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Yet Another Appeal for Civility

by perldigious (Priest)
on Mar 10, 2017 at 15:45 UTC ( #1184177=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Can't we all just get along?

Apparently not, but can't we at least all make a more concerted effort? I've always seen the monastery as pretty good at this, especially relatively speaking in regard to the internet in general, but that doesn't mean it can't be better. Note my intention isn't to call out any specific monk here, the linked example is just that, an example of what I mean. Tone matters... a lot. Comments shouldn't be discouraged, that's not what I'm saying, but a comment with the exact same message and a different tone can be changed from a perceived personal attack to a helpful suggestion. That's inherently more productive. My favorite node put it far more clearly, succinctly, elegantly, and humorously than I ever could.

I'm quick to make a joke, probably because I'm one of those psychologically damaged people who uses humor as a defense mechanism and attempted means of validation to the group... guilty. :-) But even when I'm inclined to do so, I always try to stop and ask myself if I'm just going to end up being this guy. You'll all have to take my word for it when I say I decide not to post a potentially offending quip far more often than I decide to post one. That's especially true if I feel someone is going to take it as a personal attack, though I admit I'm far from perfect in my execution. Oh great Saint Erudil give me strength and guidance.

This is just food for thought, and yet another such post for appeal to civility to be read and quickly forgotten. Remember, "What should it profit a man, if he should win a flame war, yet lose his cool?" :-)

UPDATE: TL;DR - An overly idealistic perldigious sings for peace in to the microphone. Some more experienced and realistic Monks quietly pull him aside and remind him that you can't expect all people to play nice. Oh, and please forgive me if I insist on futilely preaching to mental patients, criminals, terrorists, or even just the wind every now and then if it makes me feel better. :-)

Just another Perl hooker - And definitely not the kind with any $class whatsoever.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Yet Another Appeal for Civility
by shmem (Chancellor) on Mar 10, 2017 at 19:56 UTC
    Can't we all just get along?

    Of course we can, and we do.

    Apparently not, but can't we at least all make a more concerted effort?

    Well, that is just you (probably others also) - but all of us are making a concerted effort, as much as any one can afford. This site survived embarassing threads like the one which prompted AbigailII to depart, and many vitriolic posts before and after that.

    This site is packed with knowledge, with people that are seeking to learn, and people willing to teach (too many to provide a consistent link for them). The best answers are teaching by example in a suitable way. Civility is secondary, but it is also taught by example.

    I am glad that I don't have to answer ervery question. I am glad my fellow monks do that for me, and what is more, they mostly already did whenever I click on a SoPW. Same goes for civility. If I have something to contribute, I do; else I move on.

    Having said that - all civility is your own. It is something that can be displayed, offered, shared - and thus, may be tought by example. But it isn't something that can be preached, instigated or demanded, by the same way you cannot preach, instigate or demand expertise in programming perl. It happens, or it doesn't.

    perl -le'print map{pack c,($-++?1:13)+ord}split//,ESEL'
      ++shmem and shmem++ (even if the behaviour is undefined..)

      I'd add that the best behaviour is what I do with my relatives: if something good come from them I ear, if something bad I ignore. Non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa

      The worst it happened in that thread is that the OP received some decent answer + some hours of polemics.

      When I saw the question I read some answers, then I started seeing polimic ones: I thought "it is possible no one has suggested to glob?". I've done CTRL-F glob ENTER and when 0 occurences appeared I composed my answer. I'm glad to help here at PM, more: I'm proud if I can help someone in Perl. I'm here to learn, to have fun and to offer my limited knoweledge if someone need it.

      Severity with myself, indulgence for others. Do your best, skip the rest.

      And take it easy!


      There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
      Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.

        ++Discipulus for teaching me, a native English speaker, a new and useful word with polemics. That's exactly the word I was looking for, thanks.

        Just another Perl hooker - And definitely not the kind with any $class whatsoever.

      Abigail-II nodes are the very best that PM has to offer. It was not until seeing that thread a couple years back, that I knew PM culture to be flawed. (still awesome though) A shame. Survival is not the function of an instant, but over time. Cobol survives. Kind of ironic actually that the call to civility, over and above being technically correct, seems to be what prompted Abigail-II (the account at least) to leave.

      Reminds me of the book Atlas Shrugged when John Galt leaves. The premise of the book is that the people of ability leave the world to others who prefer civility over ability. In short order the non-producers turn to torture to make them come back. Not real though, civility is still good

      my favorite: Many children, but never more than a fixed number at once. freaking beautiful still. Only 37 rep; should be a million.

      But it isn't something that can be preached, instigated or demanded, by the same way you cannot preach, instigate or demand expertise in programming perl. It happens, or it doesn't.

      I wouldn't say it just happens.. but when people are afraid to ask a question it doesn't. And when the very best programmers get castigated and stop generously donating their time and energy, it doesn't happen either.

        Some of the best people I've known were brilliant, civil and giving. These traits are not mutually exclusive.

        $PM = "Perl Monk's";
        $MCF = "Most Clueless Friar Abbot Bishop Pontiff Deacon Curate";
        $nysus = $PM . ' ' . $MCF;
        Click here if you love Perl Monks

Re: Yet Another Appeal for Civility
by LanX (Cardinal) on Mar 11, 2017 at 05:37 UTC
    While I like your intention, you are suffering from a conceptual problem

    This board is open to many you never meet or even avoid in real life.

    So don't expect to be able to address your appeal to the grownups you are used to.

    It's like simultaneously pledging for civility in a kindergarten, a mental asylum, a jail house and the headquarter of Isis. į

    (Update: And with such an audience we are still doing surprisingly well on PM!!!)

    On a meta perspective nowadays we are even suffering from the reverse effect, that Web behavior is leaking into our reality and destroying civility.

    See for instance the "commander in tweet" and the dynamics of "alternative facts".

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
    Je suis Charlie!


    į) among others of course

      This board is open to many you never meet or even avoid in real life.

      ÖHmmmÖ News to me. :P

        3 things hard to avoid when visiting a YAPC in Florida

        • alligators
        • noseeums
        • local monks

        Memories ... now it's itching again ...

        Cheers Rolf
        (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
        Je suis Charlie!

      how does your node get more rep than me by calling pm a terrorist and comparing the members to five year olds. I really want to know.


        > I really want to know.

        I'm popular among 5 year old terrorists...

        Cheers Rolf
        (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
        Je suis Charlie!

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Re: Yet Another Appeal for Civility
by trippledubs (Deacon) on Mar 10, 2017 at 16:46 UTC

    Harmony is not a value on its own in my mind. A group of robbers might act in harmony, no reason to get along with them. PM is not full of robbers, but there are bad actors here according to the values which I think most hold. I find Anonymous Monk particularly annoying in that a philosopher implicitly goes on trial with the philosophy that they express. AM avoids this context entirely.

    But I also have been down voting a lot lately and hear the call.

    sub is_currently_bad_actor { return ( $best_nodes("score") - abs($worst_nodes("score")) > 0 ) }
      the more downvotes you give me the less upvotes you give others
        The FEWER upvotes you give others.
        That is a really valid point. Thank you.
Re: Yet Another Appeal for Civility
by GotToBTru (Prior) on Mar 13, 2017 at 14:31 UTC

    As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17). Metal workers will tell you that when iron sharpens iron, sparks fly. There is a context behind that, that of friendship, and probably also some Hebrew culture with a history of pretty, ah, lively discussions, so it might not apply as much to this situation as I would like. But it's a favorite verse of mine.

    Peace and civility cannot exist unilaterally; it only takes one to start a war. Rather than suggest that others behave themselves, perhaps we should encourage the developing of a thicker skin, or a more discriminating filter in whose communications we let affect us. One of our wisest here has "examine what is said, not who speaks" in his signature, but I've always found that to be poor advice, at least when I know the speaker. I need to guard against prejudice, but there are people here whose history very sharply informs how seriously I take what they say, mostly to the positive.

    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NASB)

Re: Yet Another Appeal for Civility
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Mar 14, 2017 at 17:39 UTC

    You say itís idealism. There is nowhere in evidence proof that everyone getting along is an ideal. Iíve said a dozen times in a dozen ways, Iíd rather be the target of f-bombs accompanied with useful code that helps me pay my bills than be the happy acquaintance of a genial hacker who contributes nothing at any time to my work. One is difficult but rewarding. The other is easy but meaningless.

    Iím not here to make friends; at all. The strange part about that is, because of it, I have made a handful of friends here. Monks I like quite a lot and would gladly, oh, I donít know, say, host at my home or support in a time of need.

    This stuff, to me, is thought-police, social-cop, lowest-common-denominator, safe-space nonsense and in North America itís reached a critical mass that backfired in delicious, if double-sided, schadenfreude in November. The only times Iím actively rude on this site is when Iím told I should be disallowed the right and even the judgement of what is or isnít appropriate social interaction.

    Trolls, anti-social folks, donít give a rodentís rectum about this sort of appeal. So itís either preaching to the choir or stirring the normally well-settled feces. Consider that there are plenty of helpful, friendly, forgiving, patient monks who might find either a little irksome and that the moment the troll starts a flame war, the trollís already won.

      I don't necessarily disagree with what you said, but I feel the need to clarify on two points you made because I believe they are misinterpretations of what I was trying to communicate.

      You say itís idealism.

      I think you are taking my statement too literally, the concepts of idealism and peace tend to go together, so my using the word "idealistic" in that context is more a figure of speech than me saying, "my way is the ideal way," which I would consider an arrogant and ignorant statement from anyone who made such an absolute claim since the world is rarely so easily divided between good and bad in such a binary manner. Oddly enough, in the real world, realism often ends up being more ideal than idealism, I fully concede that and it would agree with your point about productivity over civility. Since you seem to just be saying the former is more important than the latter I agree, but I also believe that civility can also lead to greater productivity and a lack thereof to less productivity, it depends on the specific situation. For example, a team of people that gets along well together in a civil manner can be far more productive than a team of people who are all assholes to each other and therefore don't work well together, but of course if one team member is constantly being detrimental to the group than it may be productive for civility toward that person to evaporate quickly. In modern corporate life at least stop inviting them to meetings or ever soliciting their opinion. :-)

      This stuff, to me, is thought-police, social-cop, lowest-common-denominator, safe-space nonsense...

      I'm suggesting nothing of the kind. There is a world of difference between an individual asking another individual or individuals to, "please ask yourself if you're being a dick, and if so, reconsider," and that same first individual asking an authority (or forming their own social pseudo-authority with others) to force the second individual or individuals to, "not be a dick as we decide to define being a dick or else face our extralegal authoritarian consequences."

      There is a good business case, productivity wise, for why so many companies invest so much money in things like Dale Carnegie Courses for their employees. I can't force anyone to stop being a dick, nor would I want to. What I can do is politely ask them, and suggest that it may very well be in their own best interest. People are far less apt to help someone out they don't like, or are at the very least likely to scale back the quality of help they provide, and all people deep down being irrational emotional creatures can decide they don't like or even hate someone for silly trivial reasons.

      But don't just take my word for it, hire perldigious for one of his motivational speaking/life coaching/executive getaway trainings today and he will prove it! There will be a definite impact on your bottom line, I can guarantee that based on my fee alone!
      *travel expenses not included, non-accredited, technically tax deductible as long as you aren't audited, not available in New York, California, Texas, or Utah due to outstanding warrants, click that last link at your own peril because yes this is totally me up to my usual antics of being unable to resist making a joke.

      Just another Perl hooker - And definitely not the kind with any $class whatsoever.

        My problem there is you didnít ask an individual. You asked all of us. If someone steals something at work and the whole office gets lectured about stealing, Iím going to be injured that my integrity was called into question and the thief is going to make a note to be more careful. With the gaggle of anonymonks, there is not even a need to be more careful.

        You are obviously clear-headed with worthy goals on this issue. I just wanted you to know it raises my, at least, hackles and I do not believe this particular issue can be improved with this kind of approach. Being fair, boostering for Perl without trash talking Python, answering rude or stupid questions nicely with gentle corrections, etcÖ being the change you want to see, this works. Trolls enjoy being trolls for its own sake. Trying to talk them out of it is nothing but a gilded invitation to dig in and party.

        Update: removed errant comma.

Re: Yet Another Appeal for Civility
by nysus (Parson) on Mar 12, 2017 at 01:19 UTC

    Good post and a reminder we should all do what we can to make our own small corners of the world a slightly better place. In a competitive, self-esteem bruising environment, being helpful is not always our first instinct. We must always strive to overcome our base impulses.

    $PM = "Perl Monk's";
    $MCF = "Most Clueless Friar Abbot Bishop Pontiff Deacon Curate";
    $nysus = $PM . ' ' . $MCF;
    Click here if you love Perl Monks

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