Criticize Bluntly

One kind of CriticalStyle.

CriticizeBluntly means that our primary concern is with the facts and not the other person's ego. This is in contrast to CriticizeHelpfully, DontCriticizeCondemnOrComplain, and the PositiveDialog? community, where the primary concern is the other person's ego.

Proponents of blunt criticism, suggest that if the person you are criticizing is smart, he/she will know that CriticsAreYourBestFriends and will accept the criticism.

Although many people may not accept this style of criticism, some cultures may encourage this kind of brutal honesty to foster a CriticalSpirit.

-- CostinCozianu (edited by WikiGnome)

Some may think that CriticizeBluntly means yelling, screaming, and insulting your subject. However, this is a wishful and carcinogenic mutation of WilliamGlassner?'s ChoiceTheory?. An AntiPattern (strict sense), in that case. ChoiceTheory? is much more advanced than the conceited idea that, "No, really, I'm right, you're wrong, idiot." ChoiceTheory? works two ways, so if you are going to criticize insultingly, expect to be similarly whacked in the nuts.

ChoiceTheory? can be summarized as "Don't bullshit." If you respect your subject, you won't be condescending and patronizing when criticizing them. You should expect adults to be able to hold their composure when you say, "This code is broken. You're deleting objects on the stack." But you should similarly be able to take it when they say, "No, it's not broken. I'm deleting objects in place." You shouldn't respond, "You're an idiot. You can't delete objects on the stack. Learn some C++," because you're bullshitting. You're pretending you understood what deleting in place means when you didn't even hear it.

No bullshit is not just about bullshit; it's an attitude of honesty, clarity, respect, and care for your audience and yourself. You have to really respect your subject and listen to what they say. Anything else is childish behaviour. So when you are the receiving end of anger because you "criticized bluntly", you can't cry foul. You have to ask, "Why is she so mad at me?" And then, after some blunt self-criticism, you realize that you weren't listening hard enough to hear the silence inside your head. When she said, "deleting objects in place" your brain didn't process it. You had already lost so much respect for your subject, you were just standing there to bark orders at her.


Now go apologize. Good critics always apologize bluntly when they are wrong.

"I'm sorry. I was a complete idiot, and totally out of line. Let me buy you some beer to make up for it."

This is ChoiceTheory?. The bluntest, harshest, frankest, most caring theory there is.

P.S. Goddamn Java programmers don't know no goddamn nothin' about C++. Tell me how to goddamn delete my goddamn objects, will they.

Discussion moved from CriticalSpirit below

I first met a truly critical spirit in my chess mentor. I was a little kid, 12 years old. What first shocked me was the way he treated his students when he was analyzing their games. I guess you can't imagine a worse, harsher, more abrupt, and more caustically ironic style and language. He really made you look like you knew nothing about chess, even if you won, but especially if you lost. There was no room for excuses.

And a while later I realized how effective his style was. It often happened to me when on the verge of committing an error (and in chess you should know that there's almost no room for refactoring) I thought, "This must be something wrong that I'm doing, this move violates the basic principles that I've been taught. I can only imagine what Mr. Pavlov would have to say after the game." And gradually I learnt the self-critical spirit; I didn't need Mr. Pavlov as a virtual critical reference anymore. Some children would leave the training room in tears, many would give up playing chess, but his style was the only style fitted for performance-oriented training. Especially in an intellectual sport like chess. Before he even tried to show us how to improve, he made us face the reality of our errors very bluntly.

Later it was my turn to teach a kid how to play chess, and I used almost the same style very effectively. And what's more, because I was his teacher and colleague, I let him criticize me with as little respect and deference as possible, no matter that I was his teacher.

Maybe such a style would not be off limit on wiki. -- CostinCozianu

Something that I forgot to explain about my mentor, and this created a lot of confusion here ( somebody may already think of him as a Bobby Knight or something). By harshly criticizing our mistakes he effectively treated us as his peers, not his students. He put us in the position to defend our own ideas , most of the times we were in error, and we were helped to realize the full enormity of our errors so that we weren't likely to repeat them, other times something that looked like a bad idea turned out to have something good in it and we were in the position to defend our ideas , either good or bad.

Other times we were able to criticize him, imagine a 12 year kid being allowed to criticize his master, I don't like what you just taught me, it is bad because of these reason. This training technique was not his patent. It is quite common in chess and in performance-oriented sports.

Chess, unlike most other sports, is a sport where teaching at a performance level is about new discovery , it's not a master that teaches his art to his students, is about a master who helps his students in discovering new ideas. This is one of the reasons why you'll see a 14 year old kid beating the hell out of famous masters, and why 20 years is an age where the player is desired to be at his full maturity. Sometimes full maturity happens at 16-17 years.

A CriticalSpirit is not one who is negative, abrupt, harsh, or cynical. That would be absolutely the opposite, in fact. Critical people are those who apply critical analysis to determine truth. They are the least passionate and the least defensive. They are even handed. They are also careful, precise, and concise. Your mentor was far from critical because he couldn't even criticize himself. He was a jerk. There's a difference.

Choose your mentors wisely. -- AnonymousDonor

You appraise a man you don't know. If those whom I criticize don't become my friends for this particular reason, then I wouldn't bother to have them as friends anyway. So choose your friends better, I should say. -- CostinCozianu

I choose not to take your word over any other WikiZen's, and especially not over DaleCarnegie's. -- AnonymousDonor

Don't use pretended authorities such as WikiZenism [Miscommunication: Wiki Zen is not the same as Wikizen (think citizen or denizen) -- TheEditor] or even DaleCarnegie. Prove your point in practice. Take ItsTimeToDumpCeeSyntax as a positive example. -- CostinCozianu

If you want to refer to ItsTimeToDumpCeeSyntax, yes you can take that as a critique towards the CeeLanguage. It is the natural right of those defending a position or idea to be critical in turn, especially if the criticisms have no substance and are intentionally mean or deceitful. And as a practical consequence you can see what happened to ItsTimeToDumpCeeSyntax, where I never deleted a single thing but influenced the ones at fault or maybe others to remove almost all the ridiculous things that were in there.

Since you criticized my attitude on that page I considered that a favor you did to me, in the spirit of CriticsAreYourBestFriends, and maybe someday I'll return you the favor and take time to criticize your attitude both on ItsTimeToDumpCeeSyntax, and on other subjects. -- CostinCozianu

Even if CriticsAreYourBestFriends not all critics deserve a response.

The interesting question to be debated however, is what's really happening with people that are loosing their fun when being criticized either personally or with regards to their idea. For me, being criticized is part of the fun, because it helps me when validating or invalidating my ideas. And I always consider my interlocutor at least as smart as I might be, so it would be a terrible impoliteness on my part to assume that he or she will be bothered or will be loosing fun if being criticized. -- CostinCozianu


I find it ironic that your mentor's name was Pavlov.

Your mentor was an asshole. I have have worked with people like him and as you notice I have used the verb in the past tense. If I find that I am working with somebody like your mentor then I will quit my job and find a place where my opinion is respected and listened to. Wiki as I understand it is about communication. -- IainLowe

The judgement he was an asshole would only make my mentor laugh if I tell him this story. -- CostinCozianu

Calling something and not someone stupid is inherent to the CriticalSpirit, after all stupidity is the very nature of some things, and I also committed plenty of stupid things. I'm grateful to my true friends who exposed to me the true nature of what I occasionally did (yes it was stupidity and they spelled it out to me as such). -- CostinCozianu

You miss an important point. Your intention seems to be to act as someone's best friend by criticizing them (if this is not the case, then why do you so often say that people should accept criticism because CriticsAreYourBestFriends?). However, it is human nature that people will get offended when you say that their actions are stupid, regardless of whether or not you actually called them stupid. If I were using your strategy, I would say something like, "This is not effective criticism because these people are not going to respond to you the way you seem to think they are. Your actions are stupid." But when you read that, does it make you want to change your ways? No. In fact you may become even more set in your ways because you may perceive it as an undeserved attack against yourself. (In fact, on CriticalSpiritOriginal?, this is the exact response you had.) It does not matter whether you technically call something or someone stupid, people will still perceive it as an attack against them and they will not benefit from your criticism. Therefore, CriticizeHarshly? is most definitely an AntiPattern, and CriticsAreYourBestFriends is less likely to be true than NobodyLikesaCritic?. This is supported by the work of DaleCarnegie, and just about every other expert on human nature and communication. AnonymousDonor

Sure, you can call my action stupid. If the intended result would be to teach or coach all kinds of people, yes the results are not good to say the least. And speaking of undeserved attacks, I take them very lightly, people have the rights to question anything about me and I have the right not to respond to all kinds of considerations.

CriticsAreYourBestFriends is not less likely to be true than NobodyLikesaCritic?, IT IS true. It doesn't matter if the persons themselves are your personal enemies, are indifferent to you or any other motivation they have. Just by exercising their critic (fair or unfair) they DO HELP YOU. -- CostinCozianu

I have had many sensei. Some were like Costin's chess tutor, grimly authoritarian. Some were more like the little guy in The Karate Kid, organically shaping the student. I prefer the latter. Care for the student is important. This corresponds to an attitude that winning is not winning. The master does not fight. In a peer group, an aggressive action creates noise and prevents agreement, no-one has the title master and therefore no-one has the master's dubious excuse to behave without respect. So the use of a harsh approach must be considered poor style, inefficient. It misses the point. I wish I could learn this lesson properly. -- RichardHenderson

Except that your making the flawed inference that a master who spells it out bluntly for you when you are in mistake and who make you face the reality of an error of yours is not respecting you. On the contrary, I find that only people who are able to spell it out in my face, are respecting me with their honesty and their trust. Whereas people that already decide that I don't have enough brains to defend my own position, and already decide it would be better for me if they CriticizeHelpfully and influence me to their superior ways much in the spirit that I saw in the subtitles at HowToWinFriendsAndInfluencePeople, well, for me those are the real jerks, and have no excuse for treating me that way even if they are masters.

Now who is really able to confound a polemic with a fight (a la Karate Kid), and who is really trying to equate the results of a polemic with his own ego? A harsh, confrontational style is sometimes what is required, and IT IS used as a proven and effective technique for training in chess. You have a new bright idea, very well, bring it to the table and accept that others are trying to beat the hell out of your idea, to prove it worthless. You should be able to defend you own idea in front of your pears, and the last thing that you expect from your peers is to adopt a condescending attitude and try to lead you to the good ways of thinking, or, even worse, to encourage you even if they think you are in mistake. Not to mention that if a colleague beats the hell out of you at training and even in the official games, the last thing you want to do is take it to your ego. -- CostinCozianu

I think there is something I am missing here. I think I have missed what Richard pointed out saying "no-one has the title master and therefore no-one has the master's dubious excuse to behave without respect". I have taken it upon myself to inform you of my displeasure at your actions. I apologize for my harshness in prior postings. I thank you for making me mad enough to post like that (see CriticalSpiritOriginal? for some first-class abuse). I think that you have proven (to me anyway) beyond a shadow of a doubt that the type of abusive criticism that your mentor used does not work on anybody who has an amount of self-respect and a firm opinion on something. I have abused you (and so has Sunir and to a lesser extent RandyStafford) and it has changed nothing. Now I can see that there is no point in being angry at you. I don't need to defend myself or the community from you. A harsh and confrontational style is only needed to force people to do things. CriticizeHarshly? is the worst AntiPattern I can think of when people are willing to learn. When I have a discussion with other critical minds I want to have to explain and defend my idea. I don't want to be told that it is worthless. I still think you confound value judgements and criticism. I get very upset and angry when I see you making value judgements about peoples' opinions. It is reminiscent of usenet trolls. I feel however that you are not trolling but merely misguided. I hope I am right. I also hope I am not criticizing so harshly that you will once again choose to disregard what I am saying. If that is the case then please DeleteMe. -- IainLowe

Iain, there's no need to delete that, but value judgements is what you just did:he was a jerk, remember? ItsTimeToDumpCeeSyntax was full of value judgements with regards to someone else's work of a lifetime, and it didn't bother anybody around wiki, except me. And it bothered me because the value judgements were not correct, and worse they were sustained with false arguments. We always make value judgements, we only have to have arguments behind them. Criticism is also about making value judgements, you can respond to critics and prove that value judgements are wrong.

What I agree with, is that being angry at me serves no purpose.

Let's discuss this pattern a little, IainLowe thinks SelectDistinctIsaCodeSmell while CostinCozianu thinks AlwaysUseSelectDistinct, RichardHenderson disagrees with AlwaysUseSelectDistinct and thinks duplicates are sometimes bad while I consider that DuplicatesAreBad always bad. Now it would be fullish to manufacture consensus and keep all of these ideas valid, we either have to manufacture consensus by exposing someone's mistake, or we can agree to disagree. In things such as the thing is black versus the thing is white, agree to disagree is sometimes a proof that communication is ineffective.

Now considering that we have to confront our ideas about SELECT DISTINCT it would be a terrible error and infatuation on my part to think, 'I know better, let's bring Iain to the good ways, let's bring the lost sheep back to its herd'. Instead I am showing you the respect that I always showed to my chess peers at training, and I consider you are smart enough to defend your own ideas. So I spell it out: Iain you are wrong because of this. Instead of a style like the one suggested in CriticizeHelpfully: Yain I do see some value in your idea, but wouldn't it be better if we try to put it this way (my way). Doing so is condescending and condescending is the worse behavior that I can think of in a forum of peers. Saying Iain you are wrong because of this, I might be in mistake and you might be able to proof that I was wrong, let's just bring facts to the table. -- CostinCozianu

"IainLowe thinks SelectDistinctIsaCodeSmell while CostinCozianu thinks AlwaysUseSelectDistinct, RichardHenderson disagrees with AlwaysUseSelectDistinct and thinks duplicates are sometimes bad while I consider that DuplicatesAreBad always bad"

The difference here though is that IainLowe and RichardHenderson both come to the table thinking what they think but willing to be convinced otherwise. They understand that they are not possessed of omnipotence like god, that they don't believe they know The Truth (with a capital T). Your attitude however doesn't reveal this at all. If in fact this is not the case, then you are doing a very poor job of communicating that, and you do yourself a discredit and sabotage your own efforts at convincing others of the merits of your ideas.

Let us assume for the moment that you are correct in your various positions, as you apparently believe yourself to be ... this then means that you are being incredibly condescending to even bother discussing your points with others, especially when you refuse to acknowledge that the other's idea may have merit.

Wow. I'm glad I never had a mentor like yours, and I'll make sure my kids never do either.-- AnonymousDonor

Let's discuss whether CriticizeBluntly is counter productive for training and mentoring as several people suggested here. The alternate style would be CriticizeHelpfully as illustrated by the gentle teacher in Karate Kid.

Now, I've only seen Karate Kid once and I can't guarantee it, but I don't believe there was any instance where the Karate Kid responded to his teacher: I think you are wrong. There are activities where the accent needs to be put on fostering a CriticalSpirit, and CriticizeHelpfully is hardly a good technique for that.

Also in performance sports one has to form a very resistant character, the psychological pressure is just too tough for an impressive character to handle it. So a child that is not able to take his teacher's irony towards his own mistakes as they need to be taken, is already not well fitted for performance chess. You might have an emotional kid, that in the beginning will not be able to stand the irony and the blunt critics of the trainer (also the irony can have several forms). But if he has passion for chess and if he is a smart kid, he will easily get used to CriticizeBluntly, especially when this style puts him in a position of equality with his teacher. -- CostinCozianu

I disagree with the characterization of Positive Dialog Community as having "primary concern is to one's interlocutor ego". Adjustment and Refinement of positions based on the offerings of those with CriticalSpirit however, are of concern.

Well, you might be right, it is not the primary concern, but one of the concerns seems to be the care not to hurt anyone's potential ego. Or am I wrong again? -- CostinCozianu [I just edited the introduction to reflect this.]

I didn't say you were wrong, I merely disagreed with the characterization. I just reread the page and find no references, direct or indirect that indicate or even seems to indicate ego protection. There are many instances that in fact suggest that that a persons ego should not stand in the way of the proper construction and development of an idea. The dialog which leads the idea to completion is a "joint" or "collaborative" effort and not the exclusive property of someone who is "right".

There are some people with whom CriticizeBluntly will work. This often happens when the participants have a peer relationship and a long history of respect, or when the blunt criticizer also manages to show great respect at the same time. KentBeck is really good at showing great personal respect while criticizing bluntly.

Some people, on the other hand, take everything personally. -- RonJeffries

I do not. -- AnnAnderson

You can CriticizeBluntly without being insulting or abusive. That's what makes it different to CriticizeHarshly?. Criticize the subject, not the person, and all that. If you think an idea is stupid, feel free to say so, and back it up. However, you shouldn't make the leap to calling the person who proposed the idea stupid; one bad idea isn't evidence of that.

When using CriticizeBluntly, it is the critic's responsibility to make sure that they don't cross the line and offend someone personally. When they do so accidentally, they should try to rectify the situation. If they don't take this responsibility to heart, then they are not being a blunt critic; they're being a jerk.

Taking the ChessMaster? example: you can let people evaluate their ideas without tearing strips off their egos. Look at how the military run post-simulation debriefs, for example. It's done dispassionately, without malice, and very effectively. It also works.

KentBeck is really good at showing great personal respect while criticizing bluntly.

What does he do?

See BrutalSarcasm

A discussion ensued on ThreeKindsOfCritics page on the precise meaning of bluntly, as well as of the very words to criticize, criticism, etc.

Civility and politeness Versus Bluntness

Since most of us are cursed to struggle with our pride, society has evolved some mechanisms to help deal with it -- specifically, to avoid provoking prideful responses in others. Civility and politeness are these mechanisms. Striving for unvarnished truth and egoless evaluation is a high ideal; an even higher one is to pursue these and a spirit and manner of expression which helps others to achieve it, too. Many critics (perhaps themselves blinded by pride in their own powers of objective criticism) seem to stop short of aspiring to this goal.

That's true, but there is an objective view on the issues, namely that criticism, to criticize, critique, et. all, have either a positive or negative sense depending on the context in which they are used. The same thing goes about "to speak/ to talk/ to put it/ bluntly". It's obvious that one can easily find countless example of usage with a positive connotation and DanM's implication that all those instances are improper usage is simply untenable. I didn't object to the obvious fact that the same words can also be used with a negative connotation. -- CC

I did not mean to imply that "all those instances are improper"; as noted above, one would have to examine "all those instances" in some objective fashion to determine that. (I would not take your assertion that they're all positive at face value; I still disagree with your interpretation of Truman's meaning, for instance.) But my confidence on what an objective study would find has eroded in the course of this discussion, and I withdraw the assertion as being possibly wrong, and not important enough to warrant so much debate.

Let me put it this way: In a context where one draws a distinction between "blunt" and "frank", the latter should be preferred. Juxtaposed to one another, and given the discussions above, you can certainly understand the distinctions I intend, yes? I find it difficult to make a similar distinction between "criticize" and some other word, because I can think of no other word with a closely similar meaning, and "constructive criticism" seems to mean something more to you than it does to me. Perhaps "analysis"? In any case, it is the object of these words, rather than the words themselves, that is really worth talking about. The CriticalStyles page is probably a better place to pursue this. -- DanM

To add to the evidence of criticism being a positive word in its proper usage, I'd note that most acknowledgements in academic paper follow the standard "thank to X,Y,Z who provided valuable comments and criticism that improved this paper". So criticism in circles that are preoccupied with the advancement of knowledge and understanding is taken to be a positive thing until proven contrary (criticism like anything else can be abused, but it is presumed both legitimate and positive just like in other contexts the defendant is presumed innocent). The same goes about bluntly. ConstructiveCriticism has a page on its own, but I think that many people confuse "constructive criticism" with "valid criticism" and furthermore with "valuable criticism".

In circles like sales, corporate bureaucracy, diplomacy, politics, etc, it's the other way around, and you frequently hear complaints that criticism is not constructive, or that it is destructive, or other such hogwash. My personal opinion (expressed rather strongly in the way I shape my discourse on wiki) is that WikiWiki should approach the former case rather than the later, but I understand if other people feel differently. -- CostinCozianu

Re: CriticizeBluntly states that our only and primary concern is to the facts and not to the persons.

Wiki is social medium, for good or bad. It is created and managed by multiple humans (a social group). If your criticism approach is excessive, your message will be lost because the people issues will overwhelm the message one way or another if you grow too extreme. Thus, either you become an intellectual terrorist, or you have to learn to play the social games to some extent. Rather than machine-gunning down the line, learn to wait in line more productively. Wiki is not always fair, I know that from personal experience, but intellectual terrorism will not make it fair either. Unlike my case, you have been given specific tips on what not to do yet still be able to state your opinion. Use that small tool before that is gone also. -- top

What a social group considers as "excessive criticism" is specific to that group. In diplomacy, any criticism at all is sure to trigger negative reactions. However the capacity for, and the embracing of CriticalSpirit can be educated and evolves both personally and in group settings. Among geeks, there's a natural expectation to "be brave, dude" and suck it up. Examples of such embracing of CriticizeBluntly among geeks are countless, including the memorable email exchanges between Gnu Emacs, and Xemacs contributors (of course criticizing each others' design decision, motivations, etc. Also TheUnixHatersHandbook and many others, and it is naturally expected that the geek being under criticism does not take it personally and "sucks it up" for the benefit and progress of science (or substitute with your preferred syrupy slogan).

I don't mind criticism, just avoid altering or deleting existing content to suit your view. That is mostly what pisses people off.

Stuff here gets altered, edited, deleted, improved sent to the ash tray of history, etc. Get used to it. I do not alter to content just to "suit my point of view". The main responsibility is to wiki readers that they get a coherent point of view as to where things stand historically or at a moment in time. Get used to wiki. Wiki is not about "suiting one point of view", be that even TOP.

Bullsh8t! You don't delete to suit somebody else's point of view. -- top

That's the spirit, top.

That wiki is under no contractual obligation to suit top's point of view. If top's rambling pollute a page with irrelevant, repetitive and often boring material we'll do whatever necessary for the pleasure of the potential reader, but not necessarily for the pleasure of TOP. Because readers are many, top is one, and he'll suck it up. He'll learn to condense his views in pages of his own (like TableOrientedProgramming), he'll learn that polluting with the same repetitive content everywhere is against the wiki spirit, and so on, so forth. The potential reader has much more to gain by learning about the state of the knowledge in TypeTheory from the likes of JohnReynolds, and the reader will also get a link to TopOnTypes to see a "dissenting" point of view and he can make up his mind. But to see everybody's 2c put on equal footing, well, that may suit top's point of view and may as well be very personally titillating to TOP to see that his name appear with a credited contribution on every page related to everything under the sun about programming, well, all these are great for you, TOP, but a disservice to thousands of wiki readers.

We can arrange that your point of view should not be crushed, that it should exist on interlinked pages of its own so that your potential fans may learn from your insights, that those pages be referenced from the relevant topic to which you have a dissenting opinion, but what you demand is way beyond what is reasonable. Look, you just couldn't help yourself but went off on a tangent that is totally OffTopic for this page. Complaining about how your views are edited has nothing to do with CriticizeBluntly.

RedHerring! Because I am an alleged evil or sloppy or rude wiki author does not buy you a pass to also be evil or sloppy or rude. (Btw, My defense of such claims already exists in the middle of the TopMind page, about 60% of the way down). I would also note that my alleged WikiSins? tend to be sins of addition, not sins of alteration and deletion. I consider addition-related to be a lower-ranking sin. And you STILL have not found a concise thorough definition of "types". You should at least do that before nuking the other definitions. Finish your own homework before feeding others' to the dogs.

Nobody alleged you are sloppy or rude, but you are definitely irritable and you are defensive. Stop seeing every critique of what you do as an attack directed against your person. And relax.

Please do tell, what is the purpose of writing "If top's rambling pollute a page with irrelevant..."? Does it provide a point? I took it as "an attack directed against [my] person". If it was meant to make a relevant point, it would have been nice to clearly state that point before writing something that has a high risk of being interpreted as a personal attack. In other words, warn everybody about a drill BEFORE dropping bombs.

You whine about ArgumentFromAuthority and you demand for demonstrations d'a cappo al fine. Well, excuse us while we are reluctant and weary to reiterate on wiki the whole body of knowledge behind programming languages.

Most good definitions only take a few paragraphs at the most. If JohnReynolds's definition takes an entire book, then I criticize it bluntly.

(it doesn't begin and end with FoxPro, you know), theory of types, and even something as simple as having to prove to you that higher order functions (functions that take parameter other functions) are a good feature that prevents code duplication and allow for a elegant expression of a great deal of many algorithms.

I asked for code demonstrations, and those provided mostly only seem relevant for systems software or assume a PerfectStorm of some kind and protected from NonDisclosureAgreements?. NDA prevents public scrutiny; ie 'science'. Why do most of my detractors only use examples from systems software? I think that is telling.

First, we do not have unlimited resources, second, it can be a wasteful duplication of efforts when we cited good books for reference that you can make the effort to read. At least on the various interminable OO versus TOP, OO weenies can cite MartinFowler and the likes and not everybody recognizes them as authorities, and you can counter with DrCodd, ChrisDate, and a lot of real examples about OO shortcomings (while you do exaggerate them from time to time). However on things like higher order functions and TypeTheory, things are very simple there's no much controversy at all, there's the DynamicTyping way (which by the way you misdefined on TopOnTypes and I'll help you to correct that) and there's the StaticTyping way. DynamicTyping gave up on types as classifiers of syntactic elements, while in StaticTyping camp there's the unanimously accepted definition of JohnReynolds, and really no controversy at all.

I am sorry, but I feel strongly about having a definition of types tied to "syntax". Like I said many times, syntax is just window-dressing for humans. Most compiler/interpreters eventually disregard that window dressing and turns a program into a data structure of some kind. One can technically write an equivalent program into the data structure directly and the usual type checking still happens. JohnReynolds may be popular, but that does not necessarily prevent him from making mistakes. I am bluntly criticizing JohnReynolds coupling "types" to syntax.

All these are very relevant points, and you are very stubborn to deal with them. If you still think it is about a personal attack, I'll raise my hands in despair. CriticsAreYourBestFriends, more than that, what can I tell you ? If I criticize you or your contributions to some of the pages, I do it as a friend, to help you improve. like I said before this style of yours very much detracts from some very real and nice points you have to make about excesses on OO camp, because you like to rewrite on your own the whole theory about programming, you trust nothing that has already built before,and this thing is totally counterproductive. It can be counterproductive to you, but while you fail to get the message, it's also counterproductive to WikiReaders? that every page at all about anything programming gets overloaded with a controversy from TOP and ends up in an unnecessary thread mess.

Why should I trust anybody? Science is not about trust, it is about demonstration.

There's your problem: "THE theory". There is no clear-cut cannon. There might be an "in style" body of knowledge, but I frankly don't give a shit about popularity. One must SHOW clear benefits or stand in the psychology line with the rest of the many GoldenHammers.

You are right. I do fail to see the "message". But it may be because there is no real message. If you cannot articulate it, then the fault may be on your side. Your definition of "types" is weak and long-winded. You should try to fix that if you want it to be on the top floor of the definition building. At least I don't delete to get my opinions on the top or move other's stuff to a personal page the only viewpoint on a page. Again, addition is a smaller WikiSin? than deletion, and you are going to intellectual-hell at the current rate.

And some of your "blunt criticism" is borderline schizophrenic. You once repeatedly criticized a toy example for being a toy example when it was intentionally meant to be a toy example because it was to illustrate a specific concept rather than intended to win a Nobel prize or be sold for money. I saw no point in repeatedly pointing out it was a toy example, and it was worded in an insulting way.

Good critics are one's best friends. Bad critics ruin all.

Now with the "concise" definition of types, you are asking for the proverbial Royal Road to Geometry. Be patient.

Well, I don't think the unfinished version deserves be barge into the top of the page. Finish your shit first, and THEN barge in rudely.

CriticizeBluntly Does Not Scale

If everyone was aggressive with their point of view, wiki would be nothing but endless EditWars. Therefore, it fails the GoldenRule test.

Not at all, if everybody assumed CriticalSpirit, EditWars would not be a problem. Failure to assume critical spirit is the problem.

Not the way it is being practiced here. I would estimate that about roughly 10 to 20 percent of WikiZens have very strong opinions on at least a few topics. The larger the group, the more likely the chance of such disagreements overlapping in such a way that two parties will have opposing viewpoints. If they practice deletion as their criticism technique for content they deem "wrong", endless EditWars will spring up. It is comparable to Christians fighting Islamists over land because both believe they have an inherit God-given right to the land because they are the TheOneTrueReligion. As somebody once said, "an eye-for-an-eye will leave everybody blind". If both sides have nukes, then they can take down the entire world.

When weapons were only sticks and stones, this was not a problem, because even the most extreme fanatic may be able to kill a village or two at the most. Now we have the likes of Anthrax and nukes, and their electronic versions in edit scripts and zombie PC attacks. A bunch of script-pumped EditWars can bring down the entire wiki in a fashion similar to a DOS attack. Civilized societies need rules to allow disagreements without continent-destroying wars breaking out. Such rules usually involve compromise. Some people would rather take down the entire thing than give any kind of compromise. If Bin Laden were given the choice of destroying the entire US in exchange for the loss of 3 Islamic nations, he just might say 'yes'. Excessive aggressiveness regarding wiki content, especially deletion of or mutilation of opposing opinion text, is in effect "e-terrorism" in my book. It is the unwillingness to live with people or opinions that do not fit one's dogma out of personal certaintude such that the risk of total armaggeddon is not seen as a deterrant.

The content of this page was deleted. It was nothing more then a poor attempt at an excuse for having bad manners by its author. It was also an attempt to make poor style legitimate. We have much better styles and manners for "constructive" rather then "destructive" criticism and don't need the likes of this page.


I try to AssumeGoodFaith, at least for the sake of argument, and wish to explore why some hold this view. I wish to know their mental logic. Similarly, I think Europe is making a big mistake by censoring racists. Censorship (deletion on wiki's) only gives the followers a sense of legitimacy and myrtardome. I personally think CriticizeBluntly is bad primarily because AnarchyDoesNotScale?. If both sides do it, then it only leads to mass war. I am still waiting for an argument that it does scale.


What evidence is there that CriticizeBluntly actual works? I doubt it does. I admit I do it anyhow sometimes, but that's only because I give in to my reptilian genes, not because it is effective. Those who are experts at persuasion, such as sales experts, rarely use rudeness as part of their technique. Many may use manipulation, deception, and trickery even, but not rudeness. Thus, we look at those who get wealthy via persuasion, study their techniques, and note that rudeness is not a common theme. This is fairly good evidence that CriticizeBluntly does not work. --top

Indeed those who use trickery, persuasion, and those who avoid criticizing and rigorous analysis do get far in life.. sometimes even further than honest people. Does that mean we should partake in trickery, hype, and sales tactics just because it works empirically at times?

Depends on your goals. But, that's a different issue. The bottom line is that if rudeness does not work, then it does not work.

Criticize bluntly does not mean pure rudeness or arrogance. This page is inflammatory - and possibly some should choose CriticizeHonestlyRigorouslyAndThoroughly? instead of the inflammatory word "blunt". Seems to have worked up a lot of steam from the responses we see on this page.

"Blunt" is not necessarily negative. And what is "honesty" is often a matter of debate also. perhaps case studies are in order.

See also: BeingRightNotExcuseForBeingRude, AnarchyDoesNotScale?, HowToWinFriendsAndInfluencePeople, CriticizeDiplomatically, PositiveDialogue


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