Be nice

This happens with disturbing frequency…

An Eclipse user is frustrated. S/he been trying to make something work for a few hours. Maybe even a few days. It’s just not working like s/he thinks it should be. Finally, s/he decides to send me a note. In that note, s/he questions my parentage, or muses openly about whether or not the synapses in my brain where functioning properly when I decided how I was going to implement some API or feature in Eclipse. In short, in frustration, s/he writes a nasty note with an underlying question or two about how something is supposed to work in Eclipse. In my response, I am nice. I completely ignore the nastiness and focus entirely on the problem expressed. I understand that the sender is frustrated. I always try very hard to answer questions earnestly and provide pointers to more information. Some hours later, I get a much more nicely worded note back thanking me for my thoughtful response along with an apology for the earlier rudeness. In that final response, the obvious frustration is replaced with obvious embarrassment.

Frankly, you don’t have to be nice when you email me. I’m going to be nice in my response regardless. However, I think it’s better for all involved if you are nice. It’ll save you from being embarrassed later.

General rule: take a deep cleansing breath before you type that email. More importantly, don’t wait until you’re frustrated. If you just don’t get it, and Google isn’t helping, try the forums. Then try me.

FWIW, my parents are both fine, upstanding, and productive members of society who have dedicated their lives to public service.

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