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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Thursday May 07, 2009
09:03 AM

I'll journal about it if I want to

[ #38935 ]

In fact, I might even blog.

I am tired of seeing folks gripe and moan about people who write journal entries about problems rather than sending in bug reports or contacting people directly.

People who write a post about a problem, no matter how friendly, are often subjected to vitriolic hatred, sometimes including swearing, and an attempt to shame and pressure them by appealing to some sense of "community interest." It never seems to occur to these folks that the journalists have their own interests to look out for. Maybe the journalist didn't want to serve the community for free. Maybe the journalist was simply making a note for himself. Maybe he would've filed a bug report later, when the problem was better understood. Maybe he thought the problem was his and someone would correct him in a forum and didn't think a bug report was appropriate. Maybe he's just making a record of obstacles he encountered. Maybe they simply disagree with you on what is and is not best discussed in public versus in private.

Plus, many folks seem to take this as a personal affront. Indeed "community interest" is often just an abstract notion used to shame people into supporting the speaker's interest. Cussing somebody out for writing a journal entry on use Perl instead of contacting you personally or filing a bug report or whatever else you would prefer them to do is nothing more than an attempt to shame them into acting as if they were your private slave. Don't expect people to take your interests into account if you have so little respect for their interests. And don't count on all the other individuals in the "community" to back up your bad behavior; some of us see through this crap for what it is, and don't enjoy watching it.

If two people are going to be "community" together, then it needs to be completely voluntary on both parts, and both people need to find that the relationship benefits them and enhances their goals. When a bunch of people do that in a network, it's a community, and the community is never a real thing; it's just an abstract term that refers to a giant asymmetrical network of relationships composed of individuals, each of whom has their own unique goals and desires, some but not all of which coincide at various times.

Politely notifying somebody that there's a bug reporting avenue they might not have been aware of is innocuous and often useful. Cussing somebody out for embarrassing you by blogging about how hard it is to understand your poor module documentation instead of emailing you privately just shows what a jerk you are. Don't kid yourself by pretending you are serving the "community." What you are really doing is emotionally injuring one node of the network that is your "community" in an attempt to serve your own vision of what everybody's interests should be.

Not everybody has to care about every journal entry. The author does, and that's enough. Not every journal entry has to find its way back to your version of the "interested parties." Sometimes a communicator feels better served by broadcasting instead of using point-to-point communication. If you pick up a broadcast and feel that it doesn't serve your needs as a listener, either quit listening, or take your own advice and politely contact the broadcaster if you think the two of you can work together to better meet each other's needs.

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