On fighting fire with fire...

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sk...@pobox.com

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Jul 27, 2005, 1:14:53 PM7/27/05
to pytho...@python.org

Twice today I responded to rude messages (once here, once on the SpamBayes
list) whose authors didn't deserve the benefit of my time. In both cases,
other people rightfully responded with some small amount of return venom
(but provided useful responses nonetheless).

Let me suggest that there is only one "correct" way to respond (if you are
going to respond at all) to such messages. That's to focus on the substance
of their message and completely ignore the rancor. I've been the chief
technical guy (including user support) for Musi-Cal for over ten years and
for Mojam for about seven years. During that time I've received lots of
thanks from people for the service those sites provide. Every once in
awhile though, I get a message out of the blue from someone who is either
simply an asshole or is having the mother of all bad days. I've found there
is nothing so satisfying as responding politely to such messages and then to
have their authors come virtually crawling back later with an apology for
having been so out-of-line.

Just a thought...

Skip

projecktzero

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Jul 28, 2005, 9:04:48 AM7/28/05
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but..but...It's so much more fun to unleash your anger and fire back
with all guns blazing fanning the flame war that most discussion groups
degenerate into after a couple of responses. =)

Actually, I had some self restraint yesterday. I wanted to write a
ripping response to an antagonistic flame bait message on another
group. I wrote it, decided it wouldn't help much, and deleted it. I
guess I got it out of my system by just writing it.

We need more people like you in many discussion groups.

Paul McGuire

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Jul 28, 2005, 9:39:16 AM7/28/05
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Sounds more like fighting fire with... water?

Sounds good to me.

-- Paul

Rocco Moretti

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Jul 28, 2005, 10:14:18 AM7/28/05
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projecktzero wrote:
> but..but...It's so much more fun to unleash your anger and fire back
> with all guns blazing fanning the flame war that most discussion groups
> degenerate into after a couple of responses. =)
>
> Actually, I had some self restraint yesterday. I wanted to write a
> ripping response to an antagonistic flame bait message on another
> group. I wrote it, decided it wouldn't help much, and deleted it. I
> guess I got it out of my system by just writing it.

That's what I do. I sometimes have something I want to say, so I write
my rant. Once I get it out of my system, I realize that it isn't adding
anything to the discussion, and delete it. The part of my brain that
wants to rant is happy because it got its say in, and the rest of the
world is happier for not having to read it.

I highly recommend that people try it. It works wonders.

mustafa

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Jul 28, 2005, 2:24:27 PM7/28/05
to pytho...@python.org

thats wrong.
you should atleast reprimand the person whose bieng rude.
otherwise that type of behavior spreads.
ppl have to realise that ifyou want ppl to help
asking nicely can and will do wonders

Asad Habib

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Jul 28, 2005, 2:49:58 PM7/28/05
to mustafa, pytho...@python.org
I agree with Mustafa. After all, we are a bunch of professionals and not
vagabonds hired to take pot shots at one another.

- Asad


On Thu, 28 Jul 2005, mustafa wrote:

> thats wrong.
> you should atleast reprimand the person whose bieng rude.
> otherwise that type of behavior spreads.
> ppl have to realise that ifyou want ppl to help
> asking nicely can and will do wonders
>

> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
>

Robert Kern

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Jul 28, 2005, 3:46:11 PM7/28/05
to pytho...@python.org
Asad Habib wrote:
> I agree with Mustafa. After all, we are a bunch of professionals and not
> vagabonds hired to take pot shots at one another.

Speak for yourself. ;-)

--
Robert Kern
rk...@ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter

Asad Habib

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Jul 28, 2005, 4:14:22 PM7/28/05
to Robert Kern, pytho...@python.org
What, do you not consider yourself a professional? Just because you are in
academia does not justify attacking people on a mailing list and then
justifying your attack with Harter's quote! Life is more than a quote -
look outside your academic cocoon and you will realize what I mean.

- Asad

> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
>

Robert Kern

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Jul 28, 2005, 4:21:09 PM7/28/05
to pytho...@python.org
Asad Habib wrote:
> What, do you not consider yourself a professional?

Not really, no.

> Just because you are in
> academia does not justify attacking people on a mailing list and then
> justifying your attack with Harter's quote!

Uh, it was a joke. A self-denigrating joke. I was calling *myself* a
"vagabond." I even had a smiley!

And the .sig quote has nothing to do with anything.

> Life is more than a quote -
> look outside your academic cocoon and you will realize what I mean.

Thank G-d my irony meter is under warranty.

Rocco Moretti

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Jul 28, 2005, 4:23:46 PM7/28/05
to
Asad Habib wrote:
> I agree with Mustafa. After all, we are a bunch of professionals and not
> vagabonds hired to take pot shots at one another.

Except that we're not all professionals. There are a large number of
hobbyists who use Python and this list.

At any rate, my suggestion was not to forswear gentle corrections toward
better list behavior, (emphasis on gentle) but to address the case where
one would be tempted to "fight fire with fire", and answer a potshot
with another potshot. Professionals (and even decent hobbyists) don't
escalate flame wars, even unintentionally.

Asad Habib

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Jul 28, 2005, 5:24:06 PM7/28/05
to Rocco Moretti, pytho...@python.org
Well, even if you are a hobbyist, that does not excuse you from being
civil. After all, we are all humans beings that deserve to be treated with
respect. Professional, hobbyist, vagabond, ogre, instigator, troll ...
THERE IS NO EXCUSE ... please treat others with respect.

- Asad

> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
>

Rocco Moretti

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Jul 29, 2005, 10:42:15 AM7/29/05
to
Asad Habib wrote:
> Well, even if you are a hobbyist, that does not excuse you from being
> civil. After all, we are all humans beings that deserve to be treated with
> respect. Professional, hobbyist, vagabond, ogre, instigator, troll ...
> THERE IS NO EXCUSE ... please treat others with respect.

I really don't think we're disagreeing.

I agree that it is inappropriate, regardless of position or experience,
to be rude, hostile, or vitriolic on this newsgroup. And it should be
made clear to people who are, that it isn't appropriate. However, in
doing so, it is also inappropriate to become rude, hostile, or vitriolic
oneself - as Skip mentioned in the post that started all this, the
appropriate way of handling it is by demonstrating proper behavior yourself.

If, for whatever reason, you do find the desire to be rude, hostile, or
vitriolic, you can satisfy your urge by writing out your rant and then
deleting it. You'll feel better by getting it off your chest, and you
won't have escalated anything.

The reason I point out the hobbyist issue is to disabuse people of the
misperception that everyone on this list is adhering to some
professional code of conduct that they should be ostracized for
breaching. This isn't to excuse their behavior - I'm just pointing out
that people are coming from different backgrounds, and that we should
treat them with consideration and respect, even when they aren't showing
us any.

Dr. Who

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Jul 29, 2005, 12:05:21 PM7/29/05
to
I was explaining the difference between irony and sarcasm to my
daughter just the other day. It was nice of Asad to provide us with
such a besutiful example. Not that I'm sure that was his intent...

Jeff

Steven D'Aprano

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Jul 29, 2005, 7:40:23 PM7/29/05
to
On Thu, 28 Jul 2005 15:23:46 -0500, Rocco Moretti wrote:

> Professionals (and even decent hobbyists) don't
> escalate flame wars, even unintentionally.

You don't get out much, do you? *wink*

If your comment is meant to be _prescriptive_ rather than _descriptive_, I
don't entirely agree.

Flame wars, like all wars, are unproductive beyond a certain point, but to
push the combat analogy, punitive raids can be productive at changing
behaviour.

It is never pleasant to be on the receiving end of a flaming, but if it is
deserved, then people should accept it and learn from it, rather than just
dismiss it as a flaming and therefore meaningless.

The problem on the Internet is that there is little or no status: the most
ignorant newbie and the stupidest AOLer think that they are equal in
status to somebody who has proven their knowledge for ten years. (This
lack of status on the Internet is not *always* a bad thing, but it can be.)

If your boss or professor or a judge gave you a tongue-lashing for stupid
behaviour, sensible people accept it. "I've been bad, I got caught, thank
goodness I'm suffering nothing worse than being told I'm an idiot." At
worst they might complain to their friends afterwards.

But on the Internet, people who deserve that tongue-lashing think that
because they can retaliate, they should retaliate -- and that's where the
risk of escalation from punitive raid to unproductive flame war lies.

--
Steven.

Steven D'Aprano

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Jul 29, 2005, 7:47:04 PM7/29/05
to
On Thu, 28 Jul 2005 17:24:06 -0400, Asad Habib wrote:

> Well, even if you are a hobbyist, that does not excuse you from being
> civil. After all, we are all humans beings that deserve to be treated with
> respect. Professional, hobbyist, vagabond, ogre, instigator, troll ...
> THERE IS NO EXCUSE ... please treat others with respect.

And yet your earlier angry, aggressive reply to Robert Kern was not very
respectful, don't you think? Your assumption that Robert is wrapped up in
an "academic cocoon" was uncalled for, and viciously aggressive pacifism
like you have displayed is almost as bad as aggressive flaming, and far
worse than Robert's self-depreciating humour.

In any case, I don't agree with you that all people deserve the same
amount of respect. Respect is rare currency, and has to be earned, not
just given away to anyone.

--
Steven.

mustafa

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Jul 30, 2005, 1:53:57 AM7/30/05
to pytho...@python.org
your wierd.
i dont mean that in a bad sense but your the first
the person to i have seen who think in internet does not
have a status quo.
i newbie is classified as one from his first post in any mailing list or
forum.(in fact most forums siply give you that status according to you
post count.


Jarek Zgoda

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Aug 1, 2005, 3:09:49 PM8/1/05
to
sk...@pobox.com napisał(a):

Did you read this article on online discussions in Hacknot?
http://www.hacknot.info/hacknot/action/showEntry?eid=72 One of the most
usable, I think. ;)

--
Jarek Zgoda
http://jpa.berlios.de/

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