How to install Precise without getting screwed?

Dane Mutters dmutters at
Mon Apr 9 03:14:19 UTC 2012

> On the contrary, I found Michael's rant refreshing.  Politically correct
> rants look like a lot of nitpicking over nothing.

> ...

> But of course a little "We shouldn't do this, it's a bad idea" just gets
> an enthusiastic push-back from strong-headed "visionaries" that think
> they're onto something.  When the criticism starts coming in force and with
> sharp language, a threat to ration and reason is made--in other words:
> humans fear losing arguments in the same way they fear being punched in the
> face, and strong and vicious protest is threatening in that it makes being
> wrong particularly high impact.  If the whole world is iffy but unenthused,
> they will swallow your crap and then complain--unenthusiastically--that
> it's not great.  If you are being flamed and shouted at, then when the
> whole world doesn't turn around and realize how excellent your new ideas
> are--perhaps because they're not--you take a MAJOR social hit and suddenly
> nobody likes you, and as a bonus they also get it in their heads that
> anything you touch is a born disaster and probably will never come near you
> again.
> In other words, maybe you'll listen when people actually say what they
> mean instead of sucking all the emotional meaning out and presenting simple
> facts--facts which you may dispute with other simple facts.  Facts are
> facts, whether they're true or false.  Information is more than just
> facts:  the emotional weight carries, and the presentation makes that.  Do
> you honestly think Unity would have ever happened if Shuttleworth got
> called a pinhead whenever someone commented on the design proposal and
> subsequent betas?  It would have been quickly abandoned as every single
> developer associated with the project ran for cover from the raining fire
> and brimstone.


I can see that you make a good point; bad UI decisions would have been less
likely to happen if at first they were savagely railed against, thereby
causing the potential developers of those bad ideas to go elsewhere.

The problem, as I see it, is that once the decisions have already had time
and effort invested in them, it becomes a problem of, "is all that work I
did stupid/irrelevant?"  This, in addition to pressing the "I can't be
wrong!" button, also presses the "if I'm wrong, my work isn't valuable, so
I'm not valuable" button.  This is, as I see it, the other side of the
psychological "coin" that you aptly outlined above.  Therefore, when a part
of a person's sense of self worth is threatened by way of intense
criticism, the normal response is to "dig in" and fight vehemently to
protect the perceived value of one's work.  Thus, no matter how bad an idea
or system is, those who made it will be all the more stubborn if they feel
like they can't concede gracefully.  (Incidentally, this is similar to how
[useless] bureaucracies become self-preserving.)

So, while I'm, in fact, all *for *speaking bluntly, I also see the quandary
that speaking too bluntly produces when being "wrong" (for the "owners" of
a work) would mean that the months they spent on a particular project would
all be for nothing, should they admit that they were actually wrong.

As a side note, mentioning these psychological/social dynamics may well
push the conversation further in that direction, but it would seem that it
needs to be said (and under other circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate to
aggravate everyone by saying them).  Nobody likes to admit that their
thought processes are irrational and/or emotional, since it means that on
some level, they're being "stupid" by letting other things control any
intelligence they might otherwise possess.

This dynamic (all of the above, including what you've written) seems to
have run rampant in the development of GUIs for the last year or so...but I
hadn't exactly intended to expose this directly until you began doing so.
(Now the beans are "spilled...")

Plus it's fun to read people speaking frankly, though if you spoke like a
> Franc I guess you'd have to use a lot more accents and apostrophes.

Well said.  ;-)

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