I've talked with people who argue that they should be allowed to have the sort of conversations that might offend people because if someone is offended, they don't have to be part of it. It's a seductive idea, but it won't work.
Why? Because there's a ratcheting effect. If you could measure rudeness, a chat might start at 1. People who don't care for that level will leave. So now the chat can start moving toward rudeness level 2 with fewer people to object or moderate.
Where is the limit? Well it will trend toward the comfort level of the most committed members. If part of the "value" of a chat is that it's "honest" (read "rude"), people who don't value that will leave. Problem solved? No! The next level will offend another set of people.
I'm gonna take this as an opportunity to chat about what it can be like to have total authority over a small part of someone else's life and how it's not nearly as hard as it might seem. Or if it seems like having this sort of authority is easy, how it's paradoxically impossible.
I used to tell moderators that there were only a handful of irreversible decisions they could make and they were all merges. Merging user accounts turned out to be so difficult to undo and so potentially harmful, we took that power away from mods (who can delete users and posts).
Once you see that decisions can be reversed, it's incredibly freeing. I'm ridiculously cautious by nature, but I learned to take action rather than over-analyzing everything. (I mean . . . I still over-analyze. I just do it _after_ making a decision rather than before.)
I let my sourdough starter die several years ago because I just didn't have the energy to bake. Last week I got the urge again and got a starter going. My previous starter was from a family culture I brought from Idaho, so I never started a culture myself.
On day one, I mixed equal weight water and flour into a jar. Since water is much denser, that works out to roughly double the flour by volume. For simplicity, I just use a half cup of flour and a quarter cup of water. Then I waited.
For my flour, I have some whole wheat flour that got lost in my move. It's not rancid yet, but I wouldn't want to use it in bread. Perfect for my starter though. The yeast and bacteria that make up a sourdough culture don't care what my flour tastes like.
I just found out my current company has an RFC process. I was pleasantly surprised. But it also brought to mind the RFC process we had at my previous employer.
For those who don't know, an RFC is a Request For Comment and it has a venerable history on the internet. In addition to very serious work, such as defining a process for allocating IPs on a private network, RFCs can be . . . less serious.
The idea is that nobody can know all of the implications of something you are working on, so you want to get as many people as possible to look at your proposal and poke holes in it. You'd rather find out there is a problem early so you don't build something that won't work.
This is the aspect of this whole thing that keeps me up at night even now. (Well, _tonight_ I couldn't sleep because of jet lag, but it has caused me to write about my old job in the middle of the night over the last few weeks.)
For me there are specific people who hurt my trust in the company. They played different roles and I believe most were acting out of what they thought was their duty rather than malice. Still, it's difficult to believe the company won't betray my trust again.
I've avoided calling out individuals in my writing. That's not my place. At least not today. The one time I thought it was my duty was during the "retrospective". (For some reason it was not allowed to be called a "post mortem". Perhaps because the damage was still happening.)
I'm not sure if anyone read it and understood the significance, but that's ok. I do a lot of writing for my own benefit. Since then, I've thought of another parable that might be more hopeful.
At my new house we have a bunch of rose bushes. It's very clear they were well taken care of, but in recent years they have been allowed to grow as they will. We got a few decent roses in the fall, but the bushes are starting to pull down the fence pegs holding them up.
Something has been gnawing at me all week and I can finally put it into the form of a question today: Why wasn't there a communications plan for when Shog and Robert were let go? Two beloved employees (including employee #5) leaving the company and nothing to explain it?
Maybe there was a communications plan that I was not aware of, but it seems to me an answer to a user question on Meta and especially this answer is rather anemic.
Yesterday I visited some disabled inmates at Twin Towers Correctional Facility. These dads are on my mind today. I get big hugs from my kids daily, but inmates can only see there children over closed-circuit TV or behind glass if their children visit at all.
These dads worry about court appearances and whether their public defenders really care for their best interests. They worry they won't be able to get work when released. They can't do anything to support their children or help wives/girlfriends make ends meet from jail.
These fathers come to our class because they want to be better parents and men. Rather than sleeping in, playing cards or watching TV on a Saturday morning, they lug plastic chairs on their walkers or roll out in wheelchairs to get an hour of hope, compassion and encouragement.