Minimizing Snark

Greetings Fellow Testers!

Please don’t tear this post apart, as I’m not trying to be rude, condescending, etc., so please resist the urge to be offended.

I’ve been using RS/Xojo since 2006, so that’s about 7 years now. I found it in a pinch where I needed to program an application for Mac, when I’d never spent more than an hour on a Mac in my life. The simple, fast to learn language, and cross-platform capabilities made my work possible. At the time Aaron Ballman, Mike Baley, and a gentleman aliased “Pi Master” were incredibly helpful in completing my task. I was so pleased with how it went, that I continued to use RS, and soon moved to using it full-time.

Part of what really impressed me were the active engineers on the forums, and the incredibly helpful user-base. Over time, though, I did start to notice a pattern — that lives on to this day — wherein a single-user would voice frustration at a topic, and multiple members would then jump on it like a pack of wolves. Sometimes an engineer could hop on, cool, and resolve the matter; other times the engineer would then become the prey, and they themselves be torn apart. Mind you, it was generally indirect, with something to the effect of, “Those at RS continue to do whatever they want!” It seems like the posters realize someone from RS is watching, and take the opportunity to voice their vehement antipathy. This isn’t horrible, but what really seems too bad is that the users become like an incorrigible mob. I think, however, it’s more accurate to say a handful of members remain incorrigible.

The truth is, I recognize that RS/Xojo is imperfect, and that it’s important to voice ourselves on what we believe to be important bugs/feature requests. I’m not even saying there’s no right to be frustrated at times. The problem really occurs when we become snarky and incorrigible. More than a few times I’ve seen an engineer go to help someone, but the person (or joining members) remains more interested in voicing how upset they are — often finding creative ways to say that Xojo Inc. sucks, without out and out saying it. Good ideas and feedback quickly become needless attacks and rants, bent on the presumption that there is no solution/time-frame aside from the one they have in mind.

Frankly, I’m impressed by the engineers’ ability to continually reply to constant discussion on how “buggy” their hard work is. I’m thankful we have such ready access to them; and I submit we can continue to do so in a respectful, professional manner.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Yeah, of all the things people can do on a beta forum, that seems the most self-defeating. Here’s the thing I notice. People who go there generally don’t have much to contribute to the discussion. The best thing you can do, if you “own” a thread, is politely call people for hijacking your thread when they do. A simple, “my question is not a launching point for your BS” will get the point across. That will alert the rest of us about who we shouldn’t waste time and effort on when legitimate questions come up. Personally, I keep a (short) black list. I also hope that the people on it might one day get with the program and work their ways off.

While some people may be deliberately snarky, I think this is very rare. More likely it is a medium, language issue or a cultural issue. The medium of text is very poor at showing emotion, sarcasm or emphasis, so is often added when it was never meant to be there. The language is often a problem because of the many languages we speak, but I am glad they have learnt English, saving me the embarrassment of speaking high-school German, French, Spanish, etc. Finally the culture. I am an Australian living in the UK. Australians are often very blunt in their dialog and humour, which the English just consider rude — I have learnt to tone down my language!

I have read all the posts on this forum since its inception and have seen the snarkism, but I have also seen people whom I was prepared to write off, contributing later in the forum in a well-mannered fashion. I hope we can forgive one another’s bad attitudes and put it down to one of these three (or other) issues. In the end we will be rewarded with an even better product that we can all be proud of.

It’s not cultural. It’s not a language issue. If you’re telling other people how to run their businesses differently or getting morally outraged over bugs in a software development tool, you’re doing it wrong. You’re not helping anyone. You’re most certainly hurting yourself. You’re most certainly irritating the people who can best help you achieve your goals if you’re criticizing them 24/7, or really at all for that matter.