[Python-Dev] Dealing with tone in an email (was: Drop/deprecate Tkinter?)

Brett Cannon brett at python.org
Thu May 3 14:31:03 EDT 2018

On Thu, 3 May 2018 at 01:27 Paul Moore <p.f.moore at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 3 May 2018 at 03:26, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
> >> Will all due respect, it's sometimes unpredictable what kind of wording
> >> Anglo-Saxons will take as an insult, as there's lot of obsequiosity
> >> there that doesn't exist in other cultures. To me, "not give a damn"
> >> reads like a familiar version of "not care about something", but
> >> apparently it can be offensive.
> >
> > I'm Anglo-Saxon[1], and honestly I believe that it is thin-skinned to
> > the point of ludicrousness to say that "no-one gives a damn" is an
> > insult. This isn't 1939 when Clark Gable's famous line "Frankly my dear,
> > I don't give a damn" was considered shocking. Its 2018 and to not give a
> > damn is a more forceful way of saying that people don't care, that they
> > are indifferent.
> Sigh. That's not what I was saying at all. I was trying to point out
> that Antoine's claim that people should ignore the rhetoric and that
> complaining about the attitude was unreasonable, was in itself unfair.
> People have a right to point out that a mail like the OP's was badly
> worded.
> > With respect to Paul, I literally cannot imagine why he thinks that
> > *anyone*, not even the tkinter maintainers or developers themselves,
> > ought to feel *offended* by Ivan's words.
> Personally, they didn't offend me. I don't pretend to know how others
> might take them. But they *did* annoy me. I'm frankly sick of people
> (not on this list) complaining that people who work on projects in
> their own time, free of charge, "don't care enough" or "are ignoring
> my requirement". We all do it, to an extent, and it's natural to get
> frustrated, but the onus is on the person asking for help to be polite
> and fair. And maybe this response was the one where I finally let that
> frustration show through. I may read less email for a week or two,
> just to get a break.

I had the same response as Paul: annoyed. And while Ivan thought he was
using "emotional language to drive the point home that it's not some
nitpick", it actually had the reverse effect on me and caused me not to
care because I don't need to invite annoyance into my life when putting in
my personal time into something.

No one is saying people can't be upset and if you are ever upset there's
something wrong; we're human beings after all. But those of us speaking up
about the tone are saying that you can also wait until you're not so upset
to write an email. This was never going to be resolved in an hour, so
waiting an hour until you're in a better place to write an email that
wasn't quite so inflammatory seems like a reasonable thing to ask.
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