The Virtue of Tactfullness [was Re: "The Case for File Swapping"]

Shlomi Fish shlomif at
Thu Nov 17 16:18:12 GMT 2005

On Thursday 17 November 2005 15:57, Randal L. Schwartz wrote:
> >>>>> "Shlomi" == Shlomi Fish <shlomif at> writes:
> Shlomi> Meanwhile, it was rejected from Slashdot (not that it
> Shlomi> surprised me that it did).
> Probably rejected as "preaching to the choir".  P2P is good.  Pirating
> is bad.  M'kay?  We already know that. :)

Hi Mr. Schwartz!

I'm sorry to say that, but you are again extremely tactless. You seem to have 
a general grudge against me, but I am not the only one who suffers from your 
tactless exits. When I remarked to someone in private who replied to your 
attack of on perl-advocacy, he said something along the lines of 
you being a complete jerk online and in real life. And most of the other 
rumours I've heard about you confirm this impression.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think you are a malevolent person. Some of the 
most heroic people in history were antipathic and unfriendly (for example 
Henry Ford), and OTOH many villains were known as very friendly, pleasant and 
charismatic (for example Al Capone). I respect you for the books, articles 
and Perl code you wrote, but you seem to be the Perl world Henry Ford.

No-one is born anti-pathic and no-one has to remain so. I believe anyone 
agrees that one can be more effective being friendly, hospitable, 
well-mannered, tactful, and controlled. And you can gradually become more and 
more tactful by adopting and practicing a few guidelines for such behaviour. 
Eventually, being friendly and pleasant will become much more natural.

Even the most friendly people have some non-friendly exits once in a while. 
But since they are friendly as a general rule, they still don't leave a bad 
taste in the mouth, end up in people's black-lists, or worse.

I admit that I may not control myself all the time and have not in the past, 
but I make a conscious effort to do so. Another thing I should note is that I 
realised that often, if I don't have anything particularly useful to add to 
the conversation, or if I see that it's completely wrong-headed or useless, I 
simply don't respond. I think it indicates of maturity. IMO, here would have 
been a perfect time for you to avoid responding.

Note that you're still not the biggest troll I've personally encountered. A 
certain Israeli BSD-enthusiast leaves all the past and present trolls I've 
encountered (including to some extent myself) in the dust. Among his many 
exits, are saying that people are bad programmers, that they are trolls, or 
that their contributions to FOSS do not count; that GNU, Linux, GPL-software 
has code of low quality; that Linux and GNU have no future; he routinely 
calls people "gay", "dyslexic", "fourteen-years-old", refuses to acknowledge 
he's a troll. 

Except for that I came to a conclusion that, while being very intelligent, 
he's very much of an idiot, with inconsistent opinions, choice in 
technologies that leaves a lot to be desired, and someone who utters a 
plenthora of non-sequitors and evasions. That in turn, only makes him an even 
worse troll. He seemed pretty nice and hospitable when I met him in real life 
(and two of his other victims gave him a piece of their mind), but he's a 
complete jerk online.

Once I asked someone on the IRC if Daniel J. Bernstein was as bad as he was, 
and someone knoweldgable told me "Yes. As Bad.". One more reason to stay a 
clear mile from anything by Bernstein.[1]

With Great Respect,

	Shlomi Fish

[1] -

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at

95% of the programmers consider 95% of the code they did not write, in the
bottom 5%.

More information about the mailing list