Re^5: How do janitors get fired? (smug)by tye (Sage)
|on Jan 11, 2007 at 06:09 UTC||Need Help??|
But I have seen such decisions and what comes off as a certain accompanying smugness
I looked up "smug" to see if my understanding of the word was flawed. I use that word to mean "great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one's situation". I certainly don't feel smug with regard to site administration. The site is poorly administered and, at least in some respects, barely runs. My involvement is minimal and usually not satisfying nor something I am proud of or smug about.
But the dictionary also listed "self-righteously complacent", which isn't a meaning I've personally used "smug" for. This leads to "piously sure of one's own righteousness; moralistic", which isn't something I feel. However, I have certainly become "complacent", at least as I would use the word (which doesn't appear to agree with the dictionary's definition of "contented" or "self-satisfied"). So I guess I am more accurately "resigned". I am resigned but not because I am self-satisfied or content. And that feels "complacent" to me, which isn't a word I previously associated with being happy about the situation (which both "self-satisfied" and "contented" imply to me).1
I do what I can when I can. There are quite a few other gods, so if I do something it is usually at least partly because none of the other gods did it (or whatever other cabal members have the required authority for that particular action). I got plenty of criticism for doing what I could when I could for PerlMonks long ago. I gave up beating myself up. I listen to the criticism and try to learn from it but I've mostly given up feeling bad about trying to do something and it not being appreciated by everyone. If I see suggestions that I think would improve things after my action (aka "mistake"), then I'm likely to follow them.
And we have all learned that nearly any action isn't going to be to everyone's liking so we mostly do things in wishy washy ways (adding yet another user setting to let people keep every trivial aspect of the interface if they choose to).
I try to express myself, but I am resigned that I will be misunderstood. If I see a way to correct a misunderstanding, than I am likely to attempt it. I have previously gone to considerable lengths to try to prevent being misunderstood and found no more success than when I went to my more typical short lengths to express myself. So I'm resigned to expressing myself somewhat bluntly, somewhat tersely, sometimes cryptically (sometimes by accident, sometimes intentionally).
I'm resigned that I will be seen as arrogant by many. Since I have an administrative role here with pretty much no associated authority (I'm just some guy that some other guy gave the keys to), I'm resigned that I will be seen as capricious and arbitrary and worse. Pleading to the contrary won't change that. I try to be patient when it comes to condemning actions, including my own. And many actions can't practically be undone so I am more concerned with future actions than regret or "what if" once the bell has been wrung [sic], which almost always ends up having at least some negative aspects.
So I'm not surprised that my resignation can come across as being arrogant, self-righteous, or capricious. I'm a bit surprised that it went as far as "smug". But inferring emotion from text-only communications is a particularly perilous activity.
I try not to be arbitrary or capricious. I rarely try to be "final". This was a rare exception where I felt "final" was warranted. I try to take input, especially from the other gods and those who I see as involved in site policy and do that before taking action.
As for not being interested in cabal membership, I say "good for you". More people should realize that cabal membership is mostly a thankless, frustrating experience, including those who grant such membership.
1 I was somewhat amused to see "See synonyms at 'patience'" when I looked up "resigned". Also note that I feel that I am resigned not that I have resigned, though this thread makes me feel that several people wish for the latter.