Re: Much Ado about Slamming

Subject: Re: Much Ado about Slamming
From: Beth Mazur <mazur -at- MAYA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 1997 09:12:34 -0500

At 3:40 PM -0800 3/27/97, Tony G. Rocco wrote:

>With this in mind, how in the world can anyone get worked up over a few
>slightly impolite or even abrasive comments on a mailing list?

My "leisure" reading recently has been Alan Cooper's "About Face: The
Essentials of User Interface Design." In it (and for that matter, as the
design tip of the day at his website at, he
states a simple axiom:

"Don't make the user feel stupid."

The reason people get worked up is that they don't like feeling stupid.
And being corrected in front of 2,500 (albeit faceless) people has a
tendency to make many people feel stupid.

Sometimes errors happen just because the fingers type faster than the
brain. I got a chuckle out of Jennifer Kraus' "for all intensive purposes"
because my mother once despaired of my intelligence after I wrote a
letter home from college talking about the "girl next store to me."

Other times, people just make genuine mistakes. It'd be swell if everyone
followed a "correct off-line" policy, but in the same way that some feel
dumb being corrected on-line, others feel smart correcting on-line. And
given those two opposing needs, occasionally someone's toes are going to
be stepped on.

Isn't human nature a fascinating thing?

Beth Mazur
mazur -at- maya -dot- com

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