“I don’t trust CakePHP” or what should you say in public?

Published on and tagged with cakephp  communication

Some days ago I left the following comment at Chris Hartjes’ article “Trusting Magic Methods”:

Personally, I don’t trust CakePHP, because a) tests are missing, and b) some existing tests fail (at the moment I get 11 failures and 3 exceptions with rev. 5568). But as I trust my own tests it doesn’t matter much whether the underlying framework is trustworthy or not…

It caused some reactions behind the scenes in the form of: “How could you write such a comment as a CakePHP contributor?! It puts CakePHP and the team in a bad light!”

Sure, being affiliated with a certain group comes with some responsibilities and implies you have to be more careful in what you say in public. Most of the time it is obvious whether you can say something or not. But in some cases like the comment above it is more difficult. Should you say what you think and indirectly criticize people in the group, or not? Is it even criticizing if you mention some (negative?) facts everyone else can easily verify? As you see, it is a tightrope walk… for some it is ok to write such a comment whereas others would never write such a comment.

If a comment takes this inner hurdle and gets effectively written, you loose the control about it. You don’t have any control about how the readers will interpret it. Everyone interprets it in the way he wants. Some see it negative, others neutral, and the last ones interpret it in a positive way. Even though everyone reads the same, the message they get can be completely different. For the comment above the messages could be:

“A guy bitching about missing and failing tests” (negative)

“A guy who writes his own tests because some tests in CakePHP are missing resp. failing” (neutral)

“A guy who inspires me to write my own tests” (positive)

Can you do something against that? I doubt it. You simply have to live with it (and its potential consequences).

To sum up, I can say you have to say what is ok for you to say, and to accept that not everyone will get the same message of what you are saying.

17 comments baked

  • joe

    i appreciate your candor

  • Chris Hartjes

    Hey Daniel, thanks for the link back to my article that caused all this trouble. I was there during the discussion on IRC between yourself and the core development team about your comment, and I think the problem they had was this: they feel that you have access to fix the things that you think are wrong but were instead choosing to complain about it rather than fix it. It’s a family-like attitude: if one of us has a problem, we all have a problem.

    I’m not here to take sides, as I am just as guilty as others in pissing and moaning about a problem but not taking the initiative to help fix that problem.

  • cakebaker

    @joe: Thanks

    @Chris: I think you refer to the discussion about my previous loadController(null) article ;-) Anyway, what you say can also be applied in this context. Instead of writing about failing tests I could fix them. That’s true. On the other hand I think if someone breaks a test, he should also fix it.

  • nate

    “It puts CakePHP and the team in a bad light!”

    No. It puts you in a bad light since you complain and do nothing.

    “Should you say what you think and indirectly criticize people in the group, or not?”

    Well, if you yourself are ostensibly *in* the group, doesn’t that mean you deserve an equal share of the criticism?

  • Scott

    Your comment was in context with the topic of the article. I don’t see a problem. That article mentions that it’s hard to get involved, fix code, and etc, and I agree. After reading articles comparing cake with other frameworks, it seems they all agreed that cake had the worst and most lacking documentation. After reading that, I myself applied to help update docs and manuals, fix errors, etc, but never got word back. I have a feeling the process isn’t so simple for those already in the project either.

  • random outsider

    i know i’m poking my nose in y’alls beeswax. perhaps i’m way off, but i feel compelled to say:

    please don’t port the insecure, hyperreactive 37 signals/’cult of DHH’ mentality from rails. i worry that kind of silliness will ultimately doom RoR.

    (don’t get me wrong, i really like cake and rails)

  • KPOTOB

    @nate: seems you ignoring in-team issues ;) nobody will continuously fix someone else’s bugs forever.

    so I can not see bad lights pointing on daniel. maybe little overreacting but it depends on how long he was that nobody wiping some “smart developer” ass

  • cakebaker

    @nate: See my answer to Chris: “[...] Instead of writing about failing tests I could fix them. That’s true. On the other hand I think if someone breaks a test, he should also fix it.”

    Yes, that’s right, as long as I am part of the group I criticize, I criticize myself, too. I failed in convincing those who broke some tests to fix them.

    @Scott: Yes, that’s bad, and it should not happen that people who want to help are ignored. If you still want to help, you may try the docs group: http://groups.google.com/group/cakephp-docs

    @random outsider: I don’t understand what you mean (I don’t follow what’s happening in Rails land)

  • Soulhuntre

    Something that is often (IMHO) grossly misused in Opensource circles is the “don’t complain, fix it or shut up” mentality. If someone is checking in broken code and borking tests why is it wrong to mention that?

    Frankly i am pretty disturbed to find that there is a chance that there is lots of stuff about CakePHP that maybe we should know but don’t because no one in the core team would be willing to tell us about problems in the name of solidarity.

  • gwoo

    @Soulhuntre
    We are always up front about the problems. What is happening now is that many people are using branch code expecting it to be working perfectly. I think if you ask all the 1.2 users out there they will tell you they are pretty impresses with how stable 1.2 is for being in alpha and constantly being developed.

    The point is dont complain about something that is in development and you know is alpha. If you want to use alpha then you are accepting the possible bugs and also accepting the responsibility to the rest of the community to help out.

    @Scott
    I find it hard to believe that your effort was sincere. If you look at this
    http://cakeforge.org/plugins/wiki/index.php?id=53&type=g you will see that many people are contributing to the docs and have received tasks to work on.

    It seems that people are a lot quicker to complain than they are too express gratification for the countless hours the dev team puts into this project. But hey thats life and im not complaining. I understand that many people look for the bad in things before appreciating the good.

    For anyone who wants to talk, come by IRC. Talk to us. We are always there. Otherwise, sit back, use the stable 1.1 and have fun.

  • cakebaker

    @soulhuntre: Thanks for your comment. I think the mentality you mention exists also in the CakePHP team. If you as a team member get criticized for submitting tickets without patches, well, then something is wrong.

    @gwoo: With such an answer you won’t convince anyone to help with documentation…

    I don’t know which way Scott used to offer his help and what the cause was that there was no answer. But saying “I find it hard to believe that your effort was sincere” sounds to me simply arrogant. Maybe the process to get involved with documentation is too complicated? Maybe an email was overlooked?

    Sorry to say that, but the only person I see complaining here is you.

  • Lorenzo

    I’m part now of the documentation team, afeter I tried to apply for a second time. It happened to me as to Scott, the first time I wrote to the documentation team I got no answer, then I wrote again a few months later and after 3 weeks I got an e-mail back.

    I think by that time it was difficult to get involved, I hope is easier now with the google group.

  • cakebaker

    @Lorenzo: Hm, I am not sure whether it became easier to get involved as you still have to find the google group.

  • cakebaker » Why you should test your CakePHP applications

    [...] comment about me not trusting CakePHP caused quite some discussions. Some interpreted it in the way that I [...]

  • Mr-Yellow

    Asshat developers in open source looking for peer fame from geeks can get fucked. If their ego reacts to a bug ticket and they close it because of the way you asked….. Then they are the fuckheads not you.

    -Ben

  • Mr-Yellow

    [quote]
    they feel that you have access to fix the things that you think are wrong but were instead choosing to complain about it rather than fix it.
    [/quote]

    So yelling at anyone that submits an issue that they aren’t already focused on, should just fix it themselves and never submit bugs as the core team doesn’t like working?

  • cakebaker

    @Mr-Yellow: Thanks for your comments!

    Well, I think the problem is that there is an (implicit) convention that members of the core team don’t create bug reports. It’s silly, but if you look at the bug tracker you will find almost no tickets opened by team members…

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