punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Rude Tech People

I am going to rant, and I have the perfect example to prove my point. Take a look at this thread. Pay attention to users "Blow Fish" and "elb." Keep in mind neither are moderators, and they are just normal people. Don't worry about the technical stuff, but pay attention to some of these phrases:

come on... you can try a bit harder.
If that's too "techie", I suggest you consult the "Examples" section, where it even fills in the italics for you.
i'll say it again. in bold to see if you pay attention: this is no free technical support.
so, you did some searching... didn't hurt, did it?
(sigh)... Sheep can't fish.

All the poster "Mal" wanted was some sort of simple answer, and what he got was attitude instead. I am going to focus on this "Blow fish" guy for a minute here.

I know his type. I have worked with people like him before, and I can just picture this guy in my head. Sometimes, when you or I think of how bad things are, think of how bad they must be for him. My friend Cheryl once postulated that people who act immature can trace this behavior to the exact time when something traumatic happened in their lives. Someone who acts like he's 13, like in this case, probably stopped growing socially around that age because something traumatic happened to him. And now, as an adult, he's still 13 in his attitude.

He's also scared. A lot. Notice how he clutches onto his knowledge. For instance, I *love* to share what I have experienced. I mean, this blog is a perfect example. A lot of programmers also love what they do, and almost boast their accomplishments to each other. There are two programmers I love to work with at my job, because they always share what they know. But some don't. Some have become greedy with their knowledge. I once met a guy who told me, "Never document. Always choose obscure ways to do things. That way, they can't fire you because they can't replace you." That's not true*, as I found out with the guy who said that, who was fired, and his "time bomb" in the SQL database didn't go exactly as he planned. That guy was a jerk. Blow fish is also a jerk in a similar vein, but since this is an open forum, a discussion for newbies, what does he have to gain by being this way? Dominance. And the only person who'd want to dominate such a forum anonymously would be someone whose real life is full of fear and lack of control.

Tools of people who need to feel this superior are patronization, sarcasm, indifference, and plain arrogance. His parents treated him this way, so he feels this is the appropriate way to treat others below him. His parents probably didn't have good parenting skills, and so tried to compensate for it by just forcing authority instead of explaining any rationalization behind their methods. Probably because they didn't want to expose their insecurity about parenting, or were just insecure in general. So now, as you see, Blow fish does the same thing. Instead of proving his superiority by just saying, "I did it this way, ha ha!" he holds his cards to his chest. Now, if it was just insecurity, you'd think he'd never post at all. But he didn't. He kept posting. And posting. Without giving up any of his secret knowledge. He CRAVES the attention, and doesn't care about the OpenBSD thing at all. It's not about what he knows, but how much better he looks that you.

Of course, sadly, his social skills notwithstanding, his immaturity gets in the way. First of all, his grammar and sentence structure. He uses all lower case letters, which I guess saves a step. His sentences consist of brief phrases, but oddly enough, his punctuation is mostly correct. I recall an old detective story where the sleuth guesses the ransom note left with poor spelling was a ruse, because the person who wrote the note knew proper punctuation, and thus was probably an educated person who was trying to look stupid. I think in this case, this person is impatient (a lot of us programmers write all in lower case, it's good coding), but probably has at least a high school education, if not some college as well. He values his intelligence. But is scared to death someone might be smarter than he is. Next, he quotes Black Sabbath as a .sig line. Okay, now, I may not care for Black Sabbath music, and I think Ozzy Ozbourne is kind of sad, really, but I am not in position to judge someone who loves his family and had to deal with the things he did. But to quote old 1970s rock lyrics like it's some sort of rebel elitist ... let's look at this, shall we?

Is your mind so small that you have to fall in with the pack wherever they run? is a line from Black Sabbath's song, "After Forever," from their album, "Master of Reality." It's a weird song, because the lyrics don't match the song style, but the lyrics are about someone who claims that God is real, and patronizes those who think he's not. The poetry used is almost similar to an evangelical rant, and the writer obviously believes that... well, here's how the song ends: "Perhaps you'll think before you say that God is dead and gone / Open your eyes, just realize that He's the one / The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate. / Or will you still jeer at all you hear? / ...Yes! I think it's too late!" Pretty preachy "booga booga" stuff. Now, I could take two lines of thought here. One, he likes this song because he's sure that God exists, and we're all sinners. Or more likely, two, thinks the line is really cool, and doesn't really know the song very well. I say more likely because he likes the "sheep" reference elb made. He probably has no idea about the history of Black Sabbath, just that they had cool guitar riffs and scream a lot, and made his parents mad. Possibly he likes the "booga booga" fear factor, and would also like to quote Alistair Crowley with "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," or "When walking in darkness... Do not try to make the Sun rise by self-sacrifice, but wait in confidence for the Dawn, and enjoy the pleasures of the Night meanwhile..." That sounds bad-ass from someone who wore black, too.

Keep in mind, that not only did Blow fish actually feel these things, but he posted them in an anonymous, public forum. He took time to write them down. That's the key. I admit, there have been some times I wanted to say, "Dude, you are so dumb," in a tech forum, but I keep silent because that doesn't help to say that. I gain nothing, and would look stupid. Blow fish bypassed that checkpoint, which explains the type of person he is. Of course, his online bio is empty, which while may sound symbolic, it's probably because he doesn't want people to find him. Then they'd know what a dork he really is. He's safe behind that wall of anonymity, flinging poo at passing tourists. My uncle says he works with people like this in the government all the time. Apparently, it's not something you automatically grow out of.

The icing on the cake with this joke is that elb, in *his* superiority complex, actually misdiagnosed the problem. My mother said "those that know the least yell the loudest," and that certainly proves true here. At least I own up to what I don't know. Timothy Leary said it best when he said, "My three favorite words in the English language are 'I don't know,' because every time I say that, I learn something."

I'll put Leary up against Ozzy any day.
* You can't get promoted, either.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000076.html
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