Thursday, 21 March 2013

A Starting Point

So, to ease myself back into writing, I'm going to cheat, and start by repeating some very good advice I heard recently.

This is by Rich Hickey, the inventor of Clojure, and I think it's a near-perfect statement of how I would like mailing list interactions to work (& how I aspire to behave myself).

Thanks Rich - over to you:

"This is just a reminder. While in general our communication here is very good, occasionally it goes astray.

These mailing lists are run by, and for, people who make things. Most messages should have one of these forms:

I made something - here is my contribution
I am trying to use the thing someone made and am having trouble, please help.
I can help you with that thing someone made.
I am trying to make something and am having trouble, please help.
I can help you make something.

They are not the place for opinion pieces and diatribes.

They are not the place for advocacy about what 'ought' to be made. If you think something ought to be made, then make it. Otherwise, respect others peoples' right to choose what they do with their time.

Occasionally, there may be disagreements about how something has been, or will be, made. These disagreements should take the form of technical arguments. To make a technical argument that gets (and gives!) respect:

Keep it short
Stick to the facts
Use logic
Leave people out of it
Avoid rhetorical devices:
        Superfluous or opinion-laden adjectives
        Claims to speak for the community, or that everyone agrees with you.
        Threats of what will happen unless things go your way
        Any flavor of 'the sky is falling'

If you are not the one making something, you should restrict your input to very short technical arguments supporting your position. If someone has already made your point, just +1 it.

Please keep your posts short.

Ignoring these guidelines fails to respect the time and effort of people who make things, which you should care about if you intend to be one.



If you've read down this far, please leave me a comment with a link to other good advice you've heard recently.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I would suggest one more key feature for technical discussions, namely, Provide Insight! For if there are no Aha moments, discussions seem pointless.