I've been an editor in the high-tech field for more than 15 years. When I first started in this field, I came over from working in more industrial areas. My first impression of the people in this industry was that they were so very nice and courteous. Everyone seemed to be part of a great fraternity of people who really cared about electronics, making things work better, and about each other. I went to the IMS2011 show in June, and was reminded of this feeling of congeniality.
Over the past few weeks, however, I have observed a number of occurrences that have surprised and disappointed me. It seems that, perhaps, a growing number of people have lost that sense of courtesy. For example, a reader insulted me after I posted a blog on Boosting Brain Power. Then, another reader insulted a student at Stanford University in this post. Happily, other readers have gracefully entered the discussion to encourage constructive debate. My colleague Max Maxfield got a taste of the same with his blog. These are just a few examples of the types of "snipey" things I have noticed very recently, and they are coming to us through comments and emails.
So, I have to ask... what do you think? Is it this anonymous medium of screen names and gmail that is encouraging people to drop the bounds of professionalism and courtesy? Or, is the industry becoming so cut-throat in this down economy that agendas need to be pursued at all costs? Or is there some other kind of change afoot? Please use the comments section to weigh in, and, dare I say it, please engage in professional and courteous debate....In the meantime, I will leave you with a quote: "When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible," Mohandas Gandhi.
Rude behaviour says more about the person exhibiting it than the person on the receiving end of it or the subject of discussion/argument. Hence, I pity rude people because it's sign of something seriously wrong in their life. As for our community, I have seen both good and bad, as in other walks of life. I don't think things have changed much of late.
All I read of your comment was: "Zingers and one liners catch attention."
It does seem like some folks will write an angry or condescending response based on just the first part of an article or comment without reading through to get the entire context or supporting data.
What really bothers me is when this happens to some student or aspiring young person. While most experienced people are very helpful, some will take any opportunity to berate someone less experienced than them. Maybe it's a form of insecurity or something. What some people might consider to be a "stupid question", I think is an opportunity to pass a bit of ourselves on to someone else.
I am sorry to hear that. As a part of engineering community, I am seeing many highly quality, smart and gentle people around. They are far-far away from egotism, obstinacy rather they are high on integrity and respect.
I am sorry to see those days are going away. More and more engineers are pressured from all directions, schedule they committed and employment they are depending on. In these days, we are, in some extends, as a part of global workforce. Such a pressure mounting on us, and may effect very some of them who has a high-tone of voice. As they are there, we have to live with them. The one simple solution is to ignore them, if it crosses a certain level. By looking at the bright side, we are still good.
Courtousnss goes to the point that one can express himself and not be declared and ID10T, just because his idea was not within the realm of someones paradygm. If they have a prblem with something - that requires a snide comment - why don't they go take their idea and foist it out there for the masses to decide if it was really that good! I firmly believe that there are alot of naysayers but for those who perservere with their idea - it might just FLY.. , it might just Broadcast the Human Voice, and it might just make it to the moon. No one got there with I can't they got there with someone saying I know how we can do it, and I am going to show you how! CAN DO.
My thinking is that in an argument, losing one's cool always diminishes one's credibility. It doesn't even matter whether the guy who became abusive was ultimately right. And I've certainly noticed that the anonymous nature of comments on the web encourages this behavior.
Another point is, engineering is not nearly as subjective as most other fields. So I have little sympathy for those who get abusive instead of putting forth well-reasoned, quantitative rebuttals. If someone's position is so obvious that "anyone should be able to see it," then instead of putting on a show of frustration, it should be really simple to write down those irrefutable arguments. Resorting to insults convinces me, every time, that the offender is simply laying down a smoke screen to hide his own ignorance.
Several years ago, I got in a disagreement with a tax assessor, and I lost my temper (my bad, sorry). They guy asked, me, "You think you could do my job better than I can?"
I replied, "A moron could do the job better."
He answered, "Exactly. That's part of my job, to be a moron. Now explain it to me like you're talking to a moron."
Well, of course I laughed, and calmed down. I began again and we found a mutual understanding - a point I had failed to make because I "assumed it was obvious".
I came to believe he wasn't a moron, but a very smart man. I try to remember that lesson, especially when somebody gets on my nerves.
When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible," Mohandas Gandhi
That is an awesome quote and I see that is probably not the case in today's high tech world. But still much better than in some other industries..
Confronting any blog/article/comment with opposition is healthy and necessary as long no one is insulting any single person or persons.
This type of one liner juvenile behavior has been seen through out internet communities for years. It even has a name. "trolling". People who troll just say things to stir up controversey or set off tempers. As long as you aren't being a troll than you are OK by me :)
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