On Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 12:16:28AM +0530, Ramkumar Ramachandra wrote:
> John Keeping wrote:
> >     Ugh, why this roundabout-passive-past tone?  Use imperative tone
> >     like this:
> >
> >         ...
> >
> > vs.
> >
> >     We normally use the imperative in commit messages, perhaps like
> >     this?
> >
> >         ...
> >
> > As my mother would say, "politeness costs nothing" ;-)
> The review is being honest about her feelings in the first one, and
> being artificially diplomatic in the second one.

I don't think it is artificially diplomatic, it's an attempt to convey a
helpful tone in an email.  As has been said elsewhere, it is easy to
read an email in the wrong tone (there is an oft-cited statistic about
the percentage of communication that is non-verbal, and which cannot be
inferred from written text).  For this reason I think it is important
for reviewers to make an effort to minimise the risk that what they
write can be interpreted as being aggressive.

>                                                   Both of them are
> constructive and friendly, in that they provide an example for the
> submitter to follow.

Both provide the same advice, yes.  But I disagree that they are both
friendly.  The top example reads (to me at least) as an attack on the
submitter for not knowing better.  It may sometimes be necessary to
resort to strong wording if someone appears to be wilfully ignoring
sensible advice but we should not expect every submitter to know the
expectations of the project; the first message to someone should gently
guide them in the right direction.

> Either way, I'm not interested in problems that have no solutions.
> The only "solution" I see here is to suffocate every contributor until
> they are "tactful enough" for the majority's liking, and "remove" the
> ones that don't conform.  If you do have an alternate solution, please
> share it with us.

I don't have a solution, only a hope that regular contributors will
learn from others how they can phrase review comments less aggressively.

I expect different people will read the same statement differently;
people are from different cultures and what is considered acceptable in
one culture can be considered rude in another.  We should aim to
cultivate our own culture where we try to minimise the risk that what we
write will be misinterpreted by someone with a different cultural
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