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Re: [Groff] Would I dare to post here?

From: Zvezdan Petkovic
Subject: Re: [Groff] Would I dare to post here?
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 18:46:43 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.4.2i

On Sun, Oct 16, 2005 at 05:15:59PM +1000, Miklos Somogyi wrote:
> Soon I'll need groff so I subscribed to this mailing list. I've read 
> many interesting and useful things here
> but after the latest posts I am not sure that I would dare to ask a 
> question at address@hidden

Let me try to explain my "incivility", please.
The thread in question is much longer than my single post,
and if you read it all you will see that the original poster has claimed
repeatedly that the answers he has received do not work because he has

Since I'm using the same system every day, I've sent him a two line
solution to his problem.  The posts have continued in a thread even
after that.
When I've seen what he has actually done, I replied the way I did.

Let's now consider the "incivility" of my answer.

> Things like these:
>     "Now, why on earth would you do this????"
>     "Why are you messing up with the carefully tuned system files."
>     "But I also didn't mess up anything ..."
>     "People have already told you..."
>     "... as I told you before..."
>     "I always thought OpenBSD users know better than this."

This is the tone that OpenBSD user will find on OpenBSD lists all the
time when they do something extremely wrong.
(And overwriting system files is considered extremely wrong.)
In that regard I do not feel "uncivil" at all.
I sincerely wondered why would one do something like that,
and the _fact_ is that he was repeatedly told the same things.

However, I grant you that this is a groff mailing list and I do
sincerely apologise if my tone has offended anybody.

But, please grant me the right to be tired by the fact that somebody
can't apply simple instructions and wastes _my_ time.

Did you notice how in real life (work environment) people tend to quite
rudely dismiss you if they have something better to do than talk with
you at the moment?

> put you on a pedestal (that you may richly deserve), but they also make 
> the recipient's face red.

And you are not putting yourself on a pedestal of higher morality by
scolding me?

> He is not likely to come back for another serving, you have just turned 
> a friend into an enemy.

I don't think so.
If he really uses groff, he'll come back.

> You may be an expert in all thing Unix, but a "user" is most likely to 
> operate the beast to accomplish a task other than Unix/groff what have
> you.

In this case he wanted to accomplish the task of using groff on a
variant of Unix.  So your point is not right here.

> And in many other respect he/she may know orders of magnitude more
> than you do.

Probably about chemistry and agriculture.
Never got time to learn too much about those. :-)
Which has nothing to do with groff and OpenBSD.
Which was the point of the thread.
Otherwise I'm quite happy with the extent of my knowledge and its

> If you want to help with your superior knowledge, that's fine. But it
> can be done within the bounds of civility.  Before you click on the
> post button, just please consider how would you feel on the receiving
> end of your own post.

I would feel scolded as I do now.
You do not realize that your words are not at all different than mine.
The difference is that I scolded a person who wasted everybody's time
because of his own error.
You are scolding a person who tried to help him extremely politely and
concisely at first, but dismissed him later because I had better things
to do.

> I wish you good luck and less use of destructive phrasing.


        Zvezdan Petkovic

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