codinghorror, A project as potentially large as LE involves many levels of work, including coding, determining overall strategy, legal issues, writing for the public, writing for users, monitoring error reports, monitoring articles about LE on the Web, and much else. Nobody is good at all of this!
If we view our range of contribution levels as “coders only”, and mandate a policy of “everyone help as much as you can”, then we’re back to the Hacker mentality of the good old days that produced much tangled software that couldn’t easily be extended or be bug-fixed.
If we were to go to an extreme, and mandate no complaining (deleting all complaints that might appear), imagine the result. One thing would be for sure, software would be of low quality, if for no other reason than because the end users would have little or no input into the process.
A project like LE would surely fail if it were built bottom-up, by coders only.
Every contributor to a significant-sized project has basic responsibilities: ensuring their code is of high quality, fulfills the requirements and design documents, is compatible with (looks like) others’ code, and raises flags (complains nicely) when something is going wrong, All of these tasks and more are of higher priority than coding.
That is the message I tell you based on 40 years of professional programming, and you can also read it in the extensive literature on how to conduct a large project.
It is not true that “anyone can complain”. Only experienced engineers can reliably detect faults in the process, in the requirements, in the design, in the coding, or in the quality assurance. Of course, I’m talking about high-quality comments, which matter to the project, not complaints about politicians or other wasting of time.
I am surprised I have to say these things (which are obvious, to me) to someone who is part of the “discourse staff” here, and if my input is not appreciated here, I’ll just fall silent at this point.