Am 14.08.2018 um 09:18 schrieb Adam Wight:
Nobody is language policing, this is about preventing
abusive behavior and
creating an inviting environment where volunteers and staff don't have to
waste time with emotional processing of traumatic interactions.
[Note: this is in the abstract, touching on what I feel are the concerns that
several of the people involved in this thread have. I'm not commenting on the
case that triggered this discussion. That was merely the trigger, it's no longer
what this discussion is about.]
I'm asking myself whether this is about form, or about substance. What I mean
is: personal attacks are clearly not ok. Constructive criticism is ok. How about
aggressive yet objective criticism? And does it make a difference what
vocabulary that criticism uses?
1) "You clearly didn't read the style guide. Go do that before you waste more of
2) "Go read the fucking manual"!
3) "I can't believe this still hasn't been fixed! This buck has been open
two years, it's clearly a problem for the community! Someone apparently isn't
doing their job!"
4) "What the fuck? Still not fixed? What are you guys doing all day?"
These are all Not Nice (tm). They are all aggressive. None of them contain a
personal attack. Does it make a difference that two of them contain the word
"fuck"? Is expressing anger ok, or a reason for blocking?
I personally don't care much about being "nice", I don't care about
I care much about being objective and constructive. And I think it's ok to
express anger and disappointment, as long as no personal attacks are involved.
Making people feel safe and welcome should be our goal, but making people feel
uncomfortable is sometimes necessary if we want clear and direct communication.
I personally consider it an insult to my intelligence if people wrap criticism
in pretty language.
Emotionally processing criticism is something adults should be able to do as a
matter of course. If we don't make mistakes, we probably don't do anything
worthwhile. If nobody can tell us off for making mistakes, we are missing an
opportunity to learn from them. If criticism has to be formulated as
suggestions, we are loosing clarity, and open up to miscommunication.
So, is this about form? Or substance? Is it about how the recipient feels? About
how to formulate criticism?
In my mind, "don't say anything that could make anyone feel bad" cannot be
criterion. "I find your CR-1 offensive" is not something we can accommodate.
What, then, shall the criterion be to avoid personal attacks and to prevent
Principal Platform Engineer
Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e.V.