On fighting fire with fire...

Discussion in 'Python' started by skip@pobox.com, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Guest

    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
    , Jul 27, 2005
    #1
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  2. projecktzero Guest

    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.
    projecktzero, Jul 28, 2005
    #2
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  3. Paul McGuire Guest

    Sounds more like fighting fire with... water?

    Sounds good to me.

    -- Paul
    Paul McGuire, Jul 28, 2005
    #3
  4. 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.
    Rocco Moretti, Jul 28, 2005
    #4
  5. mustafa Guest

    Rocco Moretti wrote:
    > 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.


    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
    mustafa, Jul 28, 2005
    #5
  6. Asad Habib Guest

    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:

    > Rocco Moretti wrote:
    > > 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.

    >
    > 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
    >
    Asad Habib, Jul 28, 2005
    #6
  7. Robert Kern Guest

    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


    "In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
    Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
    -- Richard Harter
    Robert Kern, Jul 28, 2005
    #7
  8. Asad Habib Guest

    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


    On Thu, 28 Jul 2005, Robert Kern wrote:

    > 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
    >
    >
    > "In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
    > Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
    > -- Richard Harter
    >
    > --
    > http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
    >
    Asad Habib, Jul 28, 2005
    #8
  9. Robert Kern Guest

    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.

    --
    Robert Kern


    "In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
    Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
    -- Richard Harter
    Robert Kern, Jul 28, 2005
    #9
  10. 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.
    Rocco Moretti, Jul 28, 2005
    #10
  11. Asad Habib Guest

    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


    On Thu, 28 Jul 2005, Rocco Moretti wrote:

    > 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.
    > --
    > http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
    >
    Asad Habib, Jul 28, 2005
    #11
  12. 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.
    Rocco Moretti, Jul 29, 2005
    #12
  13. Dr. Who Guest

    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
    Dr. Who, Jul 29, 2005
    #13
  14. 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, Jul 30, 2005
    #14
  15. 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.
    Steven D'Aprano, Jul 30, 2005
    #15
  16. mustafa Guest

    Steven D'Aprano wrote:
    > 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.
    >
    >
    >

    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.
    mustafa, Jul 30, 2005
    #16
  17. Jarek Zgoda Guest

    napisa³(a):

    > 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.


    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/
    Jarek Zgoda, Aug 1, 2005
    #17
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