Bickering, closed-mindedness, idol worshipping

From: James Turner (turnerjh@XTN.NET)
Date: 04/27/98

This is how the cycle has progressed:

Me: ideas
Others: some good, some bad, here's why we think why
Me: response to bad, counter-arguments, further points
Others: response to responses, more counter arguments
Me: response, question of accuracy of statements, evidence provided
Others: irritated, somewhat snippy replies
Me: irritated, snippy replies
<--- argument degenerates here

It is unfortunate that things had to progress like they did.  I never
set out to have any insults hurled on this list, and I regret that I
participated in such things.  I encourage everyone to go back and read
my inital post, and the responses.  I think everyone will find they
were quite acceptable and there was no slandering, bickering, or petty

However, things did degenerate.  I do not feel that it was entirely my
fault; having just reread the entire thread (around 130 posts), it is
clear that egos clashed and irritations collected on both sides.  I
think perhaps George mistook my tone as being insulting.  However, it
is clear that there were times when he barely read my posts.  I find
it incredibly insulting to have someone only glance at a message and
respond, instead of putting a fair amount of thought into it.  I also
think that I did not endear anyone when I corrected a few factual
errors made by George (though you will see there were times when I
explicitly corrected myself at no prompting).

Nonetheless, in the beginnings of the discussion, at no time did I
argue "for argument's sake."  I am not one to give up when I believe I
am right; I think that has become abundantly clear over the past week
or so.  I also am not one to back down just because the person arguing
happens to be a public figure.  I will not concede anything based on
reputation; I do however take into consideration everything said to

And that is something I consider to be a problem.  It seems to me that
a large number of decisions are made and not questioned simply because
of who makes them.  At times, this is valid.  However, circle is,
while not bazaar-like, very dependant upon external developers.  It
would not be nearly so popular if not for the large number of snippets
available.  We, as people who use circle, have a responsibility to try
to make it better.  That includes questioning whether decisions are
valid (e.g. threading in circle, ascii pfiles).

George admitted it when this thread began that there is not enough
high-level discussion here.  There _needs_ to be, otherwise we're all
just passengers at the back of the bus.

Another problem I've had is that very rarely have I seen positive
posts by George on other peoples' code.  He requested me to post some
code (split_argument), yet the only comments he had involved some
initialization and using skip_spaces.  No constructive criticism,
nothing.  He did not comment on the function as a whole, yet he had
asked to see it.  He did not suggest any non-trivial improvements.
How does this foster good faith between the wizards in the tower
(George and Jeremy) and the rest of us down in the bazaar?

In short: I feel that I have wasted a good bit of bandwidth in these
discussions.  I do not enjoy arguing, or the added stress of having to
deal with flaming threads.  Nor do I enjoy the rude behavior of
others.  No one involved in this thread for more than a post or two is
without fault; a person can't argue alone.

If anyone wishes to reply to this, I would ask that you please do as I
have and reread the thread from the beginning.  You will see many
claims that have been made about me (particularly my feeling that
macros are evil and should never be used) are simply not true.

Whether I continue posting here or not I leave up to George and the
rest of you.  If you feel there is room for dissenting opinions, I
will stay.  I will also try to be less vocal in my discussions;
however, I won't back down if I think there is still something left to
be said.

This post is intended to be an explanation and an apology.  An
explanation for my vehemence and undogged arguing of the points made.
An apology for those I have insulted, for my at-times extremely rude
behavior, and also for any perceived disrespect for George or Jeremy
(for whom I have a great deal of respect for the work they've done for

I would like for the personal disagreements to be put aside for the
betterment of circle.  I am willing, and eager, to participate in
productive discussions on whatever topics may come up.  But I am not
willing to be meek about my ideas.  I am willing to be more accepting
of opposing viewpoints, and stop responding when it is clear someone
won't change their minds.  I am not willing to let me, my ideas, or
anyone else or their opinions be insulted, slandered, put-down, or
condescended to.

Somewhere the entire discussion began to be about the people involved
and not the ideas themselves.  That's not productive.

James Turner     

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