How Shall I Respond

By Xah Lee. Date:

The following is originally posted to newsgroup “comp.lang.lisp”, regarding online posting behavior.

Hi lispers and functional people!

As you might know, recently i wrote few essays in response to posts here, explaining my behaviors in newsgroup posting. (See: • Aloofness vs Approachable, • (Knowledge + Love) / Disrespectfulness, • Why Can't You Be Normal?)

Recently, there is a thread of some 130 posts going on in, see: .

I only posted 4 messages in that thread and in the very beginning. The thread became a wild fire about emacs modernization issue of terminologies and user interface.

Most of these post, i consider most, absolutely, stupid, idiotic, to the most degree. Their facts are not facts. Their opinions are the most ignorant, blind. I don't want to spend some 30 minutes to edit this sentence so that it conveys my idea about how i felt about these people cogently… but basically, i'm trying to tell you here, that i consider their writings there, the most stupid. (O Allah, the word stupid is so over used, bland. But they are, or their writings are. Most, stupid. Bizarre. How can i express my feeling about them to you? Again, am not going to spend a lot time to edit this paragraph so it's concise, so i'll just run on with latch on description here… i tell you… like, suppose a bunch of highschool students heatedly debating some social issues with a straight face. Yeah, that's what i feel they are like.)

Honestly. I'm pretty sure these tech geekers consider me the same. What can i say? But what can i do??

As you know, in my essays cited above about my posting behavior, that i don't like to post like a conversationlist in newsgroups, that i spend hours for each of my post, that i don't respond to stupid or trivial posts that apparently have no thought, and that i'm aloof. As you know, i also, have thought about changing some of my posting behavior, so instead of being aloof, i'd behave like a average Joe Bloke, and respond to every and each message when i feel like like a bar-room chatter like them. Not betake the subject too seriously, and not for example be bugged by their stupidity as after all in a bar-room every participant is stupefied and that's the fun of it.

So, i've been thinking, to actually respond to most, if not every, message that addressed me. Don't be so formal or thoughtful. Just knee jerk and write out replies by gut feelings. Of course, also refrain from feeling insulted by their lack of intelligence. I mean, just quickly reply freely and dont start to use words like moron or faakface. No no no Not Just THAT! but just reply in a good natured way, like, in a bar-room and have fun. (O, this i must remind myself. No bad words. No bad tone. No Bad tongue. No Bad tone. No attitude. Be friendly. Be FRIENDLY! Stick to topic. Don't rant off. Dont derail into generalities. Don't become philosophical. Don't get into anything abstract. Ok, maybe summary: Be friendly, be good natured, don't post long, just reply to some points i feel needs to be corrected. Be matter-of-fact but don't emphasize it as if making them feel silly. (O, but with my mastery of english, perhaps i can instill some implicit insult at the stupidity of their writings, yet this be transparent to them. (LOLz, what a joyful thought) (Note to self: ok, if i do this, it must be very very well done so they absolutely don't see it except English professors. Probably best not to venture into this. O STOP! DON'T DO IT!))

You see, the impetus, of low myself down to this conversation style is that it may actually get my ideas across and convince these morons. You know? like Richard P Gabriel's famous Worse is better phenomenon. If i stay aloof and formal, like many functional langs, i may actually gain less mind-share of my ideas and views. Instead, i'd go guerilla. Screw quality. In with quantity. Screw monolithic writings. In with potshots Q and A. Screw being a philosopher. Mix-in with commoner. This way, i will gain followers. You know? Tech geekers, like most human animals, are in dire need of emotional touch. With my great prowess in technology as in the popularity of my website's math and programing tutorials and expositions and commentaries, and my notoriety in past online forum posts of 10+ years, if i just personally responded to some of these tech geekers in a normal fashion, they will quickly become my followers. They will spread my gospels for me, forwardly, without the possibility of me beseeching.

Is this the road i shall tread? What shall i do? Lispers, help me decide.