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I got involved with a discussion on XDA-Developers.com.

(warning, long post ahead)

The topic of this thread that I was involved in was, "Azrienoch and Sassi left?" (referring to +Azrienoch Jeff Smith and +Sassi BoB), but the conversation quickly derailed from discussing specifically them and into a discussion about the moderators, admin, staff, developers, and users of their forum.

Needless to say, it didn't quite always stay on track.

However, everyone in the discussion maintained a level of intelligence and respect for each other. I was surprised by that, because being someone who hasn't really been involved with XDA I expected a bunch of hostility.

I did learn some interesting things about XDA by being involved with this discussion though. The most impactful thing I learned was that they are trying to foster a culture that they think caters to developers. While doing this, they completely negate what I feel is the most important part of developing on an open source platform: fostering learning and education within said platform.

Perhaps I am naive though. From what I was reading in the XDA thread, there was no need/want/ambition to to share or educate at all. As a matter of fact, what I took from the conversation (from the people involved within the discussion) was that they mostly wanted to be left alone. The idea of supporting an end user or answering questions about their published work was at the very bottom of their priority list.

How can you be OK with wanting to publish code, solicit donations on said code, yet not want to provide any support for it? In my opinion, that's an extremely arrogant attitude to have.

Perhaps I'm off base on this, and if I am I'm sure that I'll get tore apart in the comments. But before you rip me a new one let me make this statement: I have no issue with a developer soliciting money for their hard work. Everyone deserves to be paid for what they do. It's when a developer maintains an attitude of arrogance based upon the work that they publish and they refuse to "take the time" to support said work that gets me bent.

Unfortunately the moderators and staff at XDA-Developers feel that the best way to cultivate a culture that supports development is to manage users as if they were a burden to the entire process.

Rather than encourage conversation and development within the community, their goal seems to control it.

I thought that this post by "Developer Admin/Elite" pulsar_g2 summed up XDA's manifesto quite well: "I think some people forget that XDA is a developer site, FOR developers, BY developers. XDA was started off by a few developers, in order to share info about getting latest versions of software onto their devices, and extending support for them beyond end-of-life.

At some point on the route, smartphones hit the mainstream, and the userbase has been somewhat diluted. Some of our more dedicated developers felt that xda-tv was a distraction from our core aims, and perhaps even encouraging the problem more... A renewed focus on development on the portal and XDA-TV will encourage the right type of members to be here.

Let's be clear about one thing - XDA isn't about numbers! Let's be realistic here, you can have 1,000,000 "noobs" join up to watch some entertaining (yes, they were good and entertaining, credit where it's due!) videos, but are those 1 million noobs going to be able to achieve something like writing a RIL layer to bring ICS to a device otherwise abandoned by its manufacturer?"

What this says to me is that if you aren't a "Recognized Developer", you aren't welcome at XDA. If you are there to learn, flash software to your device, or ask questions... you are fairly much a hindering the site and are in the way of XDA reaching it's goals.

They should tell the 35,000 users that are currently browsing their forums that.

In summation, I think it's despicable that the largest open source mobile OS site on the internet is flipping the bird to the greatest opportunity it could possibly have: advancing the acceptance, usability, market share, and education of open source development for the sake of pandering to an ultra-minority and their egos. Instead of fostering a sense of community and being welcome to new users, official staff refer to them as "noobs", delete their comments, and lock their threads.

And, as a perfect example of how the staff likes to control discussion, the thread was locked... yet staff continues to comment in the thread, change posts, etc to support their argument. Well, you can't moderate or close this post, jack holes.

To those in that thread that could debate like adults and have a grown up conversation, thank you... and I'm happy to continue working working with you in any way that I can.



[post edited to correct grammar]
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Read the thread to its completion, and I have to say that the thread did kind of seem to drift off topic. Although, it wasn't really a rigid topic to begin with, so that is somewhat open to interpretation. +Will Verduzco probably did the right thing by closing it. The bottom line is that the Senior Moderators run XDA. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

The truth, Scotty, is that XDA doesn't want you there. I mean you, specifically. You are a user to them. Sure, you are a voice in the Android community, and your opinion is enjoyed by thousands, but you are still just a user. They would much rather you go to Android Central. You aren't contributing to XDA in the way that they want people to contribute to XDA. It's a flawed system, but as long as they think it is working it is what they will stick with. Trying to change that is just going to frustrate you. The ruling class is all that really matters. XDA is not a democracy.

I will say, however, that it was amazing to see +Ezequiel Gutierrez Zorrilla make sure that the ruling class got the last word in on that thready by waiting until the thread was closed to voice his opinion. At least here you can continue to express yourself without the concern that you'll be silenced by someone who disagrees with you.
 
+1. Heck, I'd +10000 if I could.

I've been spending a decent chunk of my free time in the last few weeks trying to develop my understanding of how Android works, so that I can learn how to do some of the tasks that developers in the XDA community appear able to do. I've relied on a few different websites to enhance my understanding, including addictivetips.com, androidguys.com, +RootzWiki, and here on Google+.

XDA, on the other hand, has provided me almost no useful information. Their developers make outstanding apps, mods, and ROMs, but they provide no support on them, and they offer nothing in the way of education about how they got to a certain point.

For instance, I was looking up how to change the graphic of the battery icon in my notification tray, or how to remove the carrier ID from the upper-left corner of the UI. Others before me have asked these same questions, and the answer usually comes out as: "Just download [ABC] app from [XYZ] developer."

Okay, fine, but how did he do it?

It seems like the developers on the XDA Community are the most uniquely-positioned people to answer questions like this, but they're completely unwilling.

And, you know what, +Scotty Brown? Maybe they don't need to be more helpful than they are. Maybe they just want to be insular, and never have to deal with the uneducated masses. That's not really our place to say. But I feel like there's a gaping hole in the market that stands to benefit the first person able to fill it... We need more documentation on Android architecture. We need more knowledgeable people who can explain UI tweaks. In short, we need a community that's superficially similar to XDA, but with a much greater emphasis on user education.

I'd do it, too, except that I'm one of these users in need of education.
 
This is exactly why I stick to Rootzwiki. Great post sir.
 
I do want to make one thing perfectly clear... the entire opinion that I've put forward has nothing to do with me working for +RootzLive or +RootzWiki.

It has everything to do with me being a member of the Android community and wanting to see it evolve in a productive, helpful, and educational manner.
 
i've been going to xda since '08 and haven't posted 1 single comment or anything - read lots...learned so much...but avoided asshats :)
 
Ive been an active XDA contributor for quite a while (its how I learned android starting in 2008), but I certainly will not be posting much anymore. Its really lost touch of its purpose......sad really
 
I agree with what you have said here... I started with XDA when I got my first Captivate. But I left when they managed to drive my favored developer DesignGears away.. Since then I have been spending my time on Rootzwiki except when necessary to return to XDA only because they have the sources that Rootzwiki doesn't yet.
 
Hey look! It's another user complaining about a developer forum! Huh, whoda thunk it.

tl;dr "Why can't I have all the nice things developers put out in ALPHA while still receiving support!"
 
+David McClellan if that's what you took away from my post, then so be it. It seems that many others understood my what I was trying to convey just fine.

It's that kind of attitude that I'm referring directly to.
 
you summed up my feelings pretty well, i had been a member of the site for several years, and before that i was always lurking, but as of late their attitude on the site had gotten out of hand. yes i have to go there to get my roms, but i am in no way enjoying my time there, if i could find a better route to get my roms for all my devices in one place, and a friendly community then i could drop xda all together
 
+David McClellan Agreed, if you see this as nothing more than "complaining", you are truly missing the point and mindset expressed here.
 
I started using XDA when I got my first Android device (HTC Dream). At the time I didn't know much about Android but XDA quickly allowed me to discover I could do so much more with my device. At first I just spent time sucking up all the knowledge I could find and never posted anything. After I dove a little deeper into things I would post the odd question if I couldn't find an answer anywhere else. I usually got a quick response with the information I was looking for.

Eventually I got to the point where I was building themes, cooking my own ROMs and doing some basic dev work, all because of what I learned on XDA. I was proud of my work and also shared it on XDA for others to enjoy and learn from. If someone had a question about my work I did my best to answer as others had done for me. To me, XDA was about sharing and learning. That's what I believe a developer community/site should be about.

I now spend very little time on XDA, not because I stopped learning and sharing, but because XDA doesn't want me learning and sharing. XDA is now about arguing over what should and shouldn't be posted, egos and control. I want to be part of a dev community where I can learn and share, XDA is not that.
 
Yes, in fact I've been looking for an experience similar to what +Darren Maunu says he got from XDA - gradually progressing from being a regular end-user to being a ROM developer. +Scotty Brown, I get the impression that +RootzWiki is trying to offer that kind of support and knowledge base, and I really appreciate that. I hope you can develop a robust base of knowledge and keep it maintained. If you do, your site will be a mainstay in my tabs for a long time to come.
 
+David McClellan From one developer to another - get off your high horse. Users are the reason developers exist, don't forget that. You're "supporting" users for your alpha release? Remember that the purpose of an alpha is to open up your doors to people who'll find bugs and tell you. That's not support - that's helping you make your work far better than what you could have accomplished on your own. They're "supporting" you more than the other way around.

A developer should have two goals - (1) write good, extensible code and (2) make sure the users are happy. Stop treating users like they're neanderthals - you need them just as much as they need you.

As for this "manifesto" +Scotty Brown pointed out:
"Noobs"? Seriously? Are we twelve-year-olds playing Xbox Live while our parents are out shopping? You act as though you became some expert developer the moment you put your finger on a keyboard. If it really is a site BY developers FOR developers, it should also be harnessing that power to build and foster new ideas from users that want to make that switch. You'd be surprised at how many good ideas users have and how well they can implement them once you give them the resources.

Open source is about a community, and moreso about building that community and creating infinite growth in a little part of technology. If you don't have that view, then you're nothing but a self-serving group of keyboard mashers who should keep their code to themselves.

Sorry if I come across as rude, but it's disturbing hearing this from fellow developers. The reason I love the Android community so much is because the moment I stepped in it, I got nothing but support.

I'm glad I didn't choose XDA as my entry point.

And thanks, Scotty, for pulling this out.
 
okay, +Jon Eric Check out freeyourandroid.com they are a group of developers striving to have a site geared to help people that want to learn about development. Complete with an IRC channel for real time help.
 
I remember a site called experts exchange... I used to contribute on... then it turned into what it is today... I fear xda is going the same way... before android it was an amazing site and I think I was able to assist and ask for assistance from these awesome devs without issue... but like you say too mainstream...
 
I agree with you +Scotty Brown , however I think the problem is that so many people end up at xda because they heard that's where you go to root your phone or get ROM 'S'. This in turn has meant that the site is full of massive threads where 30% (pulled out of my ass) of posts are questions that have been answered a hundred times before. There are other places where these can be answered without the developer being the one to provide this level of support. Many of the devs want to share their creation without doing much more. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that... Although if they are the same people asking for donations then the lines get blurred a little and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I don't think xda should be so 'noob'-unfriendly but I can understand from where it has stemmed. Hopefully a site like +RootzWiki can fill the gap that xda leaves behind?
On a separate note, hi +Sassi BoB <3. Sorry, I'm really too old for crushes but I had to get that out of my system, even if it automatically invalidates my argument! ;o)
 
+Scotty Brown XDA has saddened me to the point I don't want to go there..however, I can't go to +RootzWiki because my device(Samsung Epic 4G) gets no support outside of XDA. And I can't get the whole community to move with me. And if XDA is so "developer only" oriented, why don't they get rid of the wiki's. Why don't they trash the portal.
 
Most excellent, well written and expressed. I always though that xda-developers was a place to go for ROMs as well. Thats where I got my dual boot for windows. If they want to lock things down and make things run their way, they should be an iPhone only website with no threads. Last sentence was a bit drastict, but funny.
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