Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?

Randy Presuhn <randy_presuhn@alumni.stanford.edu> Mon, 19 April 2021 20:43 UTC

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Subject: Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?
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From: Randy Presuhn <randy_presuhn@alumni.stanford.edu>
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Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2021 13:42:58 -0700
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Hi -

I hate to post twice in one day, but...

On 2021-04-19 12:46 PM, Keith Moore wrote:
...
> - What is "snarling" anyway, and are we all talking about the same 
> thing?   Is snarling any kind of unpleasant feedback, or what?

Ancient examples that came to *my* mind when the word first came up in
this discussion:

    - in discussion of features to be considered in developing version 2
      of a protocol, WG chairs and even ADs squelching discussing of
      certain ideas with "bzzzt, thank you for playing."  (With the
      clear implication they really just wished the participant would
      go away.)

    - declarations by leadership that certain technology paths were
      not to be discussed, not even in a BOF (with recognition by
      many participants that those paths would be problematic for
      the business interests of some of those leaders)

    - snide remarks about the technology choices made by other
      organizations, and "guilt by association" when any attempt
      is made to leverage "outside" technology or models

> - Is the problem really the language we use to discourage (presumably) 
> Bad Ideas, or is it that we discourage them at all? Even if we improve 
> our language for discouraging Bad Ideas (which IMO is worth trying), 
> will we still be discouraging newcomers? Maybe not as much?   Are there 
> occurrences of snarling which aren't about discouraging (presumably) Bad 
> Ideas?
...

Usually the "snarling" I've witnessed was from folks who seemed to think
their power/position/status was threatened.  It often looked like they
were defending a technically questionable position with what amounted to
an appeal to authority.  But for some folks it seems to become a habit:
even when there is a strong technical footing for their argument, they 
resort to the snide "insider" comment as the quickest way to move the
discussion along, rather than making the strong technical argument
they could have made, or admitting that the proposal might make sense
if we were designing things tabula rasa, but would be problematic in
the current ecosystem.

Randy