In the early days of the Internet, when it was pretty much exclusive to major universities, the admins were at least people in your organization; co-workers or staff members who you could speak to in person. They may have held power, but they were known and approachable.
There seems to be an obsession with replicating the scale and power of GFAM and co. now. Being a "responsible admin" by putting on your professional face and treating the people on your servers like customers rather than fellow community members. (It's often at least partially motivated by people wanting to make themselves feel important & powerful, but that's another story.)
But when your sysadmin is just an authority figure, not a person, you can't have a conversation with them. You may be entrusting them with control over your digital life, but you can't open up to them. It's just a phone call with Customer Support—you can ask them why the computer's not behaving, but you can't sit down with them for a coffee and discuss how it all works. And the air of distance and superiority makes people afraid of all sysadmins.
We need less of that, I think. Far, far less of that, and more sysadmins who are friendly, approachable members of the community they serve. Hell, Free Software and the Internet is supposed to be about community! Let's nourish that, not crush it in favour of corporate aesthetics.
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