Aloofness vs Approachable

By Xah Lee. Date:

Xah Lee wrote:

Fundamental Problems of Lisp

Jon wrote:

Xah, I love you, we should become friends!

There seems to be no real contents in your postings, only some pseudo scientific Lisp bashing. Exactly the same art I'm specialized in.

Congrats, keep up your good work! Together we will win them all!

I must say, sometimes i lookup to your courage in frequent cross posting, even though i consider your posts are proper with respect to the various forum's explicit or implicit charters. (though, i do see your tendency to peddle your website, and freely inject your little personal gripes about Mathematica or whatnot)

When i cross post, and if my subject or opinion is controversial, and or my writing demeanor is to be non-conformal, i limit myself to maybe 1 post per week or month, as a matter of self-imposed discipline and respect for the larger community. I've been following this more or less since about 2000.

And, when i post controversial or non-conformal ways, i made sure i spend great time on it. (1 or 2 hours is typical. 6 hours composition, broken into multiple days, is not unusual) I almost never, do a post that's trivial like just few lines. (i've been gradually relaxing this rule in recent years, however.)

For example, some of these philosophies i've written publicly before (often with the result of being ostracized from the community.).

My dilemma in recent years, is whether i shall keep aloof with some sense of immaculateness in limiting sensitive posts to a few, yet persistent possibly until i die. Or, should i just “relax”, mix-in, adapt more of a every-body-is-a-friend writing style, and feel free to post profusely, like multiple posts per day, with just one or two lines per post (like “thanks, but i don't agree.”); like them.

The litanies of nagging has its powers.

For example, in recent years i have spent great energy in emacs lisp. I spent several months out of my decade long keyboarding experience to have devised ErgoEmacs Keybinding (or any text editing tasks on computer keyboard). (been thinking of patent it) By my usual practice, i would put it on my web page (so it's public), make a announcement in appropriate forums once, and never speak of it again. The basic philosophy is that I, don't do peddling. If it is good, let people come to it. Marketing is a necessity, but its not something I, shall deign to do. Like, if Einstein invented relativity, and nobody believed it, that's their problem. History, will possibly eventually recognize good things, possibly a while after the inventor is dead. (long list of examples here… For example: August Dvorak of Dvorak keymap fame in our context. (btw, Richard Stallman, is somewhat aloof like this, however, he invented a viral license (GPL), a political organization (Free Software Foundation), full-fledged with laws and lawers, which in the end made him and his ideas successful, as opposed to the huge number of free-spirited software and groups such as BSDs etc. (Richard Stallman, also, freely abuse English words such as “hacker”, “freedom”, “free”, to gain supporters.)))

But, i have second thoughts. Fame, power, leadership, seduces me. For example, instead of my aloof behavior, i could just be like a “normal” human animal. When i see people asking about difficult emacs keybindings in emacs forums, which happens frequently maybe at least once a month, i could just say, “hey, by chance i did this keymap. Try it out, maybe it'll help!”. And whenever i did minor update to my page about it, or have some minor thoughts about my keymap design, i'll just post: “hi guys, thanks a lot for previous feedback. Recently i've been thinking xyz design, what do you think?” Usually, the more trivial the question, the more numerous the reply. People, especially in modern society, in particular the tech geekers, are a very lonely bunch. They are EAGER to help, to contribute their opinions, and in situations, code. We NEED the emotional touch. (every book on friendship, salesmanship, leadership or politics, will tell you about the importance of winning audience or establishing supporters) Also, avoid making a post that's more than, say, few paragraphs long, or construct very logical sentences, or use big words. That makes you less approachable.

I'm not sure Socrates or Plato would approve this relationship style. But by Allah, didn't Goddess Atropos put one of them to death by poison drinking?

Ok, 2.5 hours went into this post. I shall make a stop and post what i have now, lest i become unapproachable.