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Don't confuse frankness with anger

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I recently received an IP from someone that thought I was angry at them, just because I pointed out they hadn't so much as cracked open a book and made an effort to learn the ultra basics.

After writing a private reply I realized that many young people are not used to be spoken to frankly. They are unfamiliar with someone talking to them from a perspective other than that of a loving parent. Maybe this can help point out that not everyone is angry with you just because they speak plainly, openly and honestly with you.

My original post the OP was referring to, thinking I was angry at them:


"Please don't think I'm angry. I'm not. One has to be emotionally invested in other person to be angry. I don't know you that well.

There is a difference between coming to a site looking for help with a specific issue and coming to a site without having done ANY basic preparation like working through the simplest of "Learn VB in 30 day" type books, and expecting everyone to hand-hold you through the ultra-basics."

My response when they asked *why* I was angry at them and trying to tell me that even though I said I wasn't angry that I clearly must be:


I was trying to point out that a total stranger has no emotional investment in you. And therefore you should have none in that person's reply. Feeling 'nothing' is not the same as feeling 'angry'.

OP said:

YOU are angry at people who "come to a site without having done ANY basic preparation [etc etc]"

No. I am not angry at them. I worry for them. I am concerned for them. I believe these kids with no work ethic, no 'gumption' to get out and make an effort for themselves, are doomed to a life of saying "Would you like to biggie-size that for just .50c?" They are products of parents and an education system that let people slide right through. Teachers won't fail the student because then the teacher risks reprisal. So the student enters the work world totally unprepared for a competitive environment. They have no skillset for digging deep or relying on their own ability because they've never had to.

I've truly never understood why people insist on reading between the lines and adding emotional context to the writings of another person. I really, truly, am not angry at these rookies. I really only am trying to point out that what they are doing is asking to be privately tutored rather than taking on some small measure of responsibility toward their own education and future. There are 5 billion of them and maybe 50 core people here to help them. There simply isn't enough hours in the day to take them all under our wings and treat them like fragile glass. Besides, if they are the type of 'coder' that can't or won't do a little trial and error or work through a book - we aren't helping our own industry by assisting them in bluffing their way through to employment.

There is no anger, just frankness, when I say to someone they have done no research or made no effort. What would I have to be angry about? I don't know that particular collection of photons on my screen. Their laziness does not affect my paycheck or the price of fuel for my truck.

I'm not here to be their cheer leader, priest or Facebook buddy. I'm here to offer advice. If that advice is the observation that they are still acting like a 10 year old and expecting their future and education to be handed to them, then perhaps they will benefit from someone talking to them as an adult - possibly for the first time in their life. There is enough political correctness in the world. I feel we aren't helping anyone by wrapping them in bubble wrap and saying "There there, it will be okay - you can be anything you want by just wishing hard enough." Its not true. The world is mean and tough and they have to try, strive and compete. Telling them otherwise is completely the opposite of helping them.

Speaking just for me, nobody ever has to add in anger to something I say. If I'm angry at someone its plain stated, obvious and no need to read it in. If I tell you that you need to give up coding then you can assume I'm not impressed with you. But until I start saying "You're pissing me off" - I'm not pissed off. And I certainly don't know how to be more obvious than saying "I'm NOT angry" - I don't know any other way to try to tell someone to not assign anger to a post where none exists.

So please, don't interject your emotional response into someone's comments. Just because you might get angry at being talked to frankly does not mean the speaker was angry when they said something. Just read the words. Don't add anything that isn't there.

Text on a screen is about as emotionless as one can get. Maybe that's why people feel the need to try to add it in. Maybe these people have been raised to think 'Help' can only come by doing the work for them. I don't know.

There is enough anger in the world without people making up more from thin air - or emotionless text on a monitor.

2 Comments On This Entry

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19 November 2012 - 07:06 PM
One thing I am sure of is that reading texts through a monitor can lead to misinterpretation....Sometimes, I didn't think that people could be angry with me, but through misinterpretation, I could think that I am somewhat ridiculed or looked down... One way for me to avoid this kind of thinking is to just go out and take a walk... stop thinking about it....


19 November 2012 - 07:22 PM
To be honest with you, I grew up by being insulted by teachers, as I come from a communist country, I am no stranger to "physical teaching" or "being called dumb" and similar things like that. But I don't expect the frankness of Western culture... I guess this is one of the reason why I considered it as condescending attitude. However, as you point out, it is frankness, not condescending tone, I would try to differentiate between these two and take it as an encouragement.
Have a good day.
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