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[Python-Dev] Dealing with tone in an email

On Thu, 3 May 2018 at 12:29 Guido van Rossum <gvanrossum at gmail.com> wrote:


Yep. And that leads to burn-out. So while Ivan may have lucked out in
getting the attention of people who are helped him (and given the wrong
kind of positive reinforcement that this approach is reasonable), this can
lead to people quitting open source and not being available to help you
next time (e.g. notice how it drove Paul Moore over the edge to pull back
for a week or so and he may have been the expert you needed for packaging
or me for imports; IOW I would say Ivan was lucky this time and may not be
so lucky next time).


> 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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