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Thread: People need to do an attitude check here

  1. #1

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    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    People need to do an attitude check here

    I just read a thread about encryption - actually hashing.

    It was recently locked by Shaggy I believe after he indicated he removed some nasty posts.

    If you take a step back - a 30,000 foot view, so to speak - you will see that the thread is hostile. From the get go. Using "group-speak" terminology to brow beat those asking questions and those offering differing views.

    What the heck is wrong with you guys? The OP does NOT speak English! Why beat up terminology in that thread? Go off into chit-chat.

    So sad to see the last few people still hanging around beating up the few new people that show up!
    Last edited by szlamany; Dec 29th, 2016 at 01:20 PM.

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  2. #2
    You don't want to know.
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    I've complained about this in the past, before. It's usually the same small set of people. They insist that they're "perfectly polite" and "never hostile", but there's some really patronizing things pointed at hopeful newbies. And, in general, if I treated these members like they treat newbies, they'd throw a tantrum the likes of which would get the thread closed.

    More and more I'm a firm believer in, "If I don't like the question, I'm not answering." That goes for if I think OP is stupid, the question is stupid, the problem is stupid, etc. If I think the answer is clearly stated in the documentation, I link to the specific page I read and ask the OP to help me see what they don't get.

    Sometimes they can't explain that. Sometimes it's really clear they didn't even bother reading the article and would rather someone just paste working code for them. I don't have to show them up or insult them. I just walk away. There's people who actually need help, or I could be doing my real job in that time.

    I like to take that someone asked me a stupid question as an honor. They trust me to both have the answer and not make fun of them for asking. By asking at all, they're saying, "I'm a lesser programmer and need a greater programmer to answer me". I don't need to shame them to get more "points".

    I used to take glee in doing that, and acted as if somehow ridiculing newbies got me more cred. I've started realizing that was more than a little harmful. It made me think bad things and say worse things. It doesn't make me look good. I got into long conversations that ultimately made me angry and my time would've been spent more productively if I were doing just about anything else. I'm trying, very hard, to make the posts I leave behind be helpful in every way. Sometimes that means not making a post at all. It probably means I should keep my nose out of the general forum.
    Last edited by Sitten Spynne; Dec 29th, 2016 at 01:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    I just read the hashing thread for the first time and feel like I had a 30,000 foot view...so to speak.

    Threads like that are going to happen...and particularly on a site like this one where the skill set of the members is pretty high.

    I too have caught myself taking my frustrations out on unsuspecting posters...but they were frustrations I had before I came to a thread... I like to think I'm catching myself sooner and closing my browser until things cool down..

  4. #4
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    I don't think I've seen the thread in question so I can't comment on the specifics but I'd like to endorse this:-
    "If I don't like the question, I'm not answering."
    ... or as our Mums hopefully taught us all: "If you can't think of something nice to say, say nothing".

    We do get some people coming on here asking for a handout, whether it's for a homework assignment or on how to "skrape te U Toob fer Free Vids" and I appreciate how that can be annoying. But it's really only annoying if you allow it to be annoying. Ignore it and it's cost you nothing (although in the latter example you should probably report it to the mods ).

    On the other hand, I often see some members using the above as an excuse to beat up on new or inexperienced members to make themselves look better. That's pretty inexcusable in my opinion. People rarely ask dumb questions but they frequently ask questions that seem dumb to us with our extra experience and knowledge of the relevant terminology. And I'd rather they were on here asking those question than flapping around in the dark with no better tools than a woolly google search. We should be encouraging people to ask questions on forums, not discouraging them from doing so. (Apart from anything, if we push away all the easy questions, what am I going to answer. A mods got to get his rep gems somehow).

    The OP does NOT speak English!
    That bit really grates on me. Communication on forums is hard enough for those of us who have English as a primary language, let alone for everyone else. If VBF was a French only forum I might not have a career right now.




    Edit> Ah, just came across the thread in question. I think I'd disagree that it was "hostile from the get go" but I can see exactly what Szlamany means.

    My read was that a few members initially tried to help but tended to use quite technical speak and rapidly drifted into an off topic debate about the correct definitions of that technical speak. That left the OP with a mountain of irrelevant information to wade through and when they (unsurprisingly as a fairly inexperienced, non-English speaker) failed to identify the few key pieces of information that would have helped them, then it turned hostile.

    I think folks started out with the best of intentions but I'd have liked to see them take the same step back as Szlamany did and see things from the OP's point of view. The OP wasn't being lazy or ungrateful. Quite the opposite in fact, they held their grace under quite considerable pressure.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; Dec 31st, 2016 at 09:55 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    ((I need to think longer, and say less, than what happened here.))

    Long story short:

    OP, especially a new member, is always defensive. They don't tend to take any kind of shot fired at their intelligence well. OP, especially a new member, has no clue if 1,000 people have asked his question this month. So things that look "harmless" to us are very *****ly to OP.

    Responding with anything but an answer or a link results, with high probability, in offending the OP. And in terms of "veiled insults", I think the most appropriate thing to say is, "It doesn't matter how you dress it up, tuna casserole is still fish and noodles."

    I have a problem with causing problems. I see a lot of myself in some of the people I clash with the most, because I'm foolishly trying to help them as I feel I need help. I'm not good at it, and offend more often than not.
    Last edited by Sitten Spynne; Jan 2nd, 2017 at 11:23 AM.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    What is that word? I can't think of anything, good or bad, that makes real sense there.
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  7. #7
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    Yes. The clbuttic problem with a swear filter. This forum has a particularly confusing one that thinks "path too long exception" is a swear. First letter of each word is what got blanked out:

    People
    Reading
    Intentionally
    Create
    Knapsacks.

    I do believe this makes posting the lyrics of "Bare Necessities" impossible to post. Way too vulgar.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    Wow. Ok, I would not have guessed that word....which I guess I needn't say, since I already made that clear in my previous post. That's a pretty innocent word with a not so innocent word that makes up the contents.

    I did think that you were wrong about the lyrics for Bare Necessities, because I thought there might be some version of that other than the one from the Jungle Book, but I guess not. However, I'm impressed that you know those lyrics so well that you picked out the verse on picking a paw-paw that would be so problematic.
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  9. #9
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    I feel like what happens is people see the word "hostile" and instantly think "directly insulting or inflammatory". You don't have to call someone a jerk to be hostile.

    I'm treating "hostile" as "any behavior that might talk a new member out of staying". And the bar's pretty low, because it takes a lot of psychological effort to sign up for a forum, wait for potential moderation timeouts, and spend 10-15 minutes constructing a post. It's worse for programmers because we pride ourselves on problem-solving skill, and if you're asking a question you're laying on the table you've found a problem you can't solve. It's self-deprecating.

    So while forms of, "I think you could've found the answer yourself, with more effort" aren't offensive in the sense that we consider them an attack, they're definitely making the statement, "You should feel ashamed." That's not a good way to seem inviting to new members.

    It's low-grade enough it's hard to discipline. This isn't the playground bully punching new members in the face. This is the playground bully making eye contact, slammming his fist into his palm, and whispering "later" before holding the door open for the teacher. New members are the classroom nerd, the downtrodden underdog with no one to speak up for them. The teachers always know, but the bully always knows exactly what the rules say and is skilled at staying just on the safe side of the line. A strong opposition to the bully can put a stop to it, but no one takes up for the class nerd because he doesn't have any friends. Sound familiar?

    So welcome to this thread. Berating new members for not having spent an hour poring over FAQ sections and internet tutorials before making a post is bad, and people who do it are jerks. Calling these newbies "snowflakes" or "too sensitive" is just another way to say, "I like to kick puppies, deal." "Deal" is meant to imply, "Shut up or I'll turn my attention to you." Bring it. You're a bully who likes to insult people, and you don't belong among professionals. If I see it, I'm calling it out.

  10. #10

    Thread Starter
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    The problem with the person and the thread I brought up here in the first place is that I believe she is no longer excited about working on her project - thinking of dropping the project all together.

    She was doing something to help her home office - she is not a programmer.

    I know that each success I have in every line of code still makes me smile inside - as silly as that might sound to some people.

    When I've mentored high school students here in my office I always found great joy in watching them have those aha! moments. Those satisfying moments when all that head-against-wall ends up being clear path to success.

    Lift people up - it's what we should all be doing!!!

    *** Read the sticky in the DB forum about how to get your question answered quickly!! ***

    Please remember to rate posts! Rate any post you find helpful - even in old threads! Use the link to the left - "Rate this Post".

    Some Informative Links:
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  11. #11
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    +1 to both of the above and thank you both for saying it.

    I get that it's frustrating when people come on here asking for a hand out but the correct response is simply to not help them or, if you've already given some help before you realise, just stop helping them. The correct response is not to berate them. To quote Mad Max: "just walk away".

    Importantly, though, I don't think this was a case of anyone asking for a free ride. It was a case of a member being somewhat out of their depth (aren't we all? isn't that why we're on a forum asking questions in the first place?) and asking for some help and to be pointed in the right direction. Communication and syntax might have been a problem but their willingness to put in effort was not and to characterise them as such was inaccurate and unfair. They were not wrong feel insulted by that characterisation.

    Lift people up - it's what we should all be doing!!!
    ^That
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

    Hadoop actually sounds more like the way they greet each other in Yorkshire - Inferrd

  12. #12
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    Re: People need to do an attitude check here

    Indeed when you are a seasoned programmer stuck on, maybe, something trivial it can be very hard to deal with the responses you can get.
    And if you are new into programming/scripting or whatever they call it themselves it can be even worse :-/
    Some of our fellow forum members tend to be a little paternalizing, which even get worse if some powerposters don't agree with each other.

    I'm not a native English speaker too, so I tend to keep my responses as short as possible.
    It's very hard to write down a long explanation or a tutorial because my active vocabulary is not that big.
    So getting in depth or elaborating on some subjects in a discussion can become quite frustrating.
    Your mind is thinking fast, but you have to write it down, in a foreign language...

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