Sunday, June 2, 2013

Invasion of the Pedants

I've been a member of a certain online community for just about a decade. Admittedly, I was dragged there (kicking and screaming) by a friend. While he eventually moved to focus on other things, I hung around and provided support in the background in the form of research/review, writing/debugging code, and authoring occasional verbiage.

Sadly, I've just let the community know that I was ceasing all active support. While a certain few can still request custom work of me, the remainder of the community should feel free to ignore me as actively, as passionately, and as incessantly as humanly possible. Please!

What had happened was that a pedant announced that specific words should no longer be employed in documentation because it reminds a certain demographic of their disability. Being a member of that demographic, I took offense at the suggestion and pointed out that the logic he used to justify his suggestion implies a certain prejudiced over-sensitivity by the disabled. I publicly responded and noted such.

It turns out that, where I thought that I was dealing with a single pedant, he had compatriots. In short, the community reacted by taking me to task for top posting in email, rather than addressing the offensive logic.

Fewer things can kill a community effort quicker than a couple of pedants, especially if they have any sort of authority within that community. While I wish the overarching project good will, I suspect that the associated volunteer effort will suffer in the coming years.

What triggered the above rant was this post about what appears to be an effort to make a specific pronunciation mandatory. In short, the author has submitted formal suggestions to "standardize" pronunciation. Hopefully, the group will give the suggestion the time it deserves (i.e., none).

So, to the group which I've just left (as a whole): 'Bye. The annual get-togethers were fun/interesting. We even saved a life once.

To the pedants in the group: GFY. You deserve each other. Same goes for any pedant which this post offends.

To the other group (Ubuntu): good luck. I'd considered joining, but it appears that you also have a pedant infestation. Maybe later.