This is the email I received when I posted the patch on Discuss.Userland.Com.

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From: Dave Winer <>
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Post the patch on your site. Dave
Comments and TrackBacks

Such a small thing Jason, how about saving the silver bullets for times when it really matters.

In any case, I’d rather have your complaints over here where your readers see them, instead of mine. And I would hate to have stop working on what we’re doing, which is bigger picture, to deal with user’s questions about “Why does it work this way?” when the workaround is to simply work around it.

Whatever, I guess I have to take the good with the bad here.

BTW, the reason we jumped on the security fix when you reported it is because that was mission-critical. And don’t kid yourself, my guys work for me, I woke them up on a Sunday night and said let’s fix this now.

I wonder how you would feel if someone talked about you the way you talk about me. Something to think about Jason.

• Posted by: Dave Winer on Jan 4, 2000, 6:59 PM

You have spoken about me like that on your site — “Jason Levine rants about Netscape, as if it were a healthy company and hadn’t just been split in two and acquired” and “I’ve been wanting to tell Jason Levine off in public for a long time” are the two that spring to mind from most recently. And, for the record, no insults have been thrown here — no ad hominems, no slurs, nothing. I offered a fix for a bug, you declined it rather rudely, and I followed your advice by posting it here.

You seem to want to position Manila and its various associated sites as great tools for web developers and web content providers; the fix was in the vein that something that small shouldn’t even be an issue, it should just get fixed so that there can’t be any more complaints about it, and developers have one less thing that could potentially turn them off of Manila and Frontier. I posted the patch on Discuss truly because I did not want you to waste your time on a fix that I wanted and that I could do; it seemed (and seems) strange that you didn’t want the fix. I felt that your sudden deletion of the post (whereas in the past you’ve asked me to take things down myself, and I’ve always consented) and gruff email were the things that turned this from a community-member-wanting-to-help to a community-member-who’s-clearly-not-wanted. So be it.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jan 4, 2000, 7:17 PM

The rudeness was what you heard. You take offense very easily Jason. I simply told you to post it on your own site. What is the big friggin deal about that?? Hello. 99 out of a hundred people would just do it without complaining.

How do you know what’s going on here? Maybe I was working on beating the drum for our software? Maybe I have good reasons for not wanting that fix to go out right now in the informal way you are putting it out?

No one else seems to be too inconvenienced by this particular problem. I’ve got so many other fires to put out and holes to dig. Why does my day have to stop right there to deal with the priority you’ve put on my plate?

You are incorrect that you didn’t create an issue for me to deal with. When you tell people to install something that we may write over, you’re creating a headache for me, and everyone who installs the fix. For what cause? So they can put relative URLs in their images? You’re the only one who does that.

Look on your home page. Look at how much you enjoyed the referer stuff, share that code. Look at how you used the feature I put into WLM. Look at how gorgeous this site is. I really really don’t want to focus on this super-super-small issue.

• Posted by: Dave Winer on Jan 4, 2000, 10:20 PM

Hrrrrmmmm…. you’re right that I heard rudeness, because it was plain rude, but by no means am I offended by one bit of it — in the end, this is all business, between a paying customer and a vendor. I reported a legit bug to you, and you responded that I should change the way I do things if I want it to work — change them from a perfectly legal method that your software doesn’t support to another legal method that’s an inconvenience for me. This was unexpected, to be sure, and definitely not what we’re used to paying for.

It was a super-super-small issue, and would have remained so if Userland had just acknowledged the problem and committed to fixing it someday, sometime; instead, you told me to change how I work in order to get around it. I thought that this was terribly unprofessional, seeing as we have paid for a subscription with an expectation of at least acknowledgment of our reported bugs.

So, I responded with a fix for the bug, and it was deleted. My fix for the bug included instructions on how to make it so that Userland code would not overwrite the change. But alas, no dice.

At what point do you believe that I ever asked you to drop what you’re doing to fix this “fire” (your word, not mine)? When did I demand that it become a priority? (It’s interesting that you’re seeing it that way.) The entirety of my Discuss.Userland postings — all of the postings that predated my putting the patch here — are the following (everything’s out in the open on this one):

  1. the bug report
  2. my better understanding of the behavior, plus an idea of a possible fix
  3. my reasoning for relative URLs, plus an offer to just fix it on my own box and be done with it
  4. my clarification of the scope of the bug (which is that it’s not just image links that are affected, despite what you keep writing), and another offer to just fit it myself and be done with it

Again, if you’re saying that my patch made this a priority for you, then that’s your perception. I offered up a patch, just like many users have done over time, and you didn’t want it.

As for the to-what-end question, the end is to fix a bug. Nothing more grandiose than that. And, as I said in my first reply to you, it was mainly because it seemed to be the right thing to do specifically because it was such a small bug that I could easily fix. But now that you’ve made it clear that such contributions are unwelcome, you can be sure that they won’t be forthcoming.

Lastly, as for the code to the referrer page — you’re damn right that I’m going to share that once I get it readable and presentable. When have I not shared what I’ve discovered? Userland links to my portability story, as well as the robots.txt primer, both of which are Manila-related discoveries from here. Userland was happy to send Thea our way when they wanted her to interview us about using Frontier for our Goodwill Games website, and we were happy to oblige. When you needed quotes for your product page, I was again happy to be a part of it. And when there was uproar about the partner-level license price, we were also willing to help explain why there was no reason for the uproar (although this link appears to have rotted). This perception that we’re being leeches, demanding and demanding from you, is just silly.

I thank you, though, for your last comment about the look of this site. I’ve put a lot of work into it, and I’m glad that it shows; Manila is responsible for the relative ease of it all, and that’s something for you and all of your employees to be proud of. But there seems to be some adversarial thing going on here, and I just can’t understand why.

(Of note, I don’t claim to intuit what you are doing with your time. But remember — your user community can also beat the drum for Frontier, as we did in MacWeek and on ScriptMeridian for our Goodwill Games project. But alienating the users won’t really give them any reason to want to do so.)

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jan 4, 2000, 11:44 PM

I didn’t read your whole message. Sorry Jason, I just don’t have the juice for it, esp when you question my professionalism.

Sometimes we do show customers how to work around a problem. That is part of the way it works.

There’s nothing more going on here than that. Esp since we have different editorial guidelines on I’m pretty sure you’ve read them, if not, let me know and I’ll send you a pointer.


• Posted by: Dave Winer on Jan 5, 2000, 8:44 AM

Well, then, we clearly don’t see eye to eye on this one. But, so you know, this week I have made the decision to not recommend Frontier to two groups who have asked me to do web projects for them; I am terrified about how it would look if they, being licensed users of Frontier on my recommendation, were to report a bug to you and be told to just do things differently from now on. When someone pays for a product, they have a reasonable expectation to at least have their reports acknowledged — shades of “the customer is always right.” (You felt this way about your Dell laptop keyboard, assuredly.)

And I’m still amazed that you have yet to say that there’s problem, and that that problem deserves fixing (on any schedule, since once again, nobody asked for a priority one).

And as for the editorial guidelines, note that I posted my report and patch specifically after this posting by you, where in response to someone asking if Discuss.Userland was the appropriate forum, you told them that it didn’t matter, and to just post it.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jan 5, 2000, 2:22 PM

Jason, the editorial policy is clearly posted on$10550

Other than that, I’m of course sorry that you’re not recommending Frontier. I’d like you experience to be so good that you rave about the product and the company behind it.

We’ll try to do better!


• Posted by: Dave Winer on Jan 5, 2000, 5:51 PM…

• Pinged by Sideblog on Feb 19, 2004, 7:55 AM
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