D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

Friday, August 4, 2006 11:37 AM

[Edited Aug 7/06]
Remember this post by Chris Williams asking the question about why geeks are sometimes stubborn, or full of themselves, etc.?

Well check out the email the leader of the Winnipeg .NET User Group received from a Mr. Right (I've changed his name obviously):

[Email Begins]
Your next meeting as given on your web-site is six weeks ago.  Also, when I hit your web-page, I get an error:

Line 599: Object Expected.

This isn't on your default main page.  It is at the tail end of a script that ends with: (some script code)

Ergo, no closing script tag. Five gets you ten it's in an #include file. I expect the SCRIPT tag is supposed to be the closing tag.

Really. Should I have to be telling you these things? I'm a programmer, and by default turn on every debugging facility at my disposal, including treating warnings as errors. Don't you guys do that? As a .Net user's group, it doesn't do much for your credibility to have newbies pointing out your mistakes to you.

Yet you presume to advocate the standards by which I can be certified to be capable enough to be called a programmer? Yet another incidence of the weight of paper over actual ability.

When you get around to updating the next meeting date to a time that's actually in the future, I'll see if I can attend. You guys need some serious help. If you don't have time to update that time manually, at the least you could have it updated programmatically. You do know how to do that, right?

Mr. Right
[Email Ends]

Classic. So instead of using your experience as a programmer to help the overall community, you take on an attitude of superiority and arrogance. Oddly enough, on this page I found in Google's cache, he has this quote:

“I don't believe in people, but I believe in individuals. People are cattle, who will go wherever they are led, but individuals really do care about things, and individuals do make a difference. There are millions of individuals out there right now who, in their own way, are making this world a better place to live in. The only problem is that there aren't enough of them, and what few that do exist are largely ignored. This does not have to be. At the risk of using 'pop sociospeak', maybe this will serve to 'raise awareness' of the finer side of humankind.“

Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Right should consider his own quote before firing off assinine emails to user group leaders (who spend alot of their own time and many “seconds” putting together community events) and trying to promote himself and his arrogance. The people who spend their time running the user group care about the local developer community and are making a difference, yet Mr. Right seems to contradict what he values by his actions.

Here's another lesson: Reputation is key. Winnipeg is a small town, and our UG executive is made up of people from some of the most successful technology firms in the city. By your tone, you've now put yourself out there as someone that would not be attractive to hire in the future, and since most people get on by who you know, you may have burned bridges you didn't know existed.

It sounds like you've gone through alot though, and I think the real issue here is that you need to deal with those things in your life that have caused you to have such a negative view of society. Community is a key piece in the future of software development, and if you're not willing to play nice, don't expect to be invited to play.

D




Feedback

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

The dumbest part about his email is that the website in question is running on DotNetNuke...so if he's got an issue with some of the code, maybe he should be busting down the door of those guys making the FREE software that the rest of the world uses. But he obviously doesn't have the intelligence to figure this out. This is further evidenced by his complaining that the info on the events page is only listing past events....umm maybe that's because there are no future events scheduled genius.

People like that really piss me off! 8/4/2006 11:46 AM | Dylan

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

Not enough f-bombs, buddy. I've seen responses to user group criticism before and this is too nice. ;)

I think I'm actually going to do a full-blown post about this now, though!! =)
8/4/2006 12:55 PM | Justice~!

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

Hmmm. Not sure you're doing yourself too much credit by tearing a strip off someone on a public blog. I don't have much (any) sympathy for the person in question, but I don't like seeing anyone made to look stupid or inept or whatever.

My faith tells me "there are no small people" so I try to act with compassion and grace in all situations, especially hard are the times when someone is taking a strip off me.

Responding to criticism by attacking the criticizer (especially by using pages in Google's cache) just isn't classy, in my view.

If I were you, I would have either
1. ignored him, or
2. emailed him saying "thanks for the feedback, we'll get right on that", or
3. sent an email saying "thanks for the feedback, would you like to take on the task of addressing the website issue?", and
4. perhaps blogged about receiving the email and then making the point about asking people to contribute to the community instead of sitting back criticizing it (which was a great point).

As a leader, you have to deal with criticism of all kinds, in a way that reflects positively on all those involved.

In my opinion...

8/4/2006 1:20 PM | MikeD

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

One thing I have observed through my husband's dev experiences in E-town is that within any city, the coding community is very small and very interconnected. In fact, it seems that the whole of Western Canada is pretty interconnected where developers are concerned.

Thus, it strikes me as incredibly stupid for anyone (such as Mr. "Right") to make such disparaging comments to and about the city's user group (and inadvertently, about the executive members that run the group), because there are bound to be many ripple-effect repercussions professionally for said individual. Why he, being a "newbie," would choose so quickly to burn his bridges with Winnipeg's dev community is beyond my comprehension.

IMHO, you should totally release his name to all the execs in all the user groups across Western Canada. Let's see how long it takes him to eat his words!

8/4/2006 1:32 PM | MrsLoquacious

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

Oh, and I disagree with MikeD. If a criticism or concern was warranted or productive, then I could see one handling it in the most professional manner possible. However, if some pompous arrogant wannabe-know-it-all wants to put you down just to make himself feel better about who he is, then there is nothing wrong with publically airing his rant (which he was more than happy to share with the exec) and allowing the public to decide whether or not he has a leg to stand on.

That's my opinion. 8/4/2006 1:36 PM | MrsLoquacious

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

BURN HIM AT THE STAKE!!! BUUUUUURN 8/4/2006 1:56 PM | Justice~!

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

I disagree with most of you including MikeD, this guy is awesome, pure unadulterated ignorance and ego. You don't see such pure combinations in the wild. I would invite this guy to every party I ever had. I wish I could meet him. I would love to ask his opinion obn so many things hahahah. Ja plus dotNetNuke sucks, the idea & intention were good but the implementation is brutal. ISpy was just a quick technology demo, and some guys end up taking too far. 8/4/2006 4:15 PM | sigvicious

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

"If some pompous arrogant wannabe-know-it-all wants to put you down just to make himself feel better about who he is, then there is nothing wrong with publically airing his rant (which he was more than happy to share with the exec) and allowing the public to decide whether or not he has a leg to stand on. "

I don't actually have a problem with publically airing this guy's rant. I just don't think that it was should have extended to finding this guy's past rants in Google's cache and exposing those, and especially berating him publically.

D'Arcy's original point about being a part of the community and solving the problems rather than sitting back and criticizing was a great point. But then D'Arcy sat back and criticized the guy instead of extending an invitation to him to join the community and be part of the solution. Ironic I think. (Admittedly, that is a difficult invitation to extend, that's why my first reaction would have been to ignore him).

BTW, I have talked with D'Arcy offline about this, I wanted him to know that I do support him. 8/6/2006 1:39 PM | MikeD

# re: Flattery may get you somewhere, but arrogance gets you a blog entry

Thank you all for your comments, this has been a great discussion!

After discussing with Mike, and having a few days to chill and let my emotions subside (I get defensive of the guys who run the UG here in Winnipeg...they put alot of work in and rarely get credit for what they do), I agree that the personal attacks via the cached pages may have been a bit over the top, and weren't Christ like.

I do believe that when someone does something wrong, it should be pointed out to them. That's something that I haven't done yet though, so I've edited the post and will be emailing Mr. Right to let him know its here. Not fair to talk about someone without having them be aware and have a chance to respond.

I'm not sure that we'd invite this person into the community though without knowing that his interest is genuine and not selfish, as his email seemed to stem from ("I'm great, you're not"). It could be that this was just someone blowing off steam and we were the target, and so the obvious question is how much time do you devote to someone you maybe should ignore? But I don't think that's necessarily the correct way either. If someone were to walk up to my wife and yell slurs at her, I wouldn't just tell her to "ignore it", and I feel that in this case something should be said to this person. The comments here from the community are also valid and should be digested by this person as well.

Thanks again for all the input!

D
8/7/2006 8:00 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

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