the poll have done so by attempting to poke holes in it, as it happens
not to line up with what they think.

If you think the poll is wrong - provide some data to disprove it.
Counteracting it with yet more assertions built on precisely no evidence
is not convincing.

> About the only population likely to read Fedora forums regularly are tinkerers
> that have not moved to the advanced stage and its communication channels,

Wow, condescending much?
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:12 PM
"Nicolas Mailhot"
 
Default Update question: some user data

Le Lun 8 mars 2010 17:05, Adam Williamson a écrit :

> I don't think that's an assertion you have any kind of evidence to
> support. It's really quite sad that half the people who've responded to
> the poll have done so by attempting to poke holes in it, as it happens
> not to line up with what they think.

Adam, if you can't realise that the users most likely to haunt a support forum
are the people most likely to break their setup regularly by being
"adventurous", I don't see what can convince you.

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:14 PM
Doug Ledford
 
Default Update question: some user data

On 03/08/2010 11:05 AM, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Mon, 2010-03-08 at 10:27 +0100, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
>>
>> Le Sam 6 mars 2010 20:04, Adam Williamson a écrit :
>>
>>> The numbers do surprise me, to be honest. As I write this, it's 34-8 -
>>> that's over 80% - in favour of 'adventurous' updates.
>>
>> Advanced users (those most likely to want a more stable rawhide to use it as
>> primary system) use irc, mailing lists, bugzilla, etc. Normal users (those
>> that need a stable Fedora so they can spend their time writing apps, doing
>> i18n, etc) do not read Fedora forums (if they had this kind of time they would
>> not object to adventurous time-wasting updates).
>
> I don't think that's an assertion you have any kind of evidence to
> support.

Well, I stand as a data point that matches this assertion (although you
could leave out the rhetoric about advanced users and all, the data
point of "people that use Fedora to get work done" versus "people that
user Fedora to tinker" I think is probably a fairly accurate assessment
of what people might or might not be found on Fedora Forums).

> It's really quite sad that half the people who've responded to
> the poll have done so by attempting to poke holes in it, as it happens
> not to line up with what they think.

That's not fair. Yes, many have poked holes in the poll, but to be
fair, as you said, it's unscientific and it *does* have holes in its
methodology.

> If you think the poll is wrong - provide some data to disprove it.

I'm sorry, but that's a scientifically specious argument. Invalid data
doesn't become valid because there is no valid counter data. It is
valid or invalid all on its own. To date, no one has run a
scientifically valid poll, but that doesn't make your poll any better or
worse, it just makes it all by itself.

> Counteracting it with yet more assertions built on precisely no evidence
> is not convincing.

Well, one of the questions to be asked before going any further on this
is what audience do we care about? I've heard it over and over again
that Fedora is supposed to be a developer's platform, and not a user's
platform. If that's true, then the people that should be voting on this
is the people that make Fedora, not the people that consume it. If the
reverse is true, then it really doesn't matter what the users vote
anyway because then it's up to us to decide *which* user segment we wish
to target and build the OS to satisfy them.

So, are we an OS for the developer or for the user? If the developer,
then the poll as it stands is prima fascia broken because the Fedora
Forums user base does not directly map to the active fedora developer
base. If we are an OS for the developer, then the poll should require a
Fedora Account System login to vote, not a Fedora Forums login.

If we are an OS for the user, then as I mention, voting is kind of
pointless as that just says what user base we *have*, not what we could
have or want to have. We would simply decide which niche we wanted to
fill and then fill it.

Now, as for the wording. It was both subjective and vague. Neither of
those leads to a good poll without at a minimum putting in additional
questions to narrow down responses. As an example of why I call it
subjective and vague, I could have worded the same "adventurous" and
"conservative" options as "gratuitous" and "reasonable", and I have no
doubt that this wording change would effect the results of the poll (and
probably drastically so). To be a valid poll, we have to be precise
enough that people know what they are voting on without the wording
leading their thoughts.

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:34 PM
Will Woods
 
Default Update question: some user data

On Sat, 2010-03-06 at 13:15 -0700, Kevin Fenzi wrote:
> On Sat, 06 Mar 2010 11:04:31 -0800
> Adam Williamson <awilliam@redhat.com> wrote:
>
> ...snip...
>
> > What do people make of this?
>
> I'm no expert on polls/polling, but I suspect that many of the people
> who are more interested in a 'stable/less updates' Fedora don't
> frequent things like the forums or users list. Sure, they might search
> it or post a question when they run into an issue, but they are more
> likely to spend their time... well, using their machine.

Yeah. This is by no means a representative sampling of Fedora users.

The term you're looking for here is selection bias:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_bias

Adam's poll results are valid *only* for Fedora users who:

a) Are members of the Fedora forum,
b) Enthusiasts/power-users to the degree that they would notice a new
threads/poll within a day of its posting, and
c) Hold a strong enough opinion to feel the need to answer the poll.

It seems obvious that this group would lean more towards the
adventurous, power-user side of things.

Furthermore (as Mike points out later in the thread) the presentation of
the poll is also problematic. The choices - "conservative" or
"adventurous" - are subjective and each have strong emotional
implications. "Conservative" typically has negative connotations,
especially among enthusiasts and power-users.

Adam, I definitely applaud your effort to gather some actual data on the
problem, but the data gathered here is not going to tell us anything we
don't already know.


If we spent some time designing a more proper survey and chose an actual
random representative sampling of Fedora users - random sampling from
FAS accounts, website users, forum accounts, bugzilla accounts, etc. -
that data might be more relevant.

But even then, what will we learn? I'd be willing to wager that the data
would distill down to three facts which are already practically
axiomatic:

1) Nearly everyone wants Fedora to be as stable as possible.
2) Nearly everyone wants Fedora to be advanced and featureful.
3) Some people are willing to sacrifice stability for features.

So the only unknown is: exactly what percentage of our *current* users
are willing to accept a loss of stability in favor of New Hotness? But
I'm fairly certain this question is *irrelevant*. Our current users'
expectations are already set by their past experience with Fedora. If
they're still Fedora users, they're willing to accept - and *have*
accepted - whatever we're currently doing.

In short: I fully support gathering actual data, but I think it would be
more useful to gather data to help shape overall *goals*, and work
toward those goals. It might also be useful to poll people *outside* our
current user/developer base and find out what we'd need to do to attract
*new* users and contributors.

-w

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:51 PM
Matthew Garrett
 
Default Update question: some user data

On Mon, Mar 08, 2010 at 08:05:12AM -0800, Adam Williamson wrote:

> If you think the poll is wrong - provide some data to disprove it.
> Counteracting it with yet more assertions built on precisely no evidence
> is not convincing.

The evidence that it's wrong is that it's a self-selected sample set.

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:50 PM
leigh scott
 
Default Update question: some user data

Last time I looked at the admin logs for Fedoraforum i.e who's voted ,
there was at least 15 votes from Fedora project members.

On Mon, 2010-03-08 at 18:12 +0100, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:


>
> Adam, if you can't realise that the users most likely to haunt a support forum
> are the people most likely to break their setup regularly by being
> "adventurous", I don't see what can convince you.
>
> --
> Nicolas Mailhot
>
>
> --
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> devel@lists.fedoraproject.org
> https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/devel


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Old 03-08-2010, 07:31 PM
Adam Williamson
 
Default Update question: some user data

On Mon, 2010-03-08 at 12:14 -0500, Doug Ledford wrote:
> On 03/08/2010 11:05 AM, Adam Williamson wrote:
> > On Mon, 2010-03-08 at 10:27 +0100, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
> >>
> >> Le Sam 6 mars 2010 20:04, Adam Williamson a écrit :
> >>
> >>> The numbers do surprise me, to be honest. As I write this, it's 34-8 -
> >>> that's over 80% - in favour of 'adventurous' updates.
> >>
> >> Advanced users (those most likely to want a more stable rawhide to use it as
> >> primary system) use irc, mailing lists, bugzilla, etc. Normal users (those
> >> that need a stable Fedora so they can spend their time writing apps, doing
> >> i18n, etc) do not read Fedora forums (if they had this kind of time they would
> >> not object to adventurous time-wasting updates).
> >
> > I don't think that's an assertion you have any kind of evidence to
> > support.
>
> Well, I stand as a data point that matches this assertion (although you

Just the one data point, then? Yet people are complaining about a poll
with over a hundred responses not having sufficient data points?

> could leave out the rhetoric about advanced users and all, the data
> point of "people that use Fedora to get work done" versus "people that
> user Fedora to tinker" I think is probably a fairly accurate assessment
> of what people might or might not be found on Fedora Forums).
>
> > It's really quite sad that half the people who've responded to
> > the poll have done so by attempting to poke holes in it, as it happens
> > not to line up with what they think.
>
> That's not fair. Yes, many have poked holes in the poll, but to be
> fair, as you said, it's unscientific and it *does* have holes in its
> methodology.
>
> > If you think the poll is wrong - provide some data to disprove it.
>
> I'm sorry, but that's a scientifically specious argument. Invalid data
> doesn't become valid because there is no valid counter data. It is
> valid or invalid all on its own. To date, no one has run a
> scientifically valid poll, but that doesn't make your poll any better or
> worse, it just makes it all by itself.

My basic point here is that the poll, while imperfect, is the best
indication we have available so far.

My second important point is that complaining about a poll being
problematic and backing up your complaint with nothing but utterly
unsupported assertions is entirely hypocritical. If my data is invalid,
their assertions are...well, even *more* invalid (although validity
isn't an analog concept, I accept).

> > Counteracting it with yet more assertions built on precisely no evidence
> > is not convincing.
>
> Well, one of the questions to be asked before going any further on this
> is what audience do we care about? I've heard it over and over again
> that Fedora is supposed to be a developer's platform, and not a user's
> platform. If that's true, then the people that should be voting on this
> is the people that make Fedora, not the people that consume it. If the
> reverse is true, then it really doesn't matter what the users vote
> anyway because then it's up to us to decide *which* user segment we wish
> to target and build the OS to satisfy them.

I agree, and I'm one of the people who's been saying this for months. On
a practical level, though, it doesn't look like it's going to happen any
time soon, whereas by some of the comments in this thread, some people
seem happy to claim that FESco has sufficient authority to decide an
updates policy on its own, and also seem as if they have some
inclination towards doing so.

So it seems like there may be efforts to make changes in the update
policy situation _before_ the target audience issue is settled (which,
like you, I do not think is a good idea).

As I said right back at the start, I primarily did the poll because more
than one person in the thread happily asserted that 'users don't want
adventurous updates', without bothering to provide any kind of support
for that claim. It's a lot harder to make that claim now, I think. Even
if you want to argue that the poll isn't sufficiently rigorous to
'prove' that users want adventurous updates, I think it's sufficient
data to make it clear that barely asserting that users don't want such
updates isn't admissible.

> Now, as for the wording. It was both subjective and vague. Neither of
> those leads to a good poll without at a minimum putting in additional
> questions to narrow down responses. As an example of why I call it
> subjective and vague, I could have worded the same "adventurous" and
> "conservative" options as "gratuitous" and "reasonable",

That's not a very good example, because you're taking the wording that I
claim is good and replacing it with bad wording and saying 'this proves
the wording is bad'. Huh?

By that token you could take any well-worded poll, replace it with bad
wording, and say 'the fact that I can plug bad wording into this poll
question means the original wording must also be bad!' It's a
non-sequitur.

The whole reason I chose the words 'adventurous' and 'conservative' is
that I don't believe either of them have especially positive or negative
connotations. Which is clearly not true of 'gratuitous' and
'reasonable'.

> To be a valid poll, we have to be precise
> enough that people know what they are voting on without the wording
> leading their thoughts.

In theory I agree. In practice, it's impossible to ensure this (_any_
poll question can be deconstructed), and I don't think the wording I
chose was significantly leading.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:32 PM
Adam Williamson
 
Default Update question: some user data

On Sat, 2010-03-06 at 11:04 -0800, Adam Williamson wrote:
> I thought to myself yesterday, 'what this long and fractious thread
> about update policy *really* needs is some unscientific and
> controversial numbers'. =) So, I ran a forum poll! Everyone loves those,
> right?
>
> Here it is: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=241710

> No, the voting numbers aren't huge, but it's still some kind of data. I
> can promote the poll to the forum front page to try and get more input,
> if desired.

It seems people are getting confused, so let me state it more clearly.
Here's the specific conclusion I draw from this data:

Those who asserted in these threads that 'users don't want adventurous
updates' shouldn't do so. The poll clearly indicates that some users do
want these updates.

If someone does a more comprehensive poll which demonstrates that these
users are actually a tiny minority; fine. It would then be appropriate
to assert that the majority of users do not want these updates, and use
that in an argument that Fedora should restrict them. At present,
however, it is not sustainable to do so.

That's all. I'm not presenting this as some kind of proof that all
Fedora users definitely want all updates all the time, I'm just plugging
it in to show that what users want may not be what some people _think_
they want, and if you want to rely on 'what users want' as a part of
your argument, you should provide some decent evidential basis for that.

If, on the other hand, you want to argue that it's not important what
users want, you don't need to, and this part of the discussion becomes a
no-op.

There, I hope that's clear.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:43 PM
Till Maas
 
Default Update question: some user data

On Mon, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:34:03PM -0500, Will Woods wrote:

> Adam's poll results are valid *only* for Fedora users who:
>
> a) Are members of the Fedora forum,
> b) Enthusiasts/power-users to the degree that they would notice a new
> threads/poll within a day of its posting, and
> c) Hold a strong enough opinion to feel the need to answer the poll.
>
> It seems obvious that this group would lean more towards the
> adventurous, power-user side of things.

I would never associated forums with power users, because advanced users
typically use mailing lists or newsgroups instead of a forum, if there
are multiple options.

Regards
Till
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