[Inpycon] Flames [OT]

Dhananjay Nene dhananjay.nene at gmail.com
Tue Feb 15 16:05:17 CET 2011

On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM, Noufal Ibrahim <noufal at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 15 2011, Anand Balachandran Pillai wrote:
> [...]
>> Personally, I don't mind such posts as long as the language
>> is still civil. One can attack another person quite viciously
>> in content, but still keep the tone below 95 degrees fahrenheit.
> [...]
> Sometimes, they're quite eloquent (although *very* scathing).
> Here's an example from the master himself.
> http://groups.google.com/group/comp.emacs/msg/097865417bad4e37

For any spectator, being able to watch personal attacks leads to an
immediate urge for three things. A couch, some popcorn/pretzels and
some coke/beer. I think personal attacks make for very interesting
reading. I've indulged in them a handful of times with a sense of
adrenalin rush immediately after and some deep consternation the
morning after. In many cases personal attacks can be viewed as a work
of art. Even Erik Naggum's page on wikipedia begins the following way
- notice the very second line.

Erik Naggum (June 13, 1965 – June 17, 2009) was a computer programmer
widely recognized for his work, particularly in the fields of SGML,
Emacs and Lisp. Since the early 1990s he was also a remarkably
provoking participant on various Usenet discussion groups.[1]

Naggum made significant contributions to RFC 1123,[2] which defines
and discusses the requirements for Internet host software, and RFC
2049,[3] which defines electronic information transfer of various
binary formats through e-mail.

Are they art and do they demonstrate talent. In some cases, certainly
so. The question is are they useful art and are they a form of
productively deployed talent. I'm afraid this page
http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/problem/pattacks.htm sums it up
rather well.

Inflammatory statements and personal attacks are two of the most
common causes of conflict escalation. When people attack other people
verbally, those attacked are likely to get especially defensive or
angry--much more than they would have had their opponent(s) kept their
statements impersonal and focused on the problem. For example, when
people are told they, personally, are at fault for a particular
situation, or that they are evil or stupid for believing something or
advocating a particular action, the person attacked is likely to
respond in a very negative way. They are much more likely to dig in
their heels and stand firm, refusing to listen to the other side's
arguments or consider making compromises or concessions. They will
just reject the other side as unreasonable, and ignore anything they
have to say.

When situations are exaggerated or emotional, negative statements are
made about the opponent for the purpose of arousing support for one's
own cause, the result is likely to increase support for both sides.
Those making the inflammatory statements will not only increase
support for their own side; they are also likely to increase their
opponent's support as well, as people who realize that the statements
are an unfair exaggeration will side with the party being accused,
rather than the accuser. The result will not be a change in the
relative support of one's own group (or in one's power relative to the
other side), but rather an overall escalation of the conflict, which
will make it more difficult for both sides to get what they need.

In summary - personal attacks even if interesting and exciting,
largely deter from getting work done. Especially if there is some
common objective to be achieved.


More information about the Inpycon mailing list