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Recent Threads

Folks:

Recently, I've noticed a lot of threads like this:

"Poor Me, my boss is a jerk"
"Poor Me, everyone is hiring for a specific skill set!"
"Poor Me, everyone is hiring for experience!"
"Poor Me, my customers don't know what they want"

etc, etc.

At the same time, I've noticed by interest in JOS::Forums has dropped considerably.  I just don't browse as often.

I know I'm going to get flamed for this - but have you noticed that the one thing these posts have in common is the victim language?  The "It's not my fault - let's talk about how it's someone else's fault" - ness of the posts?

Look carefully - the very language itself is designed to shift responsibility.

Now, if these guys assumed that, yes, it is thier fault (even if it isn't), we could give advice about how to fix it or how to deal with it or how to improve.  However, that could bruise the ego.  When people have offered advice like "you could do this and this and this and this", it's often been rejected, sometimes with replies like "Jerk!  How dare you tell me it's my fault!!"

My $0.02:  Fault does not matter. You are the only you have direct control over, so you are the only one that you can change to respond to a situation.

Victim-language (or "trolling for sympathy") only makes you feel better.  Actually doing something about it - well - that can change things.

I was reading "Getting it done: How to lead when you're not in charge" yesterday and found this quote:

"You have another reason to look further.  Ascribing all fault to coworkers is a dead end.  If the problem is that you worlk with bad people, then there is nothing to do except resign yourself to the current situation - or resign your job and go elsewhere.  It would be a LUCKY BREAK for you if at least part of the problem were the result of your behavior.  Then you could improve the situation by improving your contribution ..."

Make sense?  If we want to talk about people problems - that's what I'd like to talk about on JOS - how to fix it.

Just My $0.02 ...

Matt H.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

add:

- "How to do a basic app in VB?"
- "Java vs .NET"
- "Goto here or go nowhere"
- "Forum code 10.000.001 times"

na
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Come up with something better to talk about, or you're part of the problem... ;-)

;-)
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Are most developers democrats?

apw
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

"Java vs .NET"

Probably one of the most interesting topics out there today!!!!! Why would you not want to talk about it????????

I use both and appreciate others' experience with the languages & tools!

GenX'er
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Matt,

You've hit the nail there.  It was starting to feel like an AA meeting around here :)

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

> "Poor Me, my boss is a jerk"
> "Poor Me, everyone is hiring for a specific skill set!"
> "Poor Me, everyone is hiring for experience!"
> "Poor Me, my customers don't know what they want"

How about adding

"Poor Me, I don't like recent threads" :)

<gdr>
--

"Suravye ninto manshima taishite (Peace favor your sword)" (Shienaran salute)
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again" (Amys, Aiel Wise One)

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Matt,

why not start some interesting treads yourself?

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Easy There Mr. Robert Jordan!

:-)

GenX'er
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I think a few people are missing the point of Matt's post.  He's not just complaining that the forum has become boring.

The point he is raising is the victim mentality that is prevalent in so many of the posts.  People aren't looking for solutions, but rather somebody to pat them on the back and say 'there, there.  None of it is your fault.'

I like the quote a lot.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Ged, Matt,

I think you are overreacting. Seriously, look at the last 50 treads and give me a % that you consider falls under the "victim looking for a cuddle" label.

Hey, I'd rather keep this a "chin up boy" type of gig than a place were the bootcamp drillsergant from hell is the dominant archetype.
Before you know it a place once a shady tree under which you eat a sandwich with some colleagues  turns into a pubescent "RTFM" scatting pisscreeck a la http://slashdot.org .

I'd rather err on the soft side.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

for all the 'victim' threads, there are about 20 replies per thread where some jackass is taking his work/live/love frustrations out on the OP by posting useless crap such as

"Get over it"
"Just deal with it"
"You're a loser"


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

> "A public forum for open discussion of topics raised on Joel on Software."

Herein lies the problem.  Joel doesn't have anything to say.  People crave more writings by Joel.  Joel doesn't have anything to say.  People decide to talk about other things.

The responsibility to keep the discussion forum focused on Joel's writings is, quite frankly, his own.  It's up to him what gets posted here and what doesn't.  That is his building communities "deal".  If the above statment represents what this forum is about then Joel has to step up to the plate and make it so.  I think the community will crumble if Joel doesn't come up with any new writings because silently deleting threads only works for so long until every thread posted is a re-hash and/or is "off topic".  New articles bring new people and fresh ideas.

Dave B.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

=="there are about 20 replies ....... where some jackass is taking ..... frustrations out on the OP" ----

That's because we are compassionate beings who understand the OP's need to feel victimized :)

You know the one about the sadist and the masochist.

The masochist says, "Hit me, hit me!"

And the sadist says, "No."

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Dave B,

Sorry to say, but this is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about.  It's all Joels fault and we have no responsibility ourselves.

Sir,

I know what you mean.  The other week I jumped on some poor soul asking some J2EE questions because I mistook him for a 'do my homework'er.  Still feel guilty, and I'm going to stay quiet in future unless I have something worthwhile to say.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Instead of this useless rubbish, those of us/you that have some insight in their own part of the industry should write about it and post the links in this forum.  That way the burden is not only on Joel =)

GiorgioG
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Ged,

I am simply pointing out that it is Joel's responsibility to hold >his< community together by creating a basis of discussion and moderating this forum.  I am not saying that we shouldn't take responsibility for ourselves and what we post on >his< discussion board, but when there is nothing to say, there is nothing to say and people will start to post things like what you've seen lately.  No amount of silent thread deletion can avoid this.  There has to be new content.

Dave B.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003


FYI:

  I think the 'what would a sane person do' thread is pretty good.  The person is asking for help about a bad situation, asking "What can I do?" instead of shrugging his shoulders.

just my $0.02 ...

Matt H.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Most of the "poor me" posts I have seen focus around a crisis.  The crisis is generally one of employment  While you may find the posts trying, they serve a purpose and it is for the poster. 

When someone loses, or fears losing their job, they enter a crisis mode.  Our worst and best personality traits come out at that time.  Suddenly, the guy you have been friends with for 12 years is a competitor for "your" job.  Or your boss appears to be questioning your value.  Whether real or not, the perception can be damning on your soul.

In that context, here is one page from a family crisis manual that may put this in perspective.  I am not suggesting we become Dr. Laura or Dr. Phil, but it may put perspective around seeing more of these posts lately.

http://www.headstartinfo.org/pdf/supportingfam_crisis/Handout2-3.pdf

Mike Gamerland
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The problem with the job crisis posts are that the situation is nearly always out of the posters control.

To paraphrase Micawber. Vacancies 2.050, Applicants 2,000; joh-hunters market, pay rises all round and snooker tables in the corridor. Vacancies 1,950, Applicants 2,000; much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

And if you spend 20% of your time looking through resumes (admittedly not in IT) then you do get a little annoyed at all the I hate HR droids stuff.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Actually,  I've just realised whats wrong with all thses 'poor me' posts.

Bella isn't there telling them what for in his own unique style.

Bella's contributions where what kept those posts interesting in the past.

I wish I had the guts to take his place.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I think the problem with the threads lately involve many posts being too abrasive in tone, regardless of whether or not it is in defense or offense. I think that some people (though not everyone, as evidenced in the majority of posts) have forgotten that this a forum for communication, not ego-boosting. Anyways, to those of you who keep the humor present and the mood light, thanks.
Laters.

Tim Miller
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

...communication, not ego-boosting...

Actually, I come for the herbal enemas.

Nat Ersoz
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

welcome back Matt H./

tapiwa
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

My interest in JoS has also waned recently, for what that's worth.  I don't think people are whining much, though; I think most of them are genuinely confused about a situation and are asking for help.

Actually, my interest has waned mainly because of the preponderance (sp?) of bug-fixing posts.  I'm not interested in reading posts asking why some snippet of VB.NET code doesn't work.

Brent P. Newhall
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Stop whining like a girl and if you don't like things here, then leave.

<g>

Not Bella, but trying
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

So, Brent - it's easy to say what you aren't interested in reading about.  The question is: what are you interested in reading?

Bah humbug
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Not  Bella, and not trying hard enough either

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Since you asked....

I'm interested in discussions about difficult programming problems -- AI, data-driven UIs, modelling, etc.

I'm interested in discussions of actual experiences, and what actually went wrong.  This is in contrast to purely theoretical discussions about the best way to solve a problem.  In other words, instead of reading "This might work" I'd rather read "I've seen this work in the past."  I'm not casting aspersions on anyone here, and I recognize that we all have limited experiences; I'm stating overall preferences.  I want to deal with reality more than speculation.

I freely admit that I am doing nothing to change the board to my taste.  However, I have little desire to do so.  I do not see the board's current state as a problem.  I'm just discussing my tastes.

However, writing this has given me some additional ideas on how to seed this board with some interesting discussions.  Thank you for asking, Bah humbug.

Brent P. Newhall
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Matt, I perceive a difference between what you describe and what I read on here - I don't see "wah! My boss sucks" - I see "here's the situation, what should *I* do?"

I see people *trying* to be proactive in untenable situations. I see people trying to work things out. I don't see whining, I see requests for help in problem-solving.

Also remember the Usenet effect - it's human nature to talk about bad situations, but people generally don't seek out a forum to simply say "wow, my boss is great, my project is on time, and the company just bought me a dual head rig with 24" monitors!"

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I don't see "wah! My boss sucks" - I see "here's the situation, what should *I* do?"


I see some of both -- more of the former lately.

I -like- the latter.  It's a healthy discussion, and I'm for it.

So, you are worried because you're being blamed for X, what can you do about it - that's HEALTHY.

"My co-worker is a jerk" - that isn't.  Just an observation.

As long as we keep it healthy, this list is great ...

Matt H.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The trouble with workplace related problems is that we really have no idea about what is really happening.

Take Real PC's latest post. Now is the woman simply a slacker who is trying to excuse herself for not doing her work with the cyber equivalent of "My dog ate my homework", or is she a person who is a little difficult but just needs a lot of handholding, or in fact is the problem that RealPC's application sucks, and it's just too easy to make mistakes?

Our advice will depend on which of the three scenario is closer to the truth, but we have no way of knowing.

And I think it's this inability to give genuine advice that causes people to treat some threads like episodes of Jerry Springer.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I've thought the quality of threads has been lacking a bit, recently. I don't mind the personal anecdotes and "what should I do" posts. I feel more qualified to answer them, anyway. I'm not a .NET coder, so can't help much with those kinds of questions.

I'm here for the software development "philosophy" I guess. Joel's articles about how to run projects and follow up discussion really interest me.

Now I'm almost...almost motivated to start a thread. I do have a relevant question/issue... finally, after 3 years of reading....

Yo, Not Bella, despite the <g> on your post, the "whining like a girl" was unnecessary. So, yeah, you succeeded in being like Bella. Congrats.

Lauren B.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The thing I don't understand about the .Net threads is whey they're not on the .Net forum.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

It could be because It seems that not even the moderators read the .Net forum anymore. =(

Sergio
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I really really dislike the negative threads too. But it's a free country :-/

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Free country huh

Well let me te...

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Matt H. wrote, "Now, if these guys assumed that, yes, it is thier fault (even if it isn't), we could give advice about how to fix it or how to deal with it or how to improve.  However, that could bruise the ego.  When people have offered advice like "you could do this and this and this and this", it's often been rejected, sometimes with replies like "Jerk!  How dare you tell me it's my fault!!"

My advice to you is to be selective in what you read and respond to. For example, I rarely post responses to threads that ask for help with a specific coding problem. IMO, answers to these type of questions can and should be sought elsewhere on the web. Helping others with specific coding problems is one of the main reasons why Java, VB, C++, ASP, etc. newsgroups exist.

Sure there are some negative threads here (or one's that eventually turn negative), but you are going to find those type of posts on just about every developer forum you visit. That said, I believe this forum (from a negativity standpoint) is a lot better than most.

Matt H. wrote, "At the same time, I've noticed by interest in JOS::Forums has dropped considerably.  I just don't browse as often."

Among several others, I visited the devx newsgroup forums the other day and most of them seem to be deader than a doornail.

I agree with Dave B. that "The responsibility to keep this discussion forum focused on Joel's writings is, quite frankly, his own.".  IMO, if Joel really wanted this forum to be a place where people could discuss software development issues in general he would (and should) have set it up differently. Many of the quality posts that can be found on this forum tend to drop off this board too quickly.

One Programmer's Opinion
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I didn't read this whole thread but, I'm sick of complaining. 

And I'm sick of complaining about complaining.

...

(I'm starting to see a pattern here.)

Wayne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Wayne,

All that recursion, you must be a Lisp programmer:)

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

[it's human nature to talk about bad situations, but people generally don't seek out a forum to simply say "wow, my boss is great, my project is on time]

I posted a couple of messages about good days at work and got 2 or 3 replies. When I post about how someone is driving me crazy, on the other hand, I get 40 or more replies. If I'm looking for attention here, I certainly want to post more negatives than positives.

And I like trying to debug interpersonal relationships.

The Real PC
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Poor Matt H, such a victim he is. Just Me has it spot on - if you don't like the tone of what is posted then contribute something else instead of whining about it.


Thursday, May 22, 2003

I'd like to see more focus on solutions rather than problems. Looking forward on how we can change things, deliver better projects, get more out of work and basically, make thigns better.

A quote I loved from the favourite quotes post sums it up for me:

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
      - Admiral Hyman Rickover (1900 - 1986)

Yanwoo
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Then all psychologists have small minds.

The Real PC
Thursday, May 22, 2003

>> Then all psychologists have small minds.

Not really.  Although they work with people, they mostly discuss events.

Yanwoo
Thursday, May 22, 2003

They try to understand human nature. So do some philosophers and polical scientists. In order to do that you have to think about examples of real people, and how they think and act.
When people gossip very often they are doing the same thing as psychologists -- analysing, generalizing, trying to make sense of things.

The Real PC
Thursday, May 22, 2003

The difficulty is not the victim thing, but in general moving something offtopic.  I am very interested in reading about the hard job market!  But talking about accepting only good programmers got stuck in his craw, and good information was gone because he flamed nearly every post.  Pointlessly self-defeating.

I am sorry, but if your job is about managing human interaction, you will definitely discriminate according to your perception of ability.  And while the gov't is democratic, businesses are NOT.  They're at best enlightened dictatorships, and that's mean but true.  There are ways to hack them.

anonymous
Thursday, May 22, 2003

you should add to that:

"Poor me, I don't like the recent threads"

     
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Um no, I just pity self-defeating people.  They could use the recent threads better than I can...

anonymous
Thursday, May 22, 2003

"And while the gov't is democratic, businesses are NOT."

Thank God!  Can you imagine businesses run by a mob of idiots?  (besides the gov't :)

apw
Thursday, May 22, 2003

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.
-- George Bernard Shaw

tapiwa
Friday, May 23, 2003

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