Helping those who allow themselves to be helped

I cannot decide if I was too harsh. I try not to let the usual drone of noobs on SO to get to me. My problem was that the OP is being both ignorant AND demanding. Read the post and let me know, I'm back and forth between being enraged and contrite.


Before reading the post: Why exactly does the “usual drone of noobs” has anything to do with you? Let them drone. Move along. So someone was ignorant AND demanding. Did he offend you? Is your existence, or well being depend on this person being knowledgeable or accepting?

After reading: I don’t find your replies, assuming no editing was done, to be harsh. I also don’t find the OP to be ignorant AND demanding. So he wants to violate encapsulation then claims this is part of OOP. If misunderstanding/misrepresenting encapsulation is so offending to anyone, I suggest ignoring the topic altogether, otherwise it’s the old special Olympics joke.

Honestly, it looks like he just plain wasn’t aware that in Perl you need to bring your own getters and setters and thought accessing the hash keys was the OOP interface in Perl. This has been mentioned, but only after the last post he made. As such it is yet impossible to actually determine whether he really wants to operate without proper encapsulation or will be happy to learn that there are better ways to do what he wants.

Also, i do remember you being on the noob side of the fence yourself not too long ago. ;)

It’s the “I had to suffer to get to where I am now and you should be put to the same task as everyone else, you noobs get off my forum”.


I don’t think you were wrong, Joel.

I think whether he was a n00b(tm) or not, it doesn’t change the fact he was ignorant (not being offensive, but rather saying “missing knowledge and information”) AND demanding. Actually, he was a total ass.

It’s important for me to note a few things, and I apologize for the long comment.

  • If you’re a noob or not, you still have to behave properly in order for people to help you. Hence your title “those who allow themselves to be helped”.
  • When you were a newbie (and although you’ve gained a fuckton of knowledge and experience in almost-zero time, you still are a newbie in some aspects - so all of us are), you were never an ass. You were understanding, respectful and kind. You were open to learning from others and never demanded anything of the language or the people helping you. You just learned and decided for yourself if the language is up to your task, and if the people helping you are the community you want to surround yourself with. It’s not “not fair” but simply incorrect to point at you the “you were a newbie once” finger.
  • I don’t think you’re being petty in the “someone’s wrong on the internet” kind of way. I think you’re frustrated at trying to help others but feeling undeserved backlash, so you turn to your friends and ask “was I wrong about this?” - it’s perfectly fine. And no, you were not wrong, and you shouldn’t feel bad, in my opinion.
  • My unsolicited advice? Try to shrug it off. You can’t help all the people all the time. The post title rings true. Move on, hopefully to someone who would appreciate your efforts.

Have a good day. :)

I know this is a “well, duh!” response, but maybe it’s worth thinking about.

In public internet exchanges (like on IRC, SO, mailing lists, etc) if I find myself annoyed, angered, or in any other negative state - I simply remove myself from it.

It’s really that simple. If I find myself wondering if I’m being too harsh, that’s a clear and immediate indicator that I need to step back.

More directly to your question - your response could certainly be interpreted as harsh. But I certainly don’t believe it was necessarily rude, or otherwise inappropriate. If you have concerns, and can think of an equally effective way to make your point, it can’t hurt to edit your response. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

A big internet-high-five for keeping these things in mind, and inviting bigger discussions about it.

Hell yes I’m coming to YAPC::NA! I’ve been here in Madison since Thursday. Today I hung out with rafl and ogi (hope that’s the correctly spelling).

Are you in Madison already?

Drop me a line: xsawyerx AAATTT cpan DD0TT org[anization].

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About Joel Berger

user-pic As I delve into the deeper Perl magic I like to share what I can.