[Wikimedia-l] Patience

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Wed May 15 20:07:37 UTC 2013

On 15 May 2013 00:31, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thank you Michael for the thoughtful post!

Yeah, agreed. I always look forward to reading anything Michael's
written. He doesn't write frequently, but when he does it is always

> Email, usenet, PhPBB, wikis and the like means there is a technological
> method of ensuring that responses can be written and shared instantly (and
> angrily) and, indeed, in heated threads you can quite happily exchange
> messages which provoke an emotional response quickly enough that your
> flight-or-fight reflex is being triggered repeatedly over a period of hours
> with every ping of your inbox.

Yeah, this is true. I used to deliberately build into my day walks, so
I'd have time to reflect on things before responding. But of course
that strategy broke when I got my first mail-enabled phone :-/

I do deliberately wait an hour or two, often, before replying to mail
on our lists because it's so easy to get triggered and reply in a way
that makes things worse not better. Sometimes I'll write a draft
response, reread it the next day and be kind of horrified by how badly
my reply misunderstands the original mail. (Like, I will feel attacked
where there really was no attack. I'll interpret something in the
worst possible way rather than the most reasonable way.) It's the
[[Michael Shermer]] thing: if we ignore the rustling in the grass and
it's the wind, no harm done. But if we ignore it and it's a tiger,
we're dead. So rationally, we behave as though everything is a tiger,
without necessarily realizing that reflexively doing that has a pretty
high price-tag.

Anyway, yes. Patience, maturity, self-control and generosity for the win :-)

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