[Python-Dev] Dealing with tone in an email

Ivan Pozdeev vano at mail.mipt.ru
Thu May 3 14:45:34 EDT 2018

On 03.05.2018 21:31, Brett Cannon wrote:
> On Thu, 3 May 2018 at 01:27 Paul Moore <p.f.moore at gmail.com 
> <mailto:p.f.moore at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     On 3 May 2018 at 03:26, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info
>     <mailto: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.
Let me express things right from the horse's mouth.

The sole purpose of the tone was to not let the mesage be flat-out ignored.
I had my neutral-toned, to-the-point messages to mailing lists flat-out 
ignored one too many times for reasons that I can only guess about.
This time, the situation was too important to let that happen.

Whatever anyone may think of this, it worked. I got my message through, 
and got the feedback on the topic that I needed to proceed in resolving 
the problem that caused it.
I seriously doubt I could achieve that with a neutral-toned message just 
stating the facts: dry facts would not show ppl how this could be 
important ("ah, just another n00b struggling with Tkinter basics" or 
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