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'[ADMIN]: Question about member'
2008\05\29@145814 by PAUL James

picon face
Admins,

I don't want to start a feud, and I'm trying to be helpful here, so bear
with me.

I have spoken to Olin Lathrop recently, and he feels that he is getting
treated in ways that the general population isn't.

I'm not sure what has happened to make him feel this way, but in my
opinion, from talking to him recently and based on past posts by him,
he has a lot of expertise to offer the list population.   And if in fact
he is being treated differently than other members, couldn't bygones be
bygones,
and treat him like anyone else, and let him contribute to the list?

Again, I'm not trying to cause a feud.  I'm just trying to understand
what is going on, and asking that a member be treated like any other,
and allow
him to be a member in good standing, and contribute to a hugh resource
for the PIC comminuty.  

I firmly believe that the PICLIST is a case of synergy if ever there was
one.  Every contributor adds just that much more.  And the more
contributors,
the more resources we have to pull from.

Anyway, please consider my request.




Thanks and Regards,


Jim

2008\05\29@151210 by adastra

flavicon
face
I personally find the list to be far less valuable since Olin's
participation has diminished.  I watched it all go down months (and
years) ago, and I must say that I am completely in sympathy with the
idea of restoring him to full un-censored participation.

Regards,

 Foster


> {Original Message removed}

2008\05\29@152232 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Thu, 2008-05-29 at 13:57 -0500, PAUL James wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I REALLY hope this doesn't turn into a huge flame war, but chances are
it will, so please people, lets remain civil.

For the new members of the list, a brief history, as I remember things:

We had multiple cases where posts from Olin would result in vast flame
wars. As was often the case, it wasn't exactly WHAT Olin was saying that
was triggering things (although sometimes he did have personal attacks
included), but how he said it. Olin can be very frank and direct, and
due to cultural differences some saw this frankness as personal attacks.
We had numerous cases of new members leaving the list due to a response
from Olin (and we only know of the ones that TOLD us why they were
leaving, who knows how many actually did).

Despite numerous incidents Olin didn't seem interested in changing
anything about how he responded to posts.

He was kicked off the list multiple times. Each time, after a while, he
requested to come back, with a promise that his posts would no longer
"stir things up". Each time we agreed, and each time, for while, things
were good. Eventually though things would again degrade.

The final straw for us is we received messages from LONG time valuable
contributors stating they were leaving the list because they were no
longer interested in contributing to a list where Olin was. Due to Olin
not being willing to modify how he responded to threads, the list was
starting to loose long time contributing members that were capable of
responding in ways that didn't inflame.

The decision eventually was made to instead of simply booting Olin
(since history showed that never worked), instead we would put him on
the moderated list.

FWIW, by default, all new members are automatically put on the moderated
list, along with any posters that have caused issues (none that I can
recall recently).

Olin has stated that as long as he is on the moderated list, he will
minimize his contributions. I for one am fine with that. I prefer a list
where people aren't afraid to post a question simply because one member
might strike them down for it. Trying to learn in an environment where
the teacher will start yelling at you if they think your question isn't
"good enough" is NOT a good way to learn, IMHO.

I don't think any long time member can deny that since Olin has been on
the moderated list the list has run very smoothly. I know from my Admin
side it's been FAR easier maintaining the list since Olin was put on the
moderated list.

I personally don't see how taking him off the moderated list could ever
work. It never worked before, and I've not heard ANYTHING from Olin to
indicate it would work now (of course, Olin calling me a Nazi might be
evidence that he doesn't want to have anything to do with me to begin
with, so that may be why I haven't heard anything).

Well, that's how I remember things, I'm sure if I'm way off on a point
someone will correct me.

TTYL

2008\05\29@154626 by fred jones

picon face

Yes, my first post here many years ago as a complete newbie was an attack on me by Olin.  Said I was lazy and he didn't have time to do my work for me.  In fact, he must have spent 20 or 30 minutes on the very long email to explain why I was lazy and the criteria it took to get him to reply to a post with help.  Yes, Olin is one of the sharpest on the list, and even I would welcome his full participation, but I don't think he is capable of behaving himself or acting civil.  Whether he likes it or not he brought on whatever treatment he gets here all by himself.


{Quote hidden}

>

2008\05\29@170006 by James Newton

face picon face
It is my understanding that Olin is very active on the Microchip forums. He
is certainly able to contribute there and anyone who wishes to participate
with him can use that site.

--
James.

{Original Message removed}

2008\05\29@172541 by olin piclist

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
> We had multiple cases where posts from Olin would result in vast flame
> wars.

If you look carefully and objectively, most ruckus was usually commenting on
admin actions to try to "fix" things, when things would have died down
quickly if just left alone.

> As was often the case, it wasn't exactly WHAT Olin was saying
> that was triggering things

Exactly.

> (although sometimes he did have personal
> attacks included), but how he said it. Olin can be very frank and
> direct, and
> due to cultural differences some saw this frankness as personal
> attacks.

I don't think it was cultural differences as much as people reacting
inappropriately when they got caught publicly doing something stupid.  Some
people instead of saying "oops" get defensive and attack the messenger.

Too many people on this list adhere to the silly notion that if you can't
say something nice you shouldn't say it at all.  It is certainly easier to
avoid being the messenger, but is less useful in the long run.  If you do
something that others perceive as stupid, wouldn't you rather know that than
being given content-free placitudes with everyone laughing behind your back?

> The final straw for us is we received messages from LONG time valuable
> contributors stating they were leaving the list because they were no
> longer interested in contributing to a list where Olin was. Due to
> Olin not being willing to modify how he responded to threads, the
> list was starting to loose long time contributing members that were
> capable of responding in ways that didn't inflame.

So now you have less content and even more people have left the list.  Take
a look at the number of posts per day on real PIC or EE related content now
and a few years ago.  People may say they want sugar coated reality, but in
the end they discover it's not actually useful to them.

> Olin has stated that as long as he is on the moderated list, he will
> minimize his contributions. I for one am fine with that.

You shouldn't be.  You can have a content-free sugar coated list or you can
have real content where, among other things, people are told frankly when
they are wrong.  You can't have it both ways, and your way is dying.

> I prefer a
> list where people aren't afraid to post a question simply because one
> member might strike them down for it.

Noone ever needs to be afraid of posting a honest question after trying the
reasonable means within their capabilities to get the answer themselves.
The flip side is that asking 1500 people to do them a favor should not be
taken lightly.  Those that do are basically saying "I'm more important than
all of you", which deserves whatever scorn it attracts.

> Trying to learn in an
> environment where the teacher will start yelling at you if they think
> your question isn't "good enough" is NOT a good way to learn, IMHO.

It's not about the goodness of the question, but rather about having done
reasonable homework before asking someone else to help.  A good teacher
doesn't answer every question outright.  Sometimes it is best to tell the
student how to think differently about the problem, sometimes to refer to
where the answer is, and sometimes the most useful response is to tell the
student that he should have been able to figure out that himself and to stop
relying on you for all the answers.

For example, a recent post asked about a simple battery charging circuit.
That was a great question.  The OP had definitely made a good effort to
understand the circuit within his limitations.  As a result, people went out
of their way to explain the circuit to him.

On the other hand, "is RA4 a open collector output on a PIC18F2550?" is a
stupid question because it is answered clearly in the datasheet right where
you'd expect to find it.  That question deserves "RTFM" as a response at
best.  The OP may decide to get upset at that, but that would be the fault
of the OP, not the person answering.

> I personally don't see how taking him off the moderated list could
> ever work. It never worked before, and I've not heard ANYTHING from
> Olin to indicate it would work now

The question isn't about whether it would work but what your idea of "work"
is, of course.  If you'd rather have a low content touchy-feely list than a
vibrant useful one, even if a occasional lazy poster gets upset, then things
do "work" better according to your definition now.  However if that's your
choice you don't belong as a admin, but that's another discussion.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\05\29@181201 by Jinx

face picon face
> asking 1500 people to do them a favor should not be taken
> lightly.  Those that do are basically saying "I'm more important
> than all of you", which deserves whatever scorn it attracts.

I don't believe I've ever met anyone more important than I am.
Anyone confident in their own self hasn't either

Maybe it's a product of modern education that people don't
know how to research or that it's a gimme-gimme-gimme world.
Even some bright kids I know can't see a solution that's in front
of them. They genuinely need to be told to look for it

I don't have a particular problem giving either pointers or even
full answers, or even totally ignoring impolite requests, but of
course we'd all rather that everyone was as up to speed as we
are

2008\05\30@033302 by Dario Greggio

face picon face
James Newton wrote:

> It is my understanding that Olin is very active on the Microchip forums. He

he isn't anymore

--
Ciao, Dario

2008\05\30@075118 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face

> Too many people on this list adhere to the silly notion that if you
can't
> say something nice you shouldn't say it at all.  

It's not a question of having to say something nice.  The issue was
never in the message per se but how it was delivered. It's entirely
possible and certainly far more professional to point out to someone
that they are doing things wrongly without resorting to name calling or
insults.  What you refer to as sugar coating, others call civility.

Regards

Mike

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2008\05\30@083120 by Apptech

face
flavicon
face
I'd like to address this vital point.

I'm a friend of Olin's (he may or may not realise this
:-) )(he probably does), including but not limited to in the
sense of Proverbs 27:6. That's NOT just an excuse to join in
the hazing line. I appreciate not only his talent but the
magnanimous manner in which he makes selected items of his
finely crafted software available at absolutely no charge
and also provides a degree of related free support. I'd like
to see him able to participate on this list on an equal
footing with others but I really really really can't see
that he will ever agree to meet the conditions that all
others are required to meet in order to do so. Which is a
shame.

As I have before now been thrown off this list without
second chance or right of response due to a stupid decision
by admins (when there was a much more valid reason to do so
that they ignored :-) *) I know how it feels and I can
sympathise with Olin. BUT his having my sympathies doesn't
make him right.

>> Olin can be very frank and direct, and
>> due to cultural differences some saw this frankness as
>> personal
>> attacks.

Olin responded

> I don't think it was cultural differences as much as ...

And that's a problem.
The writer said " ... dur to cultural differences some saw
...", and it is unquestionable that some indeed did see
things the way they did because of cultural differences.

BUT the major cultural difference that has caused problems
has been Olin's sometime inability to realise that writers
whose first language is not English can write things that do
not mean what they appear to at first glance. If one
misinderstands what a person is saying but are polite to
them then understanding may follow. If you misunderstand and
then castigate them big time then the damage may be
permanent. Judging how a person should respond to personal
abuse, either due to a misunderstanding or an understanding
is not a privelege that is afforded to list members.
Personal abuse is proscribed regardless of its merit. Olin
refuses to take that point.

One of the clearer experiences was when a highly capable and
internationally known French amateur astronomer  joined the
list. This man is known for his capable designs of cryo
cooled CCDs for astronomical photography. In his
introductory material he used the word "demand". It is
entirely obvious in reading the subsequent thread that, as
he is French, he is using "demand" to mean "ask".

eg    If you are interested in pursuing your university
career in France, you need to do a "Demande d'admission
préalable".

No, they are NOT expecting you to DEMAND admission to the
university.

However, when Oiln took exception to the man ASKING for
assistance and accused him (AFAIR) of arrogance etc the
inevitable fire-fight arose and this man, accustomed no
doubt to better treatment, simply went elsewhere. A loss of
great expertise and totally unnecessary.

When what had happened was pointed out to Olin he was
unrepentant and it was not obvious that the point had been
understood.

A major point is that in this case Olin was completely
utterly wrong but he failed to realise this either at the
time or, apparently, subsequently. The competent and
industrious inquirer had not been lazy or stupid - they just
wrote their English with a French brain-set. Had Olin obeyed
the RULES that all are required to obey then there would
have been no problem because the misunderstanding would have
become clear and also unimportant in the next few exchanges.
Alas, we instead got a fire fight and the loss of a
potentially valuable resource.

If Olin refuses to agree to throttle his displeasure with
others back to a dull roar and then achieve what he has
agreed to he will annoy the admins time after time after ...
. You only get so many lives and he's outlived them. Which
is a shame.

So. Olin. What's the chance of you coming back from the dead
and actually agreeing to stick to the same rules that
EVERYONE here is required to? It would be good to have you
participating in an unrestricted manner.



       Russell

* I made 3 comments. One appeared to disparage the
Californian local body electoral system. I think the
perceived criticism wasn't without merit but it had been
meant to be a flippant humorous throw away. Olin complained
about that one :-). One appeared to denigrate NASA. That was
not it's intention. That got me thrown off the list without
any warning. Not that I want to, but I'd hope to be able to
denigrate NASA here should I choose to without that
happening. The third comment related to very sad and fatal
events in Bjng 19 years ago this year and should have been
seen as critical of a foreign government's actions. That may
have been grounds for being thrown off the list for making a
strong political statement. But, it was just ignored by
about everyone including the Admins who never mentioned it
when they threw me out :-( :-). FWIW I think the admins do a
great job under extreme pressure and if they feel obliged to
stupidly throw me off the list occasionally for no good
reason who am I to complain ? :-). Really. But I'd rather
they didn't do it very often.













people reacting
{Quote hidden}

> -

2008\05\30@090537 by olin piclist

face picon face
fred jones wrote:
> Yes, my first post here many years ago as a complete newbie was an
> attack on me by Olin.  Said I was lazy and he didn't have time to do
> my work for me.

I note that you're not claiming I was wrong, only that you didn't like it.
And what harm exactly was done?  Even though you protest, it probably got
you to clean up your act.  I bet you did your homework properly before the
next post.

If you can't stand someone calling you on it when you're lazy or do
something stupid, you don't belong on the internet or much anywhere else in
life.  Stop and think instead, and you'd realize that you're still intact,
your computer still works, you can still posts messages, and others are
still free to respond to them as they see fit.  If you think about it and
still disagree that you were being lazy, it's real easy to brush off a
single post from some *hole at the other end of the internet.  The amount of
fuss someone makes is generally proprtional to how much they feel embarassed
and then get defensive.

> In fact, he must have spent 20 or 30 minutes on the
> very long email to explain why I was lazy and the criteria it took to
> get him to reply to a post with help.

So you're complaining that I went out of my way to explain what you did
wrong and how to do it right next time.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\05\30@092922 by olin piclist

face picon face
James Newton wrote:
> It is my understanding that Olin is very active on the Microchip
> forums. He is certainly able to contribute there and anyone who
> wishes to participate with him can use that site.

I haven't been there much in the last couple of months, ever since Microchip
introduced a new forum feature and totally refused to respond to the many
comments, suggestions, and request for clarification of the feature.

I am truly baffled by why they won't explain how they intended it to be
used.  Just a short acknoledgement "Yeah we see some problems with it, but
we're busy and aren't going to address them anytime soon." would be very
helpful.  I undertand making changes to the software takes real work and
therefore $$, but a occasional response to a question or suggestion is
almost free.  Even "We think it works just fine, get over it." would be far
better than nothing.  Silence basically says "You peons are so insignificant
that we don't even need to acknowledge you have issues, let alone address
any of them.".  That's a slap in the face of those that have spent
significant time over there answering questions to Microchip's benefit.  It
made me feel like a chump, so I'm not that motivated to spend time over
there right now.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\05\30@102548 by olin piclist

face picon face
Apptech wrote:
> One of the clearer experiences was when a highly capable and
> internationally known French amateur astronomer  joined the
> list.
> ...
> he used the word "demand". It is
> entirely obvious in reading the subsequent thread that, as
> he is French, he is using "demand" to mean "ask".
> ...
> A major point is that in this case Olin was completely
> utterly wrong but he failed to realise this either at the
> time or, apparently, subsequently.

No, it became clear in subsequent posts that this was a misundertanding of
the english word "demand".  Usually non english speakers are easy to spot
and are given slack.  This was a very rare (only?) case where foreigner's
interpretation of a word caused trouble.  I don't remember the exact text,
but probably the rest was well written and therefore one could only assume
the whole post meant what it said.  If it did, it would have indeed been
arrogant and rude.

Note also that pointing out a post is arrogant and rude and therefore not
likely to solicit help when the post is in fact arrogant and rude by normal
interpretation of english isn't a problem in itself.  The problem or not
comes from how the OP reacts to this.  If the OP had said "Oops, english
isn't my first language and I mistranslated 'request' into 'demand' because
there is a similar word in my language.", it would have been the end of it,
probably with apologies all around and maybe some advice on which words to
use in future similar situations.

But again, you bring up the single case where there was a true
misunderstanding.  Mistakes get made in any system, but getting it wrong
once in 1000 instances doesn't make it a good idea to deal with the other
999 cases less efficiently and effectively.

> So. Olin. What's the chance of you coming back from the dead
> and actually agreeing to stick to the same rules that
> EVERYONE here is required to?

I don't think what I've done here recently has been against any rules,
although sometimes it's hard to tell because James' threshold is ever
changing and getting more touchy-feely over time.  If someone does something
stupid, lazy, or arrogant, they should be prepared to be called on it.  If
they can't handle that, they don't belong here or most anywhere else.  James
used to understand the distinction between "this is wrong" versus "you are a
stupid person", but lately can't seem to see the difference.

Being told you are wrong is no reason for a fight.  Either you think you're
right and you explain why, you realize you're wrong and say "oops", or think
the accusation is so rediculous or you don't want to waste time and you
don't respond at all.

I challenge you to find a single case where I got upset when someone pointed
out a mistake I made.  In some cases I might disagree and explain why I
think I'm right.  Usually when I see that I got something wrong I say
something like "Oops, sorry for the confusion" because I want to make sure
there is a record of the right answer in the archives.  Sometimes I don't
bother when the error was so well pointed out that anyone looking at the
thread would have no confusion as to what was right.  It really doesn't
matter if someone said "No, that should be 200 ohms." versus "anyone that
passed 7th grade math can see that it should be 200 ohms.".


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\05\30@121829 by Apptech

face
flavicon
face
>> he used the word "demand". It is
>> entirely obvious in reading the subsequent thread that,
>> as
>> he is French, he is using "demand" to mean "ask".

...

> No, it became clear in subsequent posts that this was a
> misunderstanding of
> the english word "demand".

Yes. That's what I meant by the text above.

{Quote hidden}

In fact he explained at some length, still with words
confused, what he was intending, but you and he had by then
so locked horns that you missed his point.

> Note also that pointing out a post is arrogant and rude
> and therefore not
> likely to solicit help when the post is in fact arrogant
> and rude by normal
> interpretation of english isn't a problem in itself.

More liable to be if one does it arrogantly and rudely :-)

> The problem or not
> comes from how the OP reacts to this.

No. The rules which we have all agreed to live under say
that we are not ALLOWED to bawl people out, let alone in an
A&R manner.

> If the OP had said "Oops, english
> isn't my first language and I mistranslated 'request' into
> 'demand' because
> there is a similar word in my language.",

In the end, AFAIR, I pointed that out. You and he never got
to the understanding level.

> it would have been the end of it,


As above, no, alas.

> probably with apologies all around

no apologies either.

> and maybe some advice on which words to
> use in future similar situations.

I did that, offlist. He never came back to the list AFAIK.

> But again, you bring up the single case where there was a
> true
> misunderstanding.

No. A case. There have been others. Although this is/was the
example that for some reason has lodged in my mind in
detail. I recall you also dealing with others where language
was a or the issue but the details are not offered up by my
mental retrieval system.

> Mistakes get made in any system, but getting it wrong
> once in 1000 instances doesn't make it a good idea to deal
> with the other
> 999 cases less efficiently and effectively.

As noted in prior post - mistakes work differently if you
haven't done something against the rules in dealing with
something that you got wrong. Being civil and informative
means that when you do manage to occasionally get it wrong
you haven't burned your bridges.

A key point here is that you have previously openly admitted
to using violent behaviour (as would be so identified by say
50%+ of most populations) as a tool for sorting out those
"who need it". That's your prerogative in areas where you
are king. But here the rules that you have agreed to DEMAND
(and that doesn't mean ask :-) ) that you not do this. But
it is important to you that you do this to the extent that
you break the rules that you agree to time after time after
time after time after ... . After a while the admins just
give up. You are asking to not be treated differently but
simultaneously DEMANDING that you be allowed to behave
differently to what others are allowed to OR that the rules
be changed so that you and everyone can behave as you demand
that they should be allowed to. In your terms (and probably
the admins, although I can in no wise speak for them) it
isn't going to happen, this is the way it is, get over it.

It so happens that I sympathise with the points you make
about laziness etc AND with the admins desire for a
community that is a civil step up from the societal norm.
They have deemed that correction of the miscreant can be
achieved in a polite manner and I'm inclined to agree. It
may be that the lazy get a few posts in in which they seek
to do things badly, but the average list member will give
them a politely hard time until they get the idea. Olin's
education system MAY achieve marginally faster results
occasionally, but the fallout is unacceptable.

{Quote hidden}

As above.
I think that NOBODY here disagrees with you on this.
It's the manner of the "calling" that's at issue.

If you can't stick to the rules you should be called on it.
Right?

> James
> used to understand the distinction between "this is wrong"
> versus "you are a
> stupid person", but lately can't seem to see the
> difference.

There may be some truth in that (or may not) but I think you
rather more than balance his leanings on even the fairest of
days :-).

> Being told you are wrong is no reason for a fight.  Either
> you think you're
> right and you explain why, you realize you're wrong and
> say "oops", or think
> the accusation is so ridiculous or you don't want to waste
> time and you
> don't respond at all.

Point understood BUT being trashed by someone in public can
be amongst the most unpleasant mental experiences going.
People have killed for less. That this may not be rational
or how we'd hope they'd behave is not the point. People are
built in a wide spectrum of behaviours (as you
know)(perhaps) and while you can't accommodate them all, you
can allow for somewhat more than average sensibilities.You
tend not to.

> I challenge you to find a single case where I got upset
> when someone pointed
> out a mistake I made.  In some cases I might disagree and
> explain why I
> think I'm right.  Usually when I see that I got something
> wrong I say
> something like "Oops, sorry for the confusion"

Not often :-) (Once in 100 of your posts by a quick search).
But in fact I don't expect you to be wrong most of the time
so, apart from people abusing I don't see the need for many
sorry's from you.

{Quote hidden}

The second version MAY be factual BUT is almost certainly
not a factual improvement (sometimes it helps to quantify
how a knowledge level relates) and comes under the "some
will die at that abuse level" as above. Just because YOU
have a thick skin (not quite as thick as you affect
methinks)(not a bad thing) and just because YOU think that
it's unnacceptable for people to be so sensitive does not
make you correct (you may be) or give you the right to break
list rules. Which is ultimately what the point is here. Your
arguments may have merit, or much merit. Or may not. and
James may be getting all touchy feely in his older age. Or
may not. BUT you may not ride roughshod over the rules, no
matter how stupid you see them as being. You insist
repeatedly that you can and ultimately the admins insist
that you mustn't and can't. Get past that problem and all
the rest is plain sailing. Refer the turkeys to me and I'll
abus .. er correct e them gently and lovingly. :-)

Last thought. A young man came here some years ago and
behaved in some marginal manner. I can't remember the
details. You laid into him immensely and he returned a few
volleys, then got abusive and James banned him (AFAIR). That
seemed a fair thing to do although it wouldn't have happened
if you hadn't lambasted him. I followed his trail around the
web a little and it appears that he is/was borderline
suicidal. He MAY be one of those people who spend years
going around being borderline suicidal as a way of life. Or
he may have been like one of my friends long ago. Hopefully
he was in the former category and is still gracing lists
somewhere, but I hope you would not want to have been the
trigger for anyone's death, no matter how many other things
had put them in that position, and no matter what degree of
stupidity they exhibited. Some people are in a sad and sorry
state. They need more of our care, not less.



       Russell





>
>
> ********************************************************************
> Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts,
> http://www.embedinc.com/products
> (978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.
> --

2008\05\30@124917 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:

> It really doesn't matter if someone said "No, that should be 200 ohms."
> versus "anyone that passed 7th grade math can see that it should be 200
> ohms.".

Sometimes and for some it does matter. Can we agree on the first option? It
seems to be the "safer" choice (and also the more efficient one :).

Gerhard

2008\05\30@150711 by olin piclist

face picon face
Apptech wrote:
> No. The rules which we have all agreed to live under say
> that we are not ALLOWED to bawl people out, let alone in an
> A&R manner.

You keep saying that we have all agreed to some rules, but there is
obviously much difference in people's interpretation, so it's impossible for
all to agree to exactly the same set of rules.  This is especially so since
the rules have changed a lot since I've been on the PIClist, and I don't
remember any official copy of them being changed along with the enforcement
threshold.

The first few years I was on the list, there was relatively little
interference from James.  Every once in a while he might grumble about
something I said, but that's all, so it was of little consequence.
Eventually he got all bothered for some reason and started deleting people
for things that would have yielded a grumble at best only a year earlier.
Now I'm not even sure how he would react to a well deserved "RTFM", although
I would continue to say that in the relatively rare cases I felt it was
appropriate.

This list has become waaaaaay to PC, to the point of cutting into useful
content.

> Point understood BUT being trashed by someone in public can
> be amongst the most unpleasant mental experiences going.
> People have killed for less. That this may not be rational
> or how we'd hope they'd behave is not the point.

It is exactly the point.  If they behave irrationally the blame and burden
should be on them, not the person delivering the message that they didn't
like.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\05\30@210930 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
face
Olin Lathrop wrote:

> almost free.  Even "We think it works just fine, get over it." would be far
> better than nothing.  Silence basically says "You peons are so insignificant
> that we don't even need to acknowledge you have issues, let alone address
> any of them.".  That's a slap in the face of those that have spent
> significant time over there answering questions to Microchip's benefit.  It
> made me feel like a chump, so I'm not that motivated to spend time over
> there right now.

Companies are becoming as PC as their managers are in person.

Telling any partner (in your case Olin, as a Microchip PIC consultant)
or other customers that phrase, "We think it works fine, get over it",
would never happen.  Someone would get fired.

Perhaps you have this type of open relationship with your customers, but
could you really say that to them about things you've made?  I just ask
out of curiosity.

Heck I have that kind of relationship with some of the INDIVIDUALS at
the companies I serve in my support role, but I could never document or
place that phrase in an e-mail.  It would come around to bite me in the
ass when someone more PC than I, misinterpreted it.  BUT I can take care
of my customers by calling them on the phone and telling them "like it
is" when something embarrassing or otherwise stupid happened and caused
their problems.  Sometimes those conversations can't happen in earshot
of management, though.

Good support people and front-line staff know this, almost intuitively.
  And it's VERY hard to teach to new staff -- you learn it over time.

It takes years to know when the right thing to do is to call someone up
and tell them, "I'm turning in an Engineering Request to get that
feature you want, but I know from past history with similar requests,
that you will NEVER see that feature from this company."

A larger business, certainly won't allow someone to send you the phrase
you requested in today's PC environment.  Thus... sadly (I hate it too),
the customer or partner gets zero information instead, as the "safe" way
for the company to respond.

Others may have noticed this, but I'll affirm my experience is that if
you see your vendors "clamming up" about something you're asking them
about -- there's a damn good possibility that the answer back to you
would have been negative.  They may need more time to "forumlate" their
answer, or you may never hear anything.  Often, you'll have to ask more
than once.

It's a sad way to look at things, to assume the worst when you don't
hear back from them, but it's becoming more and more common that their
staff simply can't say anything negative about the organization, the
products, or even communicate the organization's goals, without the
likelihood of losing their job and livelihood.  At least until they find
an organization who wants someone with their skills, and doesn't mind
how frank they are.

The only news you'll get from most vendors is "good" news.  And if you
find a vendor who will speak the truth, they're usually a) on top of
their market-space, and b) more expensive than the rest... at least in
my experience anyway.

Go figure.  Tell your customers what's REALLY going on with things,
charge them enough to really investigate their issues, and you win.

More companies should take that to heart.

On a new topic:

I am going to say this, not out of being mean or rude, but perhaps as a
way to point out something...

Olin, you admit don't like it when someone makes you feel like a chump
and that it de-motivates you.  Some of the past goings-on have made your
"targets" of your messages to the list here feel like chumps.  Whether
you meant to or not, it did.  But, you repeatedly say that it "doesn't
matter" how you present the information they want.

I think the above is proof-positive that it does.  Everyone feels like a
 chump sometimes.  No point in causing that to happen more than necessary.

I don't say that to make you feel uncomfortable or "like a chump", and I
am certainly not going to jump on this crazy thread's bandwagon of "me
too!" types who are going to take any opportunity to flame Olin (or on
the other side, flame PICList/James).

I just think it interesting that there ARE things that make you feel
"like a chump" and yet, you don't mind making others feel like chumps.

It's only mentioned as food for thought.  NOT as an attack.

I think that, whether it is done intentionally or not, it is better to
try to NOT make others feel bad about their knowledge levels, no matter
where they are on the learning curve, until you at least have some type
of relationship with them -- something more than just answering a
mailing list message in public.

If you feel like you've got enough of a relationship with someone to be
at a stage where you could call yourself their MENTOR (or the old ham
radio phrase, Elmer), then it's more appropriate to give them a hard
time, if they're willing to learn and aren't overly sensitive to such
things.  I get crap all the time from RF Engineering buddies who I have
as mentors -- they know things I don't, and they'll flat-out ask me...
"What the HELL are you doing?!"

But in public... on a mailing list, that's not the response I would
normally expect from someone.

Judging whether or not someone is in a "teachable" place in their head,
is more difficult than deciding whether or not to broil them with words,
however.  Especially in e-mail.

Avoid broiling, build relationships... people respect that.

That's my viewpoint on all this silliness.

The only people who care about PICList at all (or claim to) are the
people here... lots of people get by every day without this group...
even ones using PIC microcontrollers!  :-)

It's just not all as important as we all think it is.  What makes it
important to all of us is that in some way, we care about PICList.  But
we're all here for different reasons.

For a more general feel for why I think the way I do, I tend to agree
with some morsels of "truth" I gleaned from a small book, and its
author, who's website is listed below.

I'm not very "religious" or "spiritual" but this guy's book and his
"Four Agreements" are a pretty damn good start for how to live a pretty
satisfying life:

http://www.toltecspirit.com/

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you
mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about
others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a
projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to
the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless
suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid
misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you
can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different
when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply
do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

The book he wrote is small and a fast read, and explains what he means a
little better than the above list... you can take his added spiritualism
or religion or whatever you like to call it that he's wrapped these
pretty simple "common sense" rules in, and take it or leave it... but
the "Agreements" themselves are pretty good things to agree to try to do.

<http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424505/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212194952&sr=8-1>

I can think of a number of "religious" people (in the more church-going
sense of the word) who could learn a lot and be a lot happier if they'd
attempt to do the above four things in their lives and stop worrying
about their "religion".

(And for the record, I do have religious beliefs that don't necessarily
align with the author's in any way and that also can't be scientifically
or medically proven.  That's why they're called religious beliefs!)

Nate

2008\05\30@233410 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
Nate Duehr wrote:
> Heck I have that kind of relationship with some of the INDIVIDUALS at
> the companies I serve in my support role, but I could never document or
> place that phrase in an e-mail.  It would come around to bite me in the
> ass when someone more PC than I, misinterpreted it.  BUT I can take care
> of my customers by calling them on the phone and telling them "like it
> is" when something embarrassing or otherwise stupid happened and caused
> their problems.  Sometimes those conversations can't happen in earshot
> of management, though.
>
> Good support people and front-line staff know this, almost intuitively.
>   And it's VERY hard to teach to new staff -- you learn it over time.

You betcha.

Years ago, I tried to explain and apologize for an embarrasing mistake via
e-mail. Instead of trying to understand my POV and accepting the apology,
the customer posted my reply on a public forum, and ridiculed me and the
company I worked for.

I told myself, "Never Again".

Vitaliy

2008\05\31@014548 by fred jones

picon face

> From: olin_piclistspamKILLspamembedinc.com> To: .....piclistKILLspamspam.....mit.edu> Subject: Re: [ADMIN]: Question about member> Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 09:07:44 -0400> > fred jones wrote:> > Yes, my first post here many years ago as a complete newbie was an> > attack on me by Olin. Said I was lazy and he didn't have time to do> > my work for me.> > I note that you're not claiming I was wrong, only that you didn't like it.> And what harm exactly was done? Even though you protest, it probably got> you to clean up your act. I bet you did your homework properly before the> next post.>

OH NO sir, you were absolutely wrong!  You don't know me.  You don't know what I'm capable of.  You made incorrect assumptions which IS YOUR PROBLEM OVER AND OVER AGAIN!  I had explained that it had been 15 years since I had graduated college and had not worked in the electronics field.  I was getting back into electronics and I discovered PICs which weren't around when I graduated.  I jumped on here and asked some questions which others seemed just all too happy to answer.  I was what you would probably deem over zealous to ask questions but only because of my excitement to find PICs and to find the PIClist.   I had already ordered several books on PICs, development boards, test equipment, etc. etc. I just had questions I wanted answered before the material arrived. I don't believe that makes me lazy or stupid.  If you made the assumption I was lazy and stupid, you could have and should have kept your damned mouth shut.  I wasn't embarassed for me, I was embarassed for you.  My point was, in the time it took you to write out a message based on incorrect assumptions, you could have either answered my questions or turned off your computer.  It is obvious over the years that you lift your own ego by berating others.  You've shown it over and over and you don't understand why you get thrown off and sensored.  You don't see anyone else around here doing it.
> If you can't stand someone calling you on it when you're lazy or do> something stupid, you don't belong on the internet or much anywhere else in> life.
That is more of your arrogant BS.  All everyone here is asking is that you treat people with dignity and respect.  You have proven yourself incapable of this over and over and this is why you get thrown off or sensored.  You simply can't behave.

Stop and think instead, and you'd realize that you're still intact,> your computer still works, you can still posts messages, and others are> still free to respond to them as they see fit. If you think about it and> still disagree that you were being lazy, it's real easy to brush off a> single post from some *hole at the other end of the internet. The amount of> fuss someone makes is generally proprtional to how much they feel embarassed> and then get defensive.>

And now you are arrogant enough to think you actually helped me?!?!  You are a piece of work!> > In fact, he must have spent 20 or 30 minutes on the> > very long email to explain why I was lazy and the criteria it took to> > get him to reply to a post with help.> > So you're complaining that I went out of my way to explain what you did> wrong and how to do it right next time.>
No, I'm complaining that you made incorrect assumptions and thought it was your job to spank me for it and wonder how many times you've done this and thinned out this list of possible valuable contributors.

Olin, half the time you respond to threads, they are one or two non-sense answers that contributed absolutely nothing but you did it in order to get your advertising on here which you spew with every post you make.  You can't fool me.  Is that a correct assumption?   I believe it is.> > ********************************************************************> Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products> (978) 742-9014. Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.>

2008\05\31@024631 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
fred jones wrote:
> OH NO sir, you were absolutely wrong!  [snipped the rest]

Olin might be (a bit?) rude at times, I don't recall him complaining
about rude language used against him. Unless this response from you
(fred) was meant as a parody, you are now using language that you object
to. Maybe people should follow the rules of their environment, but
surely the should follow their own rules!

The rest of this (my) email is just some rambling, skip it if you want
definite answers.

Olin wrote:
> If you can't stand someone calling you on it when you're lazy or do
> something stupid, you don't belong on the internet or much anywhere
else in
> life.

This might be a crucial line in the "Olin" discussion. Does a person
have the right to be stupid and ask stupid questions (stupid ==
something he/she could have found out very easily)? Does (another)
person have the right to express a (mild?) anger at this (perceived?)
stupidity? Does the first person have the right to get angry over the
anger expressed by the second person? Does anyone have the right to
misinterpret a post and act on that misinterpretation?

I have my opinion on these questions, but my opinion is not too relevant
here. I don't spend hours regulating this list, nor do or did I spend
much time explaining things (Olin-style or any other style) to newbies.
But I do note that the list has got a lot less interesting over the past
few years. Whether that has anything to do with Olin or other
heavyweights leaving I don't know. The Microchip fora probably took over
a part of the PIC-related traffic. A pity they don't have an email
interface...

Teaching is one way I earn my living. I use both the 'silk glove' and
the 'heavy hammer' methods to get my message through. For some students
both work, for some one works and the other does not, for some neither
work. I think I choose the right method in most cases, but who can be sure?

Back to the quote from Olin: I think he is perfectly right, but OTOH I
strongly believe that the ones who do they dirty work (the admins)
should have the
final call. For better or for worse, this list is what it is thanks to
the moderators, and anyone who wants to do it otherwise is free to join
them or set up his own list. I am subscribed to the yahoo piclist, but I
don't even have a sorting rule for it, not worth it for the few mails
each week. So the admins must be doing something right ;)

Still, I miss Olins contributions, both for the technical content
(although I think he is wrong in pushing assembler) and for the (to me)
very funny way he points out laziness, mistakes, etc. He is either
right, or he adds a nice touch of color to the list. I both cases I
loved to read his contributions.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\05\31@094734 by olin piclist

face picon face
fred jones wrote:
> I had already ordered several books on PICs,
> development boards, test equipment, etc. etc. I just had questions I
> wanted answered before the material arrived.

All Microchip manuals are on line.

> I don't believe that
> makes me lazy or stupid.

You are of course entitled to your opinion.  Without a reference to the post
in question, there is no way for others to form their opinion.

> If you made the assumption I was lazy and
> stupid, you could have and should have kept your damned mouth shut.

I could have and usually do, but every once in a while it's good to explain
to people why they are not getting as much help as they otherwise would.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\05\31@142226 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
PAUL James wrote:
> I have spoken to Olin Lathrop recently, and he feels that he is getting
> treated in ways that the general population isn't.

Olin is being treated that way because he's acting in ways that the general
population doesn't find acceptable.

Most people learn the concepts of "politeness" and "consequences" at a young
age. So Olin needs to stop calling people names, or stop whining and accept
the consequences.

Tamas Rudnai said:
{Quote hidden}

Your reaction to Olin's "slap" says a lot of good things about you as a
person, but does not at all justify Olin's behavior. I consider myself
rather thick-skinned (thanks, PICList! ;), but it still jarrs me.

Olin's defense is that he's being rude for the benefit of the victim (and
the "greater good"). Most victims (and observers) agree that the same (I
would argue, better) results can be achieved without publicly humiliating
the poster. I think it's hypocritical how he tries to fix what he thinks is
wrong with this world (the "stupid" and "lazy" people), but doesn't make the
least of effort to change something that he has the most control over.

Martin wrote:
> Same here: I learned quickly enough to do my own research. I've met Olin
> in person and he's a nice guy, believe it-- or not. He may lash back a
> little hard in email, but if a person is asking for help they shouldn't
> be upset at the responses they get. Especially if they're not paying for
> it.

Martin, your logic escapes me. You are saying that the person should *pay
for not being insulted*?!

Consider this: your battery died, and you ask a stranger if they can give
you a jump start. Is it OK for the stranger to yell at you, call you a lazy
a*hole, and give you a long lecture on how if you weren't such a stupid
a*hole you would have remembered to turn off your headlights ?

Does the fact that the stranger is an expert mechanic justify his behavior?

> We're not in highschool anymore (most of us?)

Most adults do not use profanity in public, nor lash out at strangers. In
that sense, I'd say Olin's behavior is on a "Junior High" level.

Civility is one of those things where if you claim you're not being rude,
but 100 people say you are, they are probably correct.

Vitaliy

PS I believe Martin when he says that in person, Olin is a nice guy.
Unfortunately, many Dr. Jekyls use the internet as an excuse to become Mr.
Hydes. I noticed that about myself early on, and now I think that my "real"
and "virtual" selves are more in sync. I try not to say things online that I
wouldn't say to the person's face, and vice versa. The Internet transformed
me from a very shy person into someone very outspoken. I can attest that the
"real life" does not have much tolerance for "truth" or points of view not
generally accepted, and carries more serious consequences for speaking one's
mind, than the virtual realm. :-)

2008\05\31@161103 by sergio masci

flavicon
face


On Sat, 31 May 2008, Olin Lathrop wrote:

{Quote hidden}

So many people on this list keeping quite over this thread. Guess it's
time to stand up and be counted.

I don't like the way Olin berates people on this list. I REALLY don't like
the way Olin offered to help James Paul on condition that the admins of
this list let him off the leash.

Regards
Sergio Masci

2008\05\31@190802 by Jim

flavicon
face
Can I ask everyone to drop the [ADMIN] tag from this thread please?

I am now totally bored (my personal viewpoint) with this subject and am on
the verge of blocking all admin posts.

This is NO LONGER an admin subject, and whilst Olin's behaviour may or may
not have upset someone, I am now losing the will to live.

-Jim


{Original Message removed}

2008\05\31@193512 by David Meiklejohn

face
flavicon
face
Sergio Masci wrote:

> So many people on this list keeping quite over this thread. Guess it's
> time to stand up and be counted.

Ok, fair enough.

I haven't been subscribing to this list very long (about a year, I think),
and so have missed the posts and flamewars being mentioned.  But I do know
of Olin's style from the Microchip forum, before he sadly (but justifiably,
in my opinion) disappeared from there.

I have never had a problem with anything that Olin has written (that I have
seen).  I have seen him being "impolite", sure - but in every case I have
thought the same myself.  For example when a student appears with an
assignment that they want done for them, often saying it's "urgent" because
it's probably due soon and they haven't done any work.  Or when, to answer
someone, I go and look at the data sheet, I do wonder why the person
couldn't have done that themselves.

I do agree that it is important to be polite, but I also agree with Olin
that when someone asks a question that, with just a little work, they could
easily answer for themselves, or if their question shows that they really
haven't considered the problem and just want an answer on a plate - that is
also rude, and arrogant.  I personally don't have a problem with the way
that Olin responds to those situations.

Perhaps I would have a problem if it was directed at me?  I don't know.  All
I can say is that I would like to see Olin feel free to contribute to both
the PIClist and the Microchip forum.


Regards,
David Meiklejohn
http://www.gooligum.com.au



2008\05\31@202448 by Jinx

face picon face
> I personally don't have a problem with the way that Olin responds
> to those situations
>
> Perhaps I would have a problem if it was directed at me?  I don't
> know

I respectfully suggest that you do know

> All I can say is that I would like to see Olin feel free to contribute
> to both the PIClist and the Microchip forum

And for that to happen, *something* has to change

2008\05\31@204402 by Jinx

face picon face
> I am now losing the will to live

Hang in there Jim

I've countered "lazy and stupid" people (who actually seem to
have been fairly thin on PIClist ground for quite a while, since
they found the Microchip forums presumably), with

"How to ask questions the smart way"

http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

The onus is then on them to show what they've done on their
own behalf. BTW "stupid" is not a word I'd use. Often ;-)

Secondly, if the response to questions is always going to elicit
a response along the lines of "I know how to do it, how about
you **** off and read a book, or trawl the web for years so
you'll know how to do it too, or just go away and come back
when your balls have dropped", what is the point of discussion
forums ? Might just as well leave everyone to their own devices
(literally and figuratively)

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