Tuesday, 5 February 2013

It's Always OK To Refuse To Entertain Trolls

A brief pause from the usual outpourings of code and blather to talk about a serious topic.

A few people in an online SharePoint comm to which I was recently invited expressed mild disagreement with my last post. Probably because it is safer to use JQuery and easier to maintain for administrators. The post merits debate and criticism, I agree. It could have been an opportunity for discussion. But.

One person trolled me. He was negative, provocative and told me I did not know what I was talking about. I told him that I would not entertain responses that were uncivil, as his was. After all, I didn't know this man from Adam and he had never responded to any of my posts before (presumably I had not yet done anything to give him excuse to find fault, so affording him little pleasure.)

In response I got a big pile of rage. The gist of same being that I needed to learn humility and take criticism.

One tiny problem: I cannot take criticism where none has been given.
No link, no technology, no reasons why, nothing. Just rage from start to finish.

Real criticism says, even briefly, what is wrong and why - and if there is time for the critic to suggest a fix, it contains that too. It may be trenchant. But emotional abuse is not there to criticise or suggest. It is there to offend, provoke and get a kick of some sort. What he was doing was not criticism. It was a game to provide him with something he lacked in himself.

For anyone who has experienced this: it is always OK not to entertain a troll, no matter who they are or what their level of mastery might be, and even if your work merits criticism, as mine does.

True mastery never seeks to belittle, or boast, or distress. True mastery contains the real humility this false master has accused me of lacking.

True mastery comes from love.

The person concerned, a prominent voice in the "SharePoint community", is known for, and prides himself on, his intolerance. I'm sure I'm not the first to earn his displeasure, and no doubt his response to me would be along the same tired lines of oh I can't take criticism, I write bad code and I won't learn.

To which I would respond: Strive to be fit to teach first.

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