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Discussion on: 101 Tips For Being A Great Programmer (& Human)

taillogs profile image
Ryland G • Edited

I always appreciate your insight Scott, thanks for taking the time to evaluate the situation rationally.

I think the challenge is that reading text on the Internet conveys no context whatsoever. I think a lot of people are rude in e-mail, but the truth is that they are trying to write short and to-the-point messages and not waste a ton of time on the e-mail itself when there are far more pressing matters to attend to.

I agree. Although I still believe that there was nothing "rude" or "unrude" about what I said. It was definitely opinionated and direct, which is not something everyone appreciates.

Also, I personally find unsolicited advice-giving can be a minefield. It can make it seem like an attack on the author or come across as arrogant and it makes assumptions. Questions are my favorite way to open a dialog when I think something should be done in a different manner

To be fair, I did start with a question, so it's not just the form that matters. Again, agree with the overall sentiment. In fact, this observation is so great that I might write a blog post about it.

In this situation, you could have said something along the lines of "I have a very disciplined system for citing and crediting tools I use, and I noticed you didn't attribute X. Could you please tell me a little bit more about your citation process?" Then you can engage in a discussion that is hopefully productive, respectful and a benefit to all who read.

You're obviously right.

Seek to understand, rather than to be understood. Approach all topics with a beginner's mind. Be aware of the fact that you oftentimes do not know that you do not know something, if that makes sense.

I assume I know nothing, because no one does.

When a conversation starts getting emotionally charged, take a step back. Go outside, I hear sunlight is really nice and I should be getting more of it :P Assumptions tend to lead to more assumptions which tends to lead to looking like an ass.

I'm not emotional about this at all. I've played far too many hours of online games to get tilted by interactions on the internet (for better and worse).

Lastly, consider appropriate venues. If you think someone is attributing wrong, a PM would probably be a much nicer way to get this across. No one likes public criticism. I know from the talks we've had together you're a good dude and you didn't mean ill-will, but it came across differently unfortunately. See if you can take something away from this experience!

The first thing I tried was to direct message her. She has her DM's closed. That's a personal choice, but also voids that argument. It's not like I went to the staff and complained or tweeted publicly about this issue. I went to the most direct place I could communicate with her and raised it.

Overall, I could have made the comment more digestible and friendly. Speaking of beginners mind, even if you evaluate the situation from the opposite view of mine

"Left a rude comment on the post about attribution"

I'm still only guilty of rudely commenting in the effort to defend someone else's work whom I don't really know. It's also a bit hard for me, because I received a similar comment just 1 week ago and handled it quite differently.

Overall, you gave me a lot to think about. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to improve!

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ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis

No problem! Whenever I see the comments get a little uncomfortable, I try to step in because I'm one of our content moderators. My hope is that by reconstructing the events as a third party it can be turned into a learning experience for everyone who reads that far into the comments.

And at the end of the day, we're all adults and we should feel free to act like responsible adults. You're going to offend people for reasons beyond your understanding, there's always that person looking for any excuse to start a fight, and my generation is really guilty of "I believe in freedom of speech unless it goes against my beliefs."

Glad you got something constructive out of it!