Brandon's personal style (was)

Cliff Wells clifford.wells at
Tue Aug 19 12:58:16 CEST 2003

On Tue, 2003-08-19 at 02:03, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
> Cliff Wells wrote:
> > To try to force those battles is about as reliable an indicator
> > reliable indicator of Nigerian spam.  It should come as no surprise to
> > you that people mistake your posts as trolling.  They may be
> > incorrect, but it is certainly a reasonable assumption.
> I hate to use an Eep-ism, but it's time for people to evolve.  "You sound
> like a troll" is not that reasonable an assumption.  Outside of politics
> newsgroups, I've almost never seen actual trolls.  

I've seen several, mostly on the Linux lists, but hasn't been
immune (lumberjack, you there?).

> I've seen plenty of
> people insulting each other, totally unable to see the other person's point
> of view.  I've seen countless instances of Troll Hunting all over Usenet
> that had nothing to do with me.  In fact, it's clearly a popular newsgroup
> sport!  People are intellectually lazy, they don't have an ironclad
> criterion for what is or isn't a troll.  A troll is anything they don't
> like.  They don't use imagination or exercise benefit of the doubt when
> controversial posts appear.  They just enjoy naming things within a familiar
> pigeonholeing system.  It comforts them.  They are so focused on controlling
> group discourse, and not letting "the wrong kind of conversation" happen,
> that they don't put much thought into what was said in the first place.

Have you ever considered that perhaps it is your own expectation of a
"Troll Hunt" that makes you see such a thing when there is at least a
remote chance you're looking for something that isn't there?  In my two
years on I've never seen any such thing nor heard anyone else
complain of such until now.  If you give up the fantasy that people are
out to get you then perhaps you might see how your own actions
precipitated today's events.  It's certainly true that people were quick
to label your thread on Python vs. Ruby as a troll.  However I also
expect much of that was due the lingering effects of your prior thread
on Python vs C#.

> > Were you known to be a contributor, either with code or
> > knowledge, your forays into time-wasting speculation would most likely
> > be much better received.  As it is the only "contribution" you've made
> > is a generous use of other people's time and bandwidth.
> As I see it, my detractors are enginerds with no appreciation for or skill
> at marketing. 

Quite probably true.  Also most of them are probably proud of it.  This
isn't a marketing group, it's a programming language discussion group. 
I'd venture that with few exceptions most people here probably despise
marketing or at best find it irrelevant.  That is why there is a
separate ng for discussion of such things.  Most people here don't want
to hear about it, even in the sense that it relates to Python.

>  Nor, probably, much awareness of Python marketing efforts.

But the ones that do have hopefully found the appropriate forum.

> That's how I figure you can (1) blithely ignore my analysis of Reality On
> The Ground, (2) merrily claim I'm a do-nothing.  I've suggested you look at
> the marketing-python archives several times, it's a comment I've peppered
> here and there.  Have you?

I browsed it and in fact considered responding to some of your claims
there, which I found to be baseless (or at least misguided), but as I am
one of the people who find marketing boring I didn't bother.

> > The fact that you get "kills" in every ng you spend time in probably
> > says more about you than other people.
> Actually, it says more about where I am in life.  There was a time when I
> never killfiled anybody.  If I was rude, and we got into fights, we'd just
> keep fighting.  Often we'd kiss and make up.  But sometimes, I'd get an
> intractable, unforgiving, obsessive compulsive fixated asshole on my ass for
> years.  It drove me out of* for a time, the
> hierarchy I created.  I got fed up with being told that I was a troll,
> seeing as how I'd been Newsgroup Proponent.  What the hell is that, the
> ultimate trolling?  I've never trolled in my life.  Abrasive, argumentative,
> violent, sure.  Trolling, never.

Fair enough.  But would you find it odd if you were to slip on over to and mention that you think affirmative action was a
mistake and people got riled up?  That some of them would label you
racist?  Of course not.  In fact, if that were your position, you would
expect such a response and preemptively address that response before the
flamewar began.  You should try the same thing with less volatile
topics.  Instead of assuming that your point of view is obvious (it
isn't) or that people have read your posts in other groups (they
haven't), simply provide a supporting argument for such remarks.  Trust
me, it goes a long way.

> Anyways, a few years later I came back.  I've been summarily killfiling
> people ever since.  It does wonders for my long-term interaction with people
> and groups.  I don't have to deal with the people I can't work with.

That actually doesn't sound confrontational.  In fact, IIWAP, I'd
probably label it passive aggressive.

> > Personally I've never
> > killfiled anyone (not even the ruebot[!]) and to my knowledge, I've
> > yet to be
> > killfiled (although at times I'm a bit surprised at that, today being
> > one of those times).
> It's really very simple.  Your behavior is not the same as other people's
> behavior.  That's why we're still talking.
> > Why then, are you surprised when people choose to fight with you?
> Why do you say I'm surprised?  This is all very predictable to me.  Seen at
> this moment in time, you are a static type within this system.  You just
> happen to be a benevolent, workable type.  You are the "Well, are you going
> to killfile *me* too?" type.  

I'm just the type who finds the entire process rather boring.  I enjoy a
good argument (heated or otherwise) a bit more than the next guy. 
However, I find irrational behavior a big yawn.  I see no point in
investing a lot of work trying to make someone look foolish who is going
to do the job on his own anyway.  I respect people who make their
knowledge and work available to others without belittling them.  I
respect people who are able to articulate their arguments whether I
agree with them or not.  In general, I'm willing to give people the
benefit of doubt which is why I've never killfiled anyone.

> The kind of person who doesn't behave in a way
> that I would killfile, and who doesn't quite understand how his behavior is
> different from the people I do killfile.  But, who probably will understand
> by the time I get done explaining it.

Actually, what surprises me is that several of the people you killfiled
are some of the more reasonable people on the list.  I'm a little
concerned that I wasn't among them <wink>

> Have you seen Enter The Matrix?  The scene with The Architect is very
> profound.  The Matrix demands Neo.  Someone else observed, this stuff is all
> about young males.  That's no accident, it's a feature of our genetics.  Our
> genetics demand certain confrontations at a certain age.  In our lives, we
> obey certain Grand Strategies, even if we are sapient and exercising choice
> over the details.
> > Taking your statements together
> > would seem to indicate that a fight is what you want.
> That's sorta true.  This is really what I call a "posting binge," to avoid
> other things I don't want to be doing. 

So for entertainment value you stir up groups where people are trying to
help others get their jobs done?  That might be a bit of a cheap shot,
as I doubt you consciously intended to initiate a wild flamewar, but
seriously, your binge took valuable time from people who others depend
on.  When I post a question to, it's usually because I've got
something I need done now and don't have a ton of time to tinker around
or RTFM.

>  I'm an intellectually violent
> person, I like a good debating scrap.  But I've got Rules Of Engagement
> about what I think is appropriate, intellectually defensible debate.
> "You're a troll!" instead of hearing someone else's opinion ain't it.

Ah, you've done the same, albeit in a different fashion.  "You're a
troll" certainly doesn't constitute a grand argument.  But your approach
is to selectively respond to arguments and sprinkle in the odd flamebait
(or, as you would label them: things people don't want to hear).  This
is why I had you pegged (momentarily) as a clever troll.  It appeared as
if you were using just enough reasonable debate to disguise the
unreasonable assertion.

>   Those
> people, I want to punish.  It's irrational, because intellectually I know I
> can't actually change them.  Rationally, I can killfile them.  Possibly, I
> can stimulate cumulative change in the system, but I am uncertain of it.  In
> 10 years maybe I will have let it go.

This sounds good on the surface, and I can certainly understand phases
in one's life.  Nevertheless, acknowledging a shortcoming doesn't excuse
it (please don't repeat that to my girlfriend, I don't want it used
against me later <wink>).  Besides, you are still assuming that it is
others who need to change.  I can assure you that even were that so, it
is an exercise in futility.  Until you can cease to react to others, it
is somewhat hypocritical to explain that they shouldn't react to you.

> For instance, I'm reasonably sure I can stimulate minor change in your own
> static type.  You understand enough of the dimensions already that you're
> capable of absorbing more of them.  But you'll have probably gotten there on
> your own soon anyways, so am I really needed as a stimulus?

That would assume that 1) I desire such change, and 2) that such change
would be desirable.  

> Actually, I suspect I'm not for your benefit, if I am for anyone's benefit.
> I suspect it is for someone who is lurking.  Maybe someone who hasn't formed
> much of a world view yet.  Mine, at any rate, is in my .sig.

Well, certainly there is some benefit for someone, but I'm less than
certain that the lesson is necessarily what you would expect.


When I die, don't bury me alone
         -These Immortal Souls

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