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[Python-Dev] Dealing with tone in an email


On Thu, May 3, 2018, 11:57 Brian Curtin <brian at python.org> wrote:

> On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 2:45 PM Ivan Pozdeev via Python-Dev <
> python-dev at python.org> wrote:
>> On 03.05.2018 21:31, Brett Cannon wrote:
>> On Thu, 3 May 2018 at 01:27 Paul Moore <p.f.moore at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On 3 May 2018 at 03:26, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
>>> >> Will all due respect, it's sometimes unpredictable what kind of
>>> wording
>>> >> Anglo-Saxons will take as an insult, as there's lot of obsequiosity
>>> >> there that doesn't exist in other cultures. To me, "not give a damn"
>>> >> reads like a familiar version of "not care about something", but
>>> >> apparently it can be offensive.
>>> >
>>> > I'm Anglo-Saxon[1], and honestly I believe that it is thin-skinned to
>>> > the point of ludicrousness to say that "no-one gives a damn" is an
>>> > insult. This isn't 1939 when Clark Gable's famous line "Frankly my
>>> dear,
>>> > I don't give a damn" was considered shocking. Its 2018 and to not give
>>> a
>>> > damn is a more forceful way of saying that people don't care, that they
>>> > are indifferent.
>>> Sigh. That's not what I was saying at all. I was trying to point out
>>> that Antoine's claim that people should ignore the rhetoric and that
>>> complaining about the attitude was unreasonable, was in itself unfair.
>>> People have a right to point out that a mail like the OP's was badly
>>> worded.
>>> > With respect to Paul, I literally cannot imagine why he thinks that
>>> > *anyone*, not even the tkinter maintainers or developers themselves,
>>> > ought to feel *offended* by Ivan's words.
>>> Personally, they didn't offend me. I don't pretend to know how others
>>> might take them. But they *did* annoy me. I'm frankly sick of people
>>> (not on this list) complaining that people who work on projects in
>>> their own time, free of charge, "don't care enough" or "are ignoring
>>> my requirement". We all do it, to an extent, and it's natural to get
>>> frustrated, but the onus is on the person asking for help to be polite
>>> and fair. And maybe this response was the one where I finally let that
>>> frustration show through. I may read less email for a week or two,
>>> just to get a break.
>> I had the same response as Paul: annoyed. And while Ivan thought he was
>> using "emotional language to drive the point home that it's not some
>> nitpick", it actually had the reverse effect on me and caused me not to
>> care because I don't need to invite annoyance into my life when putting in
>> my personal time into something.
>> No one is saying people can't be upset and if you are ever upset there's
>> something wrong; we're human beings after all. But those of us speaking up
>> about the tone are saying that you can also wait until you're not so upset
>> to write an email. This was never going to be resolved in an hour, so
>> waiting an hour until you're in a better place to write an email that
>> wasn't quite so inflammatory seems like a reasonable thing to ask.
>> Let me express things right from the horse's mouth.
>> The sole purpose of the tone was to not let the mesage be flat-out
>> ignored.
>> I had my neutral-toned, to-the-point messages to mailing lists flat-out
>> ignored one too many times for reasons that I can only guess about.
>> This time, the situation was too important to let that happen.
>> Whatever anyone may think of this, it worked. I got my message through,
>> and got the feedback on the topic that I needed to proceed in resolving the
>> problem that caused it.
>> I seriously doubt I could achieve that with a neutral-toned message just
>> stating the facts: dry facts would not show ppl how this could be important
>> ("ah, just another n00b struggling with Tkinter basics" or something).
> As I said on the other thread, that doesn't make it any more acceptable as
> over time it normalizes the behavior. If enough people want results?because
> yes, sometimes things break, it's not fun, and sometimes things don't
> receive response in the most timely fashion?they'll take that tone and
> sometimes get what they want. Eventually it'll work enough that it becomes
> more acceptable to behave that way, and eventually the people who are
> willing to accept that type of behavior will be gone.
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