Dealing with Disrespect - a Review
by Jono Bacon
First of all a full disclosure:
The Author, Jono Bacon, is a long standing colleague of mine, while working on the Ubuntu project. I am not, in any way, affiliated with his employer (Canonical), and sometimes (not all the times) I really don't share his views and/or opinions.
Personal, I see him as a friend, not a close one, but more like 'Brothers in Arms'. We share the passion of OpenSource and we do like Ubuntu OS, Heavy Metal and Pints of Beer. And especially we like to be a Dad of the most adorable and awesome Sons, we ever wished for.
I owe him a lot, because he (and some other community members, but he in particular) pulled me back into the Ubuntu Business a couple of years ago, and I am very thankful for this.
When Jono revealed his new writing 2 days ago, I started directly to read it, because, believe me or not, I was wondering if he was refering to me to some extend, because I can be exact the same guy who he pictures in his latest book. The disrespectful, the ranting and rambling guy, the angry 'OpenSource' guy, who sits too many hours per day in front of the computer, and reads a lot of nonsense from people who think they are the smartest guys on this planet.
Someone, who is passionate, angry and full of ramblings when it comes to some positions in our technical world, and sometimes speaks up, too loud.
Thankfully, he chose other examples, but I found myself in his book, which is not really charming.
Well, honestly, Jono hit 'Bulls Eye' with his detailed description, between the various aspects of how to read the different comments, responses or posts in our technical world.
"The trick here is to determine the attributes of the sender and the context." (PDF, Page 8, 'Dealing with Disrespect')
is the essential message (he extends this later to the four important 'ingredients' sender, content, tone, context).
Old Internet people like me, who still know the 'UseNet', we know how hard this can be. How many times, we read UseNet Posts, which were in our eyes and ears unacceptable, bollocks or insane, and we hit the 'Reply' button in our Newsreader and flamed this poor guy, we didn't even know personally.
In these days, we never thought about the other guy, we just flamed, we insulted on a very personal level, but, believe me or not, it also came back, like a boomerang, and it really escalated. But these were those days, we all had leather as skin, and we could swallow a lot.
Today, world has changed, especially we don't use the UseNet so often anymore, and our 'ramblings' can be found on Weblogs and in the 'Comment' section of those or on Web-Forums. What and how we are saying, writing, commenting nowadays is more publicly exposed than 20 years back. The people got softer, we are trying to be more friendly to each other, we are using mostly a conjugation of the word 'Good', even to say, that something was really bad.
What was missing all the time, was a guide, on how to deal with those, who are not 'nice', who are not socially well conditioned, people who don't speak the political correct english/language of choice.
Now, Jono wrote exactly this missing guide. On how to deal with those people. And Jono just didn't write about it, he has the experience, working as 'The Community Manager' of Ubuntu. He already dealt with those. He knows what he is/was writing about
And he knows, that not all of these people are anti-social, hateful or disrespectful.
Many of those people are smart, and in real life really friendly people. It just needs some experience to deal with them, and Jono gave us now the right guide to learn from it.
I really beg you, to read this little guide of Jono, because you can learn from it. If you are Community Manager, or you have to deal with a very loud community, or even when you are the rambling guy. It's worth a read. A lot to learn and to understand.
This book finally tries to solve issues, which can't be fixed technically.
And thanks to Jono, I hope it will make the technical messsed up world a little more enjoyable.