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On 2/23/2013 1:48 PM, Dirk Laurie wrote:
2013/2/23 Steve Litt:
But there's something else to consider. There's a certain class of web
denizens who just *love* to shout RTFM every chance they get. They're
crotchety old men.
[snip snip]
Mike Pall once replied to one of my questions with that and
I can still remember it clearly. It didn't hurt, it was more like
having a pail of icy water emptied over me.

Unfortunately, this is a characteristic of e-mail as an imperfect communication tool, and we must actively get over such things and move on. An e-mail is a virtual letter, too similar at times to the letter as a kind of formal dialogue that we are used to -- therefore as a form of criticism or rejection, it hurts more than mere talking. But of course, e-mails and forum postings is in reality more like normal conversations with a lot of throwaway stuff. As such, our expectations must often be actively adjusted, otherwise we will end up emotionally overwrought.

As a species we are not bonobos, so the expectation of a benign and compassionate communication channel will be tough to fulfill.

Talk of this kind of expectation, and of phrases such as: "There's a certain class of web denizens who just *love* to shout RTFM every chance they get." (just an example, I'm not singling anyone out) merely cranks up the nervous energy and put everyone on tiptoes. Someone should check say the last 3 months of postings, collect actual data and see whether such a characterization applies to this list. I think not, it has been quite peaceful lately.

Such statements merely serve to create self-fulfilling strife, since by reminding everyone of this legend over and over again, now everyone will be actively looking for something, anything, that meets this criteria, however tenuous. And we are extremely good pattern matchers as a species; someone will find something amiss even in the most innocuous of replies. It's a no-win situation, practically a fool-proof booby trap. That is why people are nervous, and some people ask not to be flamed in advance etc, because we have been set on tiptoes by certain expectations.

I think a tutor list is certainly worth doing, if there is enough like-minded people to keep it thriving.

Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia