Wednesday 25 February 2015

Dom posts interesting feedback

I was gonna just bury this as a response to a comment in the original article, but I've decided Dom's comment is really excellent, so I'm promoting his comment & my feedback to be an article.

This was in reaction to my "Regarding codes of conduct and the nature of forum participation" article from a few days ago.

Dom fed back with this:

This blog post is a perfect example of the *tone* that is not condusive to a healthy community and I feel you are still missing the point entirely, Adam.

People take offense or voice concerns; the response here and on the list seems to be to blame them for their irrationality and stupidity. While those concerns may be unwarranted or irrational is beside the point, they are being *felt* and your tone continues to disrespect out of hand.

It is not just about being offended. It is about being exhausted and concerned for the health of the community.

The remedy is simple, listen to the criticism and practice a tone of voice and way of thinking that continues to voice your intelligent opinions and insight without touching peoples nerves. Doing so does not mean a dumbing down of anything at all and does not itself lead to mediocrity.

"That idea is bloody stupid, Cameron." is a tone of voice that is completely unnecessary and actively harmful. "I dislike this idea because x, y, z" maintains anti-mediocrity *and* a healthy dialog.

I'm sticking my neck out and hate to do so (I'm human with feelings and overly protective of my ego), but your rhetoric reads to me "I fear not being heard, I fear that stupidity will win the day, I fear being irrelevant". Should any of that be true, believe me those fears are unfounded. Adding a smidge of extra emotional intelligence and listening power to your armoury will win you wider audiences and put you in a much stronger position.

I'm a preachy c***t, done. (this conversation probably best had over a beer/cider...).
All good. I dunno what that five letter word is that he asterisked out in the last para. If it was a four letter one, I could hazard a guess. I'm gonna assume he meant "cadet", although dunno why he censored it.

Anyway, my feedback to that:

I'm afraid to say I think it's you who's "missing the point entirely", Dom ("I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?!!" ;-). However this could be down to the way I articulate it. Comms being a two-way street, obviously.

Your mooted approach - whilst a popular one - is merely addressing the symptom of the issue, not the underlying problem. I am having a look at the underlying problem (well: some facets of the underlying problem). I'm also not suggesting a solution: just making observations which were intended to provoke thought. It's done that, I guess!

The reason there's a symptom to treat is that people are inclined to be intolerant of any approach to things that isn't exactly how they want things to be. A lot of people simply don't tolerate any sort of "behaviour" they don't like. I think this is a deleterious attitude to have in a community forum. As Jim points out in his response, everyone's different and this is a good thing, and this should be encouraged. Not wallpapered over, as you're pretty much suggesting with your very beige and "everything is awesome" approach to dealing with things. Contrary to what you're suggesting, I think you're denying human nature. But this is a very popular homogenising attitude, so no surprise there.

My observations about the whole "taking offence" at things was intended to give people pause for thought. Obviously many people do "take offence" and it's a very real thing. My point was that perhaps these people ought to be a bit introspective about this "offence" they're taking, and understand it is just something they've chosen to do, and perhaps they should be patient with whatever is causing them to choose to react that way. And certainly not to take the automatic position that it's someone else's fault and they need to adjust their behaviour.

Equally my other observations: that it's OK to be wrong, it's OK to be right, it's OK to be a newbie, etc were also just observations & I thought encouragement in areas I have seen being a challenge for people in my 20-odd years of active forum participation.

I wasn't meaning to dictate people's behaviours, I was more offering my exposure to various pros and cons of forum participation over those coupla decades, and perhaps this might be pause for thought for some people.

You are misinterpreting (at least partly my fault, having reviewed the wording I chose) my "you're an idiot Cameron" examples. I'm not suggesting one was a model approach and one was not. I was demonstrating what was an ad hominem attack and what was not. I needed to use similar language in both so as to demonstrate the difference: playing the ball not the player. I guess my usage of "OK" was less than ideal there. I'll update that.

You're dead right that people need to be more tolerant of other people's behaviour. The difference is that you seem to think this tolerance only needs to come from one direction. I think it needs to come from both directions.

As for you last para... wow. You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. Well: I do fear stupidity will win out I guess. My motives though are simply and entirely to facilitate people lifting their game when it comes to areas I can help with (CFML, and how to ask for help, etc). If I become "irrelevant" because no-one's left asking questions I can answer, I would consider that a win, and "job done". Being completely honest about it: I don't do this for entirely altruistic reasons. I like demonstrating I know stuff, and I like learning stuff. However my main underlying reason for participating is actually to help people.

Other than that, I think I have something to add to the concept of the Lucee sub-dialect (if it ever actually bloody eventuates). I also think a lot of people making suggestions look for solutions for their immediate coding requirements or proclivities, whereas I try to divorce myself from that, and look at the broader picture of "the language" not "my specific needs for the language", or "how I am used to coding stuff". I've possibly also spent more time actively looking at other languages than a lot of people have (not that I've done much; but "some" is more than most people in the CFML community, I think), so think I bring some insight to the table there too. TBH though, I'm beginning to think that idea is a mix of stillborn and lacking appropriate ambition from its very grassroots, so am losing interest in that aspect of the Lucee community. They need to pony-up with something interesting there.

Cheers for the thought-provoking reaction to my article!

Oh, and all things are better done over a beer. Or cider if you really must ;-)