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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Thursday September 18, 2003
09:12 AM

How to bully people you've never met

[ #14769 ]

It goes without saying that this incident is typical behavior for the Internet (you can choose as the bad boy whomever you hate more). While some people are probably that foolish and/or mean in real life, I've had the opportunity to meet a couple of people who behave like that on the net and so far no one has been that belligerent in person. Until we can find a way to figure out how to take away people's stupid bravado on the 'Net, it will remain a mixed blessing at best (albeit, one that pays my rent).

Here's a question for anyone else who wants to take a crack at it: do you think that hiding behind a keyboard reveals the inner nature of people, or is something else going on? (I have theories about the latter, but I'll just see what others have to say).

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • Opinion (Score:2, Insightful)

    Of course, I could be wrong, and I haven't asked Randal or Earle about it or anything, so perhaps I'm way off base here, but...

    This looks like a joke in both cases. Yes, it was inappropriate to put an email address that was reasonably carefully hidden in public, machine-readable view, but that got fixed. Yes, it's inappropriate to swat someone's feedback away. But, in the absence of more context, Randal's email kind of looks anal if it's to be taken seriously, and if the whole module's a joke, the auth


    You are what you think.
  • "There ain't nothin' in this world that's worth being a snot over." Amen.
  • No threat (Score:4, Funny)

    by schwern (1528) on 2003.09.18 12:27 (#24314) Homepage Journal

    IMHO, part of the reason people can be so much more rude over email than in person is two reasons, depending on the type of person you are. One is a lack of empathy. We're monkeys that instinctively feel for other monkeys. Without a warm human physically present, we're not inclined to be empathic.

    For some people, this empathy is busted. For them in human-to-human communication there's the implicit threat of physical violence. If you piss me off I might kick you in the balls. Candy bar commercials notwithstanding, nobody's going to fly to your house to kick you in the nuts.

    So I propose the MBM protocol. This is a network protocol to speak to a special device which is federally mandated to come with any network capable device. Simply put, it kicks you in the balls. []

  • Here's a timeline:
    1. I write an Acme module.
    2. Randal decides that the instructions in the README aren't good enough for the world at large, and mails me to request I change the perfectly reasonable install process of my module.
    3. I give him a civil, unequivocal reply, refusing. (What's that? A civil reply? But Randal didn't post that []. Funny!)
    4. Randal refuses to take no for an answer and tries to be The Champion Of All CPAN Users.
    5. I detect a whiff of hypocrisy and post the now-famous reply back to him.
    6. Randal pro
    • Since a couple of people have asked me: I think Randal should not have posted the correspondence. I also feel that instead of giving the reply that you did, you could have chosen not to respond or to have responded in a different manner. Admittedly, I sympathize with getting irritated and sending out an email that reflects that. However, when I've done that, if it has an effect at all it's usually bad. Now because of what you have written, some people will have a bad opinion of you (and some will think

  • I have a desire for CPAN modules to be as widely installable as possible. I found a module that didn't fit that. Like the dozens of others for which I've written back author remarks, I did that here. I got a non-responsive answer.

    But instead of escalating it in email, and getting more pissed on each round, I decided to check out whether I was off my rocker or not, by posting the email for peer review. If people believed it was non-responsive, they'd also write the author. If not, they'd tell me I was

    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
    • Next time, consider replying something like

      "Thanks for the wonderful violin music. While enjoying it I felt inspired to make the included patch to your distribution. Please consider including it in your next update."

      That would have deflated the (minor IMO) attack on you and brought the talk back to focus on your goal (being able to install his Acme module with

        - ask

      -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();

    • You could have accomplished the stated goals without quoting his email to you, and you could have asked for responses in the discussion instead of directly to him, and then sent him the URL where he could read the discussion.
  • Winning an argument on the Internet is like winning the gold medal at the Special Olympics. Even though you're the champ, you're still a retard.