[LMB] List-biz and why people leave, was Explaining Stuff To Kids OT:

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sat Dec 16 06:28:38 GMT 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Laura Gallagher" <celticdragonfly at gmail.com>

>> > Not wanting to be drawn and quartered, I will withhold any further 
>> > comment.
>> Friend, if you're still mad, haul it out and throw it down. We'll deal
>> with it. If you're not, please stop playing slap-and-run. It's not a
>> good look on you.
>> Marna.
> Okay, in another thread, Marna asked me about why these problems
> happen, and what should be changed for it.  And I've been thinking,
> and trying to come up with some answers.
> Mostly the answer is I don't know, which is why I haven't been
> suggesting things before.  Plus I figure I'm going to get hammered for
> whatever answer I come up with, and I don't like that.
> But a lot of what I've been stirring around as an answer is that the
> people who do the coming-down on those who have ended up leaving have
> a very hard style - as someone else said "debate as a full-contact
> sport".  And the rest of us don't.  And generally the attitude of
> those who do have it has come across as "well, WE'RE that tough, and
> you should be too, and if you're not hard as nails and don't enjoy
> being smacked, there's a problem with you."

The view from the other side... work story from seven hours or so ago.

I was not at a training session noontime at work because I hadn't replied to 
the email announcing two training sessions, pick one to go to, and the 
person who sent out the original message, hadn;t chased me down about it. 
Not having having responded, it wasn't on my Outlook calendar.  I noticed 
around 12:20  or so that none of my coworkers were around, and then noticed 
they were in the conference room (small company, I can see the conference 
room getting up and moving a less than 20 feet).  Hesitantly I wandered 
over, there were all the other people in the section I was in.   They looked 
at me. "Is this a meeting I should be in?"  I asked.  "Is it on your 
calendar?" asked my boss. "No," I replied, and wen back to my cubicle...

Later, the fact that I was supposed to have been in there, but it fell 
through a crack, got  figured out.   I was talking to one of my coworkers 
who was  wondering not terribly seriously if he should write up a deficiency 
report on it.  He looked up the original message and  noticed that it hadn;t 
just been sent to Quality Assurance, but Engineering, too.  He said the he'd 
been the only person to to go the session of it on Dec 8 because he wanted 
to get it over with, but that no one else (other than the person giving the 
training) had showed, so they deferred it to the 15th for the scheduled 
session on the 15th.   He mentioned that hardly any of the engineering 
people had attended...

His next cubicle over neighbor, who graduated from MIT a decade or so before 
I had, and who escaped the layoffs that had hit up one of his classmates 
back in the late 1960s and early 1970s because his classmate had a doctorate 
and he didn't ( the principle was to lay off the less expensive labor, and 
doctorate holders were considered to be higher salary rates than people with 
an Engineer's Degree... he'd had to quit grad school and earn a living 
wage...), overheard and said perfectly deadpan, "They should fire anyone who 
missed the session."  I went over to his cube and said, "that's -TWO- that I 
owe you!" -- he'd deadpanned something else earlier in the week that I 
promised him I would get back at him for...

Anyway, there are some environments that are full-contact conflict for the 
sake of the challenge of  intellectual warfare and the gotchas.   When 
immersed in that sort of situation on a daily basis, it can be difficult to 
ease up, one has to consciously throttle back the automatic snarky 

> And so people leave.
> The person not wanting to be drawn and quartered has been slapped for
> expressing opinions, and is now refusing to share personal opinions.

As opposed to the line from Piet Hein;s Grooks, "Problems worthy of 
attack/Prove their worth by fighting back."

There are different cultural values and memes, and neural network wetware 
organization, involved.

> Sensible reaction from where I see it.
> And what Marna is now objecting to as best as I can see is that he's
> actually showing that he's been slapped, hasn't liked it, and is now
> withholding his opinion.
> Most of the others have just left.  And then people ask how have we
> lost these important things on the list.
> Marna, "we'll deal with it" in the context of this list means "show
> that you didn't like what we did before, and we'll do more of it, and
> if you're not into debate as a full contact support, then you'll
> leave".
> It may get "dealt with" in a way that the tough as nails,
> slap-me-in-the-face-and-I-like-it types feel is dealing with it - but
> that's not how everybody does things.

Again, it;'s different social-cultural-personal environments and responses. 

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