IllusionaryOne on Hiatus


#1

I have decided to take a hiatus from PhantomBot support and possibly development.

I probably do owe an explanation for this decision, and I do hope that while this explanation seems selfish and in some ways rude, I believe that it still must be shared. I have recently realized that there is a lot on my plate, so, I decided to prioritize all the items on my plate and then look at which activities have a positive impact upon my mood and well-being. The support aspect of PhantomBot is an item that has a negative impact upon those two items.

I will share the ugly and potentially rude reasons as to why I feel this way. As I look at the support tickets, I feel as if most folks can find answers by looking through the forums or reviewing other resources; indeed, I have found answers to some issues by investigating other support sites for operating systems or even Stack Overflow. Some of the support questions also come across in manners that I never hear from paying clients at work. So, imagine how I feel when clients that my company charges $150 - $200 per hour to are politer and more understanding than folks that are receiving free software and free support. I do understand that people depend upon the software, but, at the same time, there must be an understanding that there is a difference between paid and unpaid software and support. I also understand that folks want releases more often, but, our resources are limited and during a release, the support queue goes up, a lot, and additional time and effort must be factored into a release beyond just building a package. I also understand that people want specific features, but if those features are not designed as they think they should be, there are usually reasons why, and once provided, arguments sometimes start. Some parts of PhantomBot are designed certain ways for performance reasons. Some parts are designed certain ways for legal reasons. Some parts are designed just because they are how they were designed as well.

To ensure that I was not being unreasonable, I bounced some of this off a couple of co-workers. One of which is a very large open source software supporter, who had a very simple reply to me – the source code is there, it can be modified to fit the needs of the individual, that is the idea behind the freedom of free software. To this end, I thought back to how I got started on PhantomBot. I wanted to change a few things to fit my needs, and at the same time, I had to learn JavaScript. I also had to learn some new Java APIs. As I became more involved with the project, I had to learn other APIs, such as Web Sockets, jQuery, and Bootstrap. I also had a scheme to replace the entire IRC engine and then left the smoldering skeleton for another developer to wrap up. Yes, I started off with a software engineering background but, really, for basic development tasks, it is quite possible to learn a language and be productive. I look at the DevOps person that I manage at work. The person had 0 programming experience, but, taught himself enough Python to make things work when he needed to.

Another co-worker of mine used more colorful phrasing, which was essentially – something that does not bear repeating. He then expounded on how much that irritated him. He had worked on open source in the past and walked away from it completely due to supporting the software and the demands of the user base. He tired of the toxicity from some folks, even though that meant giving up on other folks.

The problem with myself taking a hiatus is, there are not many developers on the project. There is also a limited number of folks that provide support. This pains me in some ways, but, I must do what is right for me at this time. I am not sure yet when I will be providing support again and if I will be developing or not. I may be away for a few days or a few weeks, I really do not know.

In closing, I truly hope that all those that use PhantomBot understand. To me, this is a great project. I started off looking for an open source Twitch bot that I could tinker with and ended up on the development team. I will not say it “has” been great, because that is a word that invokes a sense of finality. I will say that it is great and will continue to be great. I am not leaving permanently, just taking a break.

Kindest Regards,
IllusionaryOne


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