How to behave on Aux: WANCAIN

So there’s this comment I made on lemmy 7 months ago

You actually bring up a very good point that I missed; another problem, maybe the largest problem with nix, is the culture issue.

A comment like “what do you mean nixOS doesn’t have good documentation??? we have tons of good documentation!” feels very similar to reading what you … [click here if you want to finish].

It was one instance of what I’ll call “Torvolds diplomacy”. The best example is probably an arch user replying with RTFM.

But there is an alternative, which I’ll call “Matz diplomacy”. The Ruby community has saying MINASWAN, which is “Matz (ruby author) is nice and so we are nice”.

I think we should have something similar, and go out of our way to be friendly even if someone asks a question that’s already been asked 50 times.
We are nice cause Aux is nice (WANCAIN)

Obviously not an official rule or anything, just something that I hope influences the reputation of Aux


Love this.

I certainly understand the frustration that can arise from certain situations. To me, the differentiator is being able to continue to be kind (like you mention). I would be happy to adopt this principle officially :slight_smile:


Kindness goes a long way for pretty much everything in life.

+1 on making it a more formal principle of interaction.


IDK, I think “nice” is kind of vague and empty

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I would pretty much just refer to the Golden Rule - Wikipedia


I think that there’s discussion over kindness here, perhaps “WAKCAAK” (we are kind ‘cause Auxolotls are kind’) would maintain the intended meaning and be preferable to you?


I think the Golden Rule is good, and if that is what “nice” or “kind” means in the acronyms then I have no objection.


We could also just go with Wil Wheaton’s motto: “Don’t be a d*ck.”


WAKCAAK is funnier though. Like imagine saying it out loud.


This is controversial, but please hear me out because I think you’ll agree. I think the golden rule can be terrible, particularly in software. And actually Tolvolds Diplomacy, as in literally Linus Torvolds himself, is very very often absolutely following the golden rule.

The Average Case

This was my first post ever on the nix discourse.

You’re being really polite, I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. I’ll give you a bit of an intro since it seems you’re new to Linux … [Its really long]

I created an account and posted that because I felt needed to step in. Everyone else was following the golden rule and giving the answer THEY wanted to hear, as if THEY were asking the question.

  • If a senior Dev asks “how does this work” they might want a link to source code and s short answer with a lot of Jargon.
  • If a non-programmer asks “how does this work” they likely want a super high level overview, basic terminology, and an introduction of terms that are relevant and what they mean.

The golden rule ignores who is asking it just blurts out whatever irrelevant/incompatible answer the responder would like to hear (and what the responder probably enjoys talking about).

At best it causes a disconnect, friction, and this gradual buildup of askers not getting useful answers that can explode into memes like Just gimme the EXE, smelly nerds

The Bad Case

I’ve grown up having friends whose families curse at each other regularly. And I’ve been around families that don’t have eachother’s back. They are not the same families. Not even close. “I hate you”, “I hate you too”, “let’s go get something to eat”, “okay”. Was a real conversation, and despite the words, respect was not lost between them because I was there, I saw the smile on their faces as they were eating together afterwords.

I say this because it might be hard to believe, but I’ve met people in real life who I would guess are very very similar to Torvolds (who grew up in a dysfunctional home), and people who I would guess are very very similar to Jon Ringer. They ARE usually following the golden rule. Telling Linus to “screw off, this code is cr@p, you need to change X to Y” is going to roll off his back like water off a duck. He’s not going to remember it 30 seconds later, let alone get into a frenzy over it – because he’s so desensitized. Here’s an interview that kinda goes over his perspective.

There is no empathy in the golden rule.

Srxl wrote a compelling post recently about how Jon’s reponses made them feel, the golden rule totally ignores all of it.

The Alternative

There is a platinum rule “treat others how they want to be treated”, but I’m actually going to take another somewhat controversial stance and say its frequently not possible, and even when it is it can be too energy intensive. Real empathy requires information. A new account with a single new post thats only a question is impossible to empathize with because we dont know anything about them. And that doesn’t mean RTFM is a good response.

But, politeness, assuming the best, and asking for the info needed for empathy later is a reliable not-too energy intensive strategy that avoids Torvolds Diplomacy.


To use an old reddit-ism “I like everything about this post”. It’s relatable, expresses the concern without attacking anybody, and is quite empathetic.

  • Don’t get a d¡ck
  • Be nice
  • The platinum rule
  • We are nice cause Aux is nice (WANCAIN)

It would be great if this attitude were the basis of interactions on this forum and enforced too. I’m not saying it isn’t so and something is currently wrong, just that it would be great to have “WANCAIN” as the motto of the community :grinning:

Sentences like

  • I’m sorry to be blunt, but that’s incredibly naive
  • It’s written in the documentation, look it up
  • I’m tired of $group thinking “$opinion”. It’s objectively wrong. Full stop

aren’t nice and should incur an action.