John Keeping wrote:
> 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.

Okay, so answer this: Why did the reviewer deliberately use the
"unhelpful" tone?  Was she trying to attack the new contributor, and
intend to harm the community?  Or did she just say what came to her

> 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).

Yes, it is.

> 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.


>> 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.

The reviewer is not a thick-skinned bull that wants to harm the project.

4. Lead by example.  If you do not like how someone presents
themselves on the list, you counter it by presenting yourself nicely
on the list.  Others will follow your example, making that person's
behavior the minority.  It is far more powerful than explicitly
stating what is "acceptable" behavior and what is not.

> 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
> background.

So you have agreed that "tone" is subjective, and that attempting to
objectively state the "right tone" is a lost cause.

The solution to the problem, as I have already explained several times is to:
- Define an objective basis for people to react.
- Lead by example, and influence other contributors to follow your style.

What everyone is doing differently:
- Taking offense at every possible juncture.
- Taking sides and voting.  Ganging up and playing politics.
- Making bad irrational arguments in the "right tone".
- Invalidating entire arguments, on the basis of tone.
- Making tone the entire subject of discussion, ignoring content.
- Bringing "majority opinion" to a rational argument.
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