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2. Etiquette policy
2.a. Introduction and some simple suggestions
These suggestions are designed to be an easy-to-follow guide to what Developer Relations would expect
to be good developer etiquette. They should cover most areas
and should be employed wherever they can be.
That doesn't mean that we expect you to follow this guide to the
bullet point; nor do we expect you even agree with it - we do expect,
however that all developers maintain reasonable standards of behaviour
with our community - whether to other developers or users. However,
you may be subject to sanctions or a suspension if a reasonable
standard is not met.
By reasonable standards we don't want you to feel that we are not
allowing you to say anything, rather, we believe that how you say it,
and the method and professionalism in how you express your opinion
defines whether you meet the reasonable standards or not, since, as a
developer, what you say and do reflects upon Gentoo and the project as
a whole. We just require you to be equally respectful to developers
and users alike, and to value the opinion of everybody - even if you
think it's totally wrong.
You should try to use good spelling and grammar everywhere: whether
in a CVS commit message, a ChangeLog, or even on IRC if you want to be
really nice and make somebody's day. But don't worry; we won't really
mind if you don't. You might not notice it, but by taking some
effort to clean things up, the amount of time it takes to read your
sentences is greatly lowered. However, it is also important not to
lose the rope at the same time and make something too eloquent that
takes too long to parse.
2.b. What you should try not to do
One should try to not be rude, abusive or impolite under any
circumstances. Sometimes, just one sarcastic comment can change the
tone to the reader. If you think you might give somebody a bad
as a result of your comment, and if you really need to say it,
make sure people understand that you are not trying to be
Please remember that you are an official representative of Gentoo. In
this capacity, you are expected to maintain a certain level of
professionalism and courtesy in your day-to-day interactions with
users and other developers.
Make your ChangeLogs readable to the average end-user: try to keep
things simple and short if you can, but provide any critical
information as needed. Remember that ChangeLogs need to be
written in good, "correct" English even if they are
short. Punctuation is essential.
Please don't use "Gentooified" language, except for
accepted terms such as "ebuild" and "version bump". If you are being
verbose, please use the correct punctuation and quote marks.
Any function names should be encapsulated in quotation marks
or speech marks.
Be verbose: "Version bump." is good, however "Version bump;
see bug #..." is even better. This not only helps users, but
it also helps other developers as well.
Don't use phrases such as "Tested for months, should work."
or "I think this should fix the problems." as something either
does its job or it doesn't. It is much better to inform users
to test your package thoroughly and to report any bugs to you.
When referring to ebuild sections such as the homepage variable,
use "HOMEPAGE" remembering to add the quotes and to use the
correct case. This makes things a bit more precise, namely
telling the reader that you changed the variable; rather than
the homepage your package might go to when it starts up, for
When using acronyms, please use the proper cases. For example,
"ALSA", not "alsa", "Win4Lin" not "win4lin".
Respect developers' coding preferences. Unnecessarily changing
the syntax of an ebuild increases the load on the CVS server and
can cause complications for others. Syntax changes should only be
done if there is a real benefit, such as faster compilation,
improved information for the end user, or compliance to Gentoo
Be nice and respectful of everybody - even if they are
bombarding you with messages.
Do not abuse or discriminate users or developers - whether as a joke or as
Answer any questions to the best of your knowledge - it is best
that you do not answer what you don't know to avoid
confusion. There is no policy on any collateral damage caused
by developers to users however: if the developer did any contact
such as SSHing into a users' box, the developer would be held
accountable for any issues arising out of the same. As a result, we don't
really recommend it.
If you are a developer with operator powers, you must not
abuse them - if you have a disagreement with a user resolve the
issue peacefully and do not resort to kicking them or even
kickbanning them unless the situation is really severe and other
developers approve of critical measures.
#gentoo and #gentoo-dev are clean-language channels; other
#gentoo- channels have policies set by their respective channel
owners. Because the majority of traffic on #gentoo-dev is from
Gentoo developers, people perceive this channel as officially
representing Gentoo. In order for us to present Gentoo in a
professional manner, we request that developers keep #gentoo-dev a
Be nice and respectful of everybody - even if they are asking
the most unimaginable questions. Either voice your opinion
courteously, or voice no opinion.
Follow the forum rules and try keeping to the discussion rather
than veering off course.
Try to be active in development. If users are asking why
something was added, please explain it. If users are asking why
something is missing, explain that. Use your knowledge and help
out if you can. At the same time, if you don't know, don't confuse
Be nice and respectful of everybody. Don't respond to personal attacks with
more attacks. Either voice your opinion courteously, or voice no opinion.
Don't use HTML mail - it can cause annoyances - and it is
recommended that you use a word-wrapping mail client if sending
out plain text messages. Some people also block HTML mail which
may cause correspondence problems.
When replying to user or developer mail, be both courteous and
don't simply refer the user along to another developer - try to
explain why things are as they are if you can. An example of
good, well thought reply goes along the lines of: "I am
referring you to <insert name here>
as <person> is now the maintainer of the
package. Any further issues should be addressed
to <person>. Sorry for any inconvenience."
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The contents of this document, unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under the CC-BY-SA-2.5 license. The Gentoo Name and Logo Usage Guidelines apply.
Page updated December 7, 2011
This section outlines the etiquette policy for Gentoo
Karl Trygve Kalleberg
Paul De Vrieze
Nicholas D. Wolfwood
Daniel Robbins (Retired)
John P. Davis (Retired)
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