Tribalism in the Community

So, something has been bugging me quite a bit lately within not just the overall community, but ours specifically as well. Tribalism. Alan Pope does a Telegram “podcast” thing where he shares small tidbits of his thoughts on things. Today he made one talking about tribalism in the Linux community and how whenever there are two of anything people will argue over which is better.

This is absurd, immature, and extremely common behavior in nerd/geek circles. Linux is no different here.

Whether it is a desktop environment, a book series, phone operating system, or any number of silly and immature arguments. Personally, as a GNOME user, I am frequently bombarded with comments about how GNOME is terrible, the design is terrible, etc. and how I should be using Plasma or XFCE or whatever else. It gets real old real fast.

So, what I am saying is that you can have a preference for something. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, the notion that we have to tear down someone else’s preferences just to make ours seem like the “right choice” is ludicrous and damaging. We should all strive to understand the positions others take rather than belittle them or tear apart their choices as if it will build up our own. We should always strive to be better people and more understanding regardless of the person’s preference of technology or geek culture.


But are these ppl really on this forum and participating here? Isn’t this kind of an echo chamber?

I would be more interested to hear how we can make things better and maybe come up with solutions.
Just saying that “everyone should be better” isn’t really helping much if they lack the social skills/intelligence/patience/whatever anyway.

In one IRC channel I’m in (community type) there are constant comments like what you describe. Noobs joining the channel asking questions about their desktop or whatever and ppl giving a million “helpful” tips on how to do it on other desktops, platforms etc. because that is what they use and know. Instead of shutting up they then start arguing with the other regualrs who thinks differently. Do you think the noob gets any help? No, they leave.
That said, there are a criminally low amount of ppl that actually steps in in that situation and tries to help and/or comment on what is going on. It’s not very hard to just cut them off by saying you disagree, or that you don’t like the way they behave.

If someone tells you to use something else and/or don’t like gnome, ignore them or tell them that you disagree and it works for you, then move on. The internet has an unlimited supply of idiots, so you’ll never have enough pesticide anyway :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

It’s usually the same type of ppl arguing over the same stuff day in and day out anyway so make them irrelevant and have fun with each other. The rest of us should take care of the newcomers and give them our best advise and help so they can do the same later.

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The Team Green vs Team Blue and such drives me crazy and after a point it’s ludicrous.

There are times it is done in fun but I think text based communication does not always give the reader the same visual and audio clues to a writer’s intent. And most of us will not be mistaken for Hemingway with our writing skills.

@popey’s TeleCast can be found there. The one @argrubbs is referring to is from July 28 2019 and is very worth a listen.

I think this is worthy of further discussion during a future show.

Also remember @argrubbs to tell them “good for you” when they bring stuff like that up.

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Although he has a right to say it, he needs to display it in his right way.

When I used to be on Discord, I was in the Ubuntu Hideout Discord and you were not allowed to rant or say any rude things about Windows, you can do that somewhere else because a) its rude and offensive 2) it ruins the reputation of the server). Nevertheless, you can’t just blabber whatever you want in a community where saying something could hurt something.

Direct link to post:
Telegram supports direct links to messages if you right click (or long press on phone).

I hear you (Gnome fan here. I’ve also had this many times and have had to delete many very rude and immature comments regarding Gnome and also towards my use of it. I don’t like deleting things, but there’s a limit where it’s just childish and mean.

Just because I use something, that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best, I might just prefer it. I also change things up and use different desktop environments and distros now and then. Sometimes just to try something different, sometimes because I like how something else is laid out. Do I always still go back to Gnome? Yeah. But that’s just because it’s something I’m used to and enjoy, and I used it for a decade.

There will always be those who make fun of what you use and bark about how what they have or use is better and does what you’re trying to do, but it’s best to just ignore them to be honest. And it’s not just Linux like Alan said, but also cars and anything else. Go on a truck or car forum or read the comments on any related video and everyone bashes anything that isn’t what they have. Even worse, if you’re a member of a car forum and have the same car as everyone else, then people argue about the different engines and features and how theirs is better and yours sucks. That’s just the internet for you…

The best thing to do is just not even engage when you see where it’s going and ignore it completely.

Just what I need, yet another social network that demands my mobile number - sorry Alan, I’m sure you have interesting things to say, but Telegram is one social network too far for this old luddite

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Fair point. Here’s an OGG copy of the audio in case you’d still like to listen.

I agree that this Desktop Environment wars goes way too far along with other arguments like Team Green vs Team Red and although like @franksmcb said, sometimes it is in a joking manner, it still can be taken too far.

There is only one solution for this and it will entail a ton of patience on our part but the only way to answer this kind of behavior is to be the better example in the community. I’m referring to all of us now. We all need to take the high road and not engage in this stuff. As @Tiedemann pointed out, the internet has an abundant supply of these types of people so you will never get rid of them but you can drown them out by being a better example.

I believe we should talk about this on the next BDLL to start out with and then we also need to support each other in the community. For example, if I see you Adam having a conversation with somebody and they start attacking your choices, I should be the one to defend your right to your choices and in that way, you are not engaging an argument and throwing fuel on the fire but allowing each other to extinguish them. When I say this, I know you’re not engaging in arguments, I’m just using it as an example.


Desktop Environments I say are all great because they all origin the same thing, and there is a way, for every SINGLE desktop there is a way to make it better. EVERY SINGLE ONE-it could be themes, it could be layout, it could be Window Manager. I like GNOME but it must have extensions to make me smile.

The thing is, Linux is growing and we are beginning to be bigger than Windows, so we need to look cool, and strong. Tribalism ruins the reputation.

We can do this to help fight the cause: BDLL is close but not perfect to the center of Linux. If we talk to DistroTube, we can spread a caution message to everyone via twitter and social media that we need to pull ourselves together if we want to look good, because the last thing we want is a moderation team that will moderate them, because imagine someone trying to overtake @popey in an argument as @argrubbs mentioned. It would look disgusting.

So lets all do our part and brush our teeth.

I like that idea Rocco, if we support each other right to make chioces based on their prefrence and needs, we modle the fact that the linux ecosystem and variety is available to meet the needs of users not say another persons decition to use a diferent application to do that is any better or worse. I personnely never got into KDE, but why should it worry me that someone thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, it dosn’t make Mate any better or worse, but that is what I use and it works for me.


“We Have To Let Go Of This Notion That For Apple To Win, Microsoft Has To Lose”" - Steve Jobs

We need to let go of the notion that for Linux to win, Windows needs to lose.

We need to let go of the notion for GNOME to win, KDE needs to lose.

We need to let go of the notion for AMD to win, NIVIDA/Intel needs to lose.


Any more it’s what works for you. Back in the day I might suggest GNOME 2 over GNOME 3, Unity, and Plasma 4, but these days they are all as stable as the next. We are truly in a great time for Linux desktop environments so there’s no reason for tribalism. Same with distros, use what works for you!

To be clear, I am on Arch and running qtile. Use what works for you, if that’s GNOME 3 or Plasma 5, both are great.


I couldn’t agree more. At this point, I really feel like I’m being picky when it comes to what I prefer. All of the major DEs are incredibly solid and usable. I literally can’t remember the last time I hard locked a system or even had a serious crash. No data loss. Truly a golden age.


Thanks, that was very kind of you to take the trouble. I’d probably be a regular of this venture of Alan’s but I really can’t face giving out my mobile to yet another system, my landline is nothing but spam and cold calls, and my mobile is starting to go the same way. I REALLY don’t want to spend my day fielding and deleting more messages.

Yeah, I’m old and grump and just want a quiet, peaceful retirement doing what I want to do.


Hi All, First post here :slight_smile: .

To be honest at times this sort of “tribalism” has turned me off investing myself and my time into the online community and although I have not been personally attacked sometimes the constant rhetoric of doing things this way, not doing things that way, don’t use this distro or DE, don’t dual boot etc can make me feel like I’m not “doing Linux the rite way” and creates an apprehension of getting involved as the way I use Linux isn’t rite way or “hardcore” enough I certainly don’t feel like my choices to use distro’s like PopOS! and keeping Linux simple detracts from my passion, my desire to learn, my overall support for Linux/FOSS related developers, content creators etc or Linux gaming.

I LOVE tinkering with tech and I would love nothing more than to have the time to push myself and learn Linux at a deeper level, but as of 2019 my life with work, kids and other hobbies I just don’t have the time to invest into installing arch “the arch way” or to get deep and emotional with the command line.

I feel like parts of that community say they want to see Linux hit mass adoption but doing so means a willingness to accept simplicity and be happy someone is on Linux regardless of distro, DE, wallpaper or custom theme. At the end of the day we are all on Linux because it puts the “personal” back into PC.

Seems weird that I would feel apprehensive yet make my first post on the forum on this subject I know but Rocco and BDLL has and does a great job of trying to build a community of differing opinions and make them coexists :smile: + a forum post I find a bit easier to articulate what I’m trying to say


Well said Sir

This!! so much this!

I miss you being around Acid!