Subject: Re: Understanding Erik Naggum
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 08 Oct 2002 22:34:04 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Pascal Costanza
| I quote Joe Bergin, again: "For professional educators, these patterns
| may seem obvious, even trivial, because they have used them so often."
| He refers to the "positive feedback first" pattern, among others.  Please
| note that he is an outstanding professional in his field.

  Just so we keep this in mind: His field is educating people.  One other
  profession you have brought up is psychotherapists.  What I am missing is
  why this is relevant to practioners in a particular field who want to
  help each other.  Do we have to be some combination of professional
  educator and professional psychotherapists to deal with a stupid question
  (a question whose answer, if any, is not useful to the qusetioner) from a
  lumbering idiot who does not really want to program in Common Lisp but
  comes here only because he wants to vent his spleen?

  What is the motivation of the professional educator and the professional
  psychotherapist that is missing from the professional programmer who
  helps his fellow travelers?  Could it be that your people are /paid/ and
  my people are /not/?  Could it be that the professional educator and the
  professional psychotherapist actually have as their /job/ to make people
  comfortable and learn things and /fails/ if he does not succeed in that,
  while the person who comes to a newsgroup of professional programmers and
  who does not /himself/ want to succeed with programming Common Lisp has
  violated the one underlying premise of the entire forum?

  The professional educator and the professional psychotherapist work with
  people who are not self-starters with respect to the topic at hand.  They
  offer their paid assistance to accomplish some goal to someone who does
  not know how to accomplish said goal on his own.  If you do that here or
  in any other professional forum, you violate the one core premise of the
  exchange of information -- that people are supposed to be equals.  We do
  /not/ have a professional educator role here.  When I help people with a
  technical point, I do /not/ grade their efforts and assume responsibility
  for rest of their education.  My involvement starts and stops with the
  article I have posted, The goodwill that I have shown the requestor has
  no further obligations on my part.  This is why it is a public forum and
  why we do not engage in person-to-person communication by mail.  Barry
  Margolin wisely instructs people not to mail him technical questions in
  his signature, no doubt because he has had his share of those.  I also ask
  people who mail me to ask their questions in public, because I do /not/
  want the responsibility to follow up on these people.  I want the choice
  to follow up on their /questions/ if I so desire.  This is a choice that
  your professional educator and professional psychotherapist on paid time
  do not /have/ to begin with.  If they choose /not/ to follow up on one of
  their /paying/ clients, that would actually be dereliction of duty under
  penalty of forfeiture of pay or even dismissal.

  It would be /wrong/ for any of the people you bring up as examples of
  users of your feel-good therapy to make the choices we make here every
  time we decide to respond to an article or refrain from it.  And it is
  /because/ they do not have that choice that they need your methodology.

  If you could conceive the difference between a personal and professional
  relationship, you would understand this, Pascal.

| Try to take the expertise of professionals into account for a given task.

  Sure, pay me, and I shall assume the responsibility you want to lay on
  may shoulders.  People who pay me get a very different service level and
  a whole different commitment to our shared and stated goals than people
  who get my services for free.  You admit that you are not programming for
  pay, but as a hobbyist, for fun.  You seem to be the kind of person who
  believes that this gives you a right to other people's time, to demand of
  others their goodwill and their time, to require other people to behave
  your way when you ask them to give you their advice without compensation.
  Why would anyone want to give anything to a person who is so fucked up
  that he cannot even distinguish between gifts and contractual obligations
  and who is so screwed up that he thinks he can put demands on people who
  want to help their fellow travelers to ease their journey that they not
  only help them for free, but carry them on their backs?

  I have a nagging suspicion that people like you do not understand that it
  makes a difference if you pay people or get their services for free.  I
  have actually met people who are so massively stupid as to completely
  fail to understand the difference between free and paid work, who do not
  understand contractual obligations or any other aspect of the legal
  framework that exists in order to ensure that you can trust people to
  actually deliver as promised and force them to pay damages if they do
  not.  But nobody here promises anything, nobody has any responsibility
  whatsoever for the future of the requestor.  The /entire/ responsibility
  lies with the requestor.  The /requestor/ has to prove himself worthy of
  the time and goodwill of those he asks to help him.  It is the requestor
  who should approach those who are willing to help him with deference and
  positive feedback!

  When do these "problems" with hostility arise?  They arise when some
  snotty little fuck like you, Pascal, have the audacity, the gall, the
  unspeakable arrogance of demanding that those who help him treat him
  better and start to attack those who help him for free.  It is when the
  fucking ungrateful morons who take the efforts offered by people in good
  will and demand more, and not only that, they demand the right to tell
  people who have helped them to behave differently!  How fucking arrogant
  can you /get/?

  What we have here is a concerted effort led by one ungrateful bastard
  with the name of Pascal Costanza to require people who are willing to
  help others, who are willing to share of their time and their expertise,
  to assume the role of a professional educator who has a responsibility for
  the education of other people, to be held responsible when the ungrateful
  little fucks who have asked and received an answer in a neutral, technical
  language, to the point and which should solve their problems or at least
  help, but which makes their finicky little emotions play tricks on them
  so they turn mad with rage that they did not receive a "warm" enough
  response so they do not "feel good" about themselves.  To have the /gall/
  to require those who help you for free to treat you like you were the
  paying client of a professional educator!

  Where is the fucking /money/ to back up your demands, Pascal Costanza?

  An ungrateful little bitch, that is what you are.  Helping you and the
  other feel-good morons is a recipe for hurt feelings -- /it actually is
  very hurtful/ to see that you spent an hour composing a response to some
  ungrateful little prick like yourself only to be met with some whining
  like "your language was too cold for my delicate emotions, so now I shall
  instead attack you for not making me feel good".

  If you want to lecture people how to take care of the emotional problems
  of ungrateful little children who are not satisfied with free help and
  the unpaid assistance of others, start /paying/ people, Pascal Costanza! 

| For effective communication, I have provided several links and pointers

  Yet you completely miss the point.  The point here is /not/ to make those
  who respond to questions on how to become a better programmer in Common
  Lisp responsible for these people.  When you ask a question, /you/ have
  the responsibility to make the most use of it, to do your homework, to
  pay attention to details, to listen carefully.  Somebody gave you of a
  piece of their life so that you could have an easier time programming in
  Common Lisp. and you have the fucking gall to demand that they treat you
  like they were your professional educators?

| I think your general goal to improve your skills is a good one.

  You have come across as the most ungrateful shithead this newsgroup has
  ever seen.  You have communicated this /extremely/ effectively.  You have
  also made it abundantly clear that you do not understand the difference
  between private and public fora, personal and professional services, or
  paid and free work.  In short, you do not have the concept of "thank you"
  in your miserable, greedy personality.  It is other people's duty to make
  you feel good before you can feel anything positive towards people who
  are willing help you for free.  You have made it abundantly clear, as
  have your other feel-good morons, that you are not here with the purpose
  of programming in Common Lisp.  You are here to dictate the behavior of
  people who /were/ willing to help you for free.  You assume the role of a
  paying customer who is always right, but without paying the money that
  gives you that right to demand.  You pay for nothing here.  The currency
  is how nice you are to people who can help you, so shut the fuck up and
  deal with it, you ungrateful, demanding little shit.

  I guess congratulations on your communication skills is in order, though.
  So you can at least have /something/ to feel good about.  Happy now?

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.