civil discussion on fedora lists

Simo Sorce simo at
Sat Oct 18 21:07:42 UTC 2014

On Sat, 18 Oct 2014 22:51:52 +0200
Reindl Harald <h.reindl at> wrote:

> Am 18.10.2014 um 22:43 schrieb Simo Sorce:
> > On Sat, 18 Oct 2014 13:14:52 +0200
> > Reindl Harald <h.reindl at> wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Am 18.10.2014 um 09:10 schrieb Miroslav Suchy:
> >>> On 10/17/2014 08:31 PM, Matthew Miller wrote:
> >>>> You can say something like "I'm not sure I understand the point
> >>>> you are making. Particularly, I don't see how __________ follows.
> >>>> Can you explain that in more depth?"
> >>>>
> >>>> And conversely, if you feel like your position isn't being
> >>>> listened to, try
> >>>> "I guess I'm not making myself very clear. Let me try to
> >>>> restate.... Does this make more sense?"
> >>>
> >>> Ha Ha. I heard exactly that from my English teacher several weeks
> >>> ago. For myself, this is cultural difference too. I would never
> >>> use such wording in my native language. (Disclaimer: I'm not
> >>> targeting the original thread, but disagreement in general)
> >>
> >> +1
> >>
> >> nobody i know in real life talks that way, really nobody, never
> >
> > Let me try to understand, when you say nobody does that, do you mean
> > that when a stranger does not understand what your are saying, say
> > for example at the cashier in a supermarket.
> >
> > They do not say something like:
> >   "Sorry , I did not understand, can you repeat ?"
> the say "bitte?" like "please" in english (one single word) but for
> sure not "I'm not sure I understand the point you are making.
> Particularly, I don't see how __________ follows. Can you explain
> that in more depth?" - nowehere, never in real life

I am sure you are smart enough to understand that Matthew was
suggesting a different approach and not necessarily the exact wording
to use. Yes they may say 'sorry?' in person when the exchange is
direct, immediate and the context makes it clear they are saying sorry
because they did not understand. Unfortunately that is never the case
via email. You need a couple more words if you want to be sure to
convey the right meaning as tone, facial expression, and other signals
our bodies transmit in a live conversation do not work via email.

> > And instead say:
> >  "You are a moron that doesn't know how to speak GTFO now!"
> nobody said anything like that in the whole thread the OP referred to 
> and nobody neends to pack "WTF are you talking about" in a paragraph 
> with 50 lines to be as polite as possible
> read the last interview of Linus and you maybe understand what i am 
> talking about - packing the relevant information in 100 lines of 
> pseudo-code to be polite, friendly and the best human in the world
> don't help anybody
> people not taking every single word personal in a technical dicussion 
> would help everyone because the noise/information ratio would be much 
> more appropriate

I am sure you do not like impoliteness more than anyone else, you just
fail to understand different people have different sensibilities and
not everybody likes harsh language.

Politeness do not require vagueness or extensive explanations, you can
be polite and short at the same time.

However a little bit of politeness does wonders for *interpersonal*
communications, we are not insensible robots but humans.

Linus has some very good qualities as an engineer, but I wouldn't take
a lesson in effective communication from him.

People resolve to harsh words, expletives and confrontation when they
are *bad* at communications. You can dress it up and rationalize it as 
being direct and effective, but that doesn't make it true.


Simo Sorce * Red Hat, Inc * New York

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