Thursday, December 6, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I'm a firm believer in the old adage that "No good deed goes unpunished." Why is that you might ask? Well, it's because a good deed is clearly done with good intent and of course we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So it follows that a good deed is often the first step on the way to hell. Of course most roads in the Eclipse community are paved with good intentions, so I certainly don't think they're all leading straight to hell, but one misstep and you could be well on your way. Goodness knows there are enough people watching for a misstep. In any case, I'd like to think that if hell froze over, it would look like this:

One always hopes that others will recognize good intentions for what they are and that when the actual results of well intended efforts do not match precisely the intent, that the intent is not forgotten.

I've often been told that I color my language with too much emotion and I'm sure that's true. It's a common failing of those with passion to misdirect that passion when sensibilities are violated. One might call that irresponsible, but that's using emotional language. It's always a good idea to focus on criticizing the ideas rather than criticizing people directly. Its also important to keep in mind that none of us really like personal criticism, or any kind of criticism for that matter. As such, even constructive criticism is not always well received despite the good intentions of those dishing it out. This basic failing in human nature makes it extremely difficult to influence change without giving others cause for taking offense.

I write this blog to help remind myself and others to think carefully when dishing out criticism. It's best to state all criticism in the form of a positive suggestions for improvements. Always make it clear your intentions are good. You're still likely to end up on the road to hell, but ask yourself this: What are the roads that lead away from hell paved with?

I'll climb down off of my high horse now---or is that my soap box? it's so hard to tell--- before someone knocks me off....


Jesper said...

Christimas riddle?

With you being the Eclipse poster boy of community support, leaving no EMF question unanswered for any period worth measuring, I find it very hard to comprehend any sane person taking offense in your intentions.

I picked up a slight shade of irony in your previous blog entry about XML substitution groups, but the improvement in the save/load support looks fine for those of us who deal with XML at multiple levels and wish to keep things as neat and tidy as possible (in XML as well as in EMF!). Anyway, irony just one way to emphasize a point in storytelling, and sometimes technical stuff like this needs to be spiced up a bit -- just like you also do with the great photos.


AlBlue said...

Ed, you deserve to win the Eclipse Ambassador's award. You pay close attention to detail and strive to be diplomatic to the point of being painfully polite sometimes ...

Anyway, it seems that others agree with me: