September 1, 2009, 9:00 am
Picking up from yesterday, Schindler's final point is another that we should all strive for regardless of the individual at hand, and that is to "please treat journalists with respect." She makes a specific point of being sympathetic when a journalist has difficulty understanding what it is you do ‚Äî as was said above, nobody can be an expert in anything, and most journalists are paid to be reporters, not tech experts. Unfortunately, the tech community ‚Äî in general, and by no means limited to Open Source projects ‚Äî tends to have a reputation for lacking patience with the un-technical as well as having few qualms about hostile reaction. The adage "one bad apple spoils the bunch" seems particularly appropriate: We know from experience that the vast majority of those in the Open Source community are patient, civil, and helpful ‚Äî sometimes to a fault ‚Äî but unfortunately, those who are not seem to have an uncanny ability to attract the new and un-technical.
Included within this point is advice about items like FAQ pages and other documentation. While these types of pages are available specifically to answer the kind of questions a journalist is likely to ask, Schindler notes that copying material directly from these pages or from other articles written about your project is plagiarism, not journalism. She notes a distinction that may not be readily apparent: "[W]hat other developers want is answers...journalists may not want a feature list as much as we want perceptions, experiences, and opinions." As she put it: "If I post a message in your IRC channel asking why you chose an app, please don't send me to the FAQ! I want your personal story..."