Linked by David Adams on Wed 6th Aug 2008 15:28 UTC, submitted by estherschindler
General Development In an "as told to" article for, Linus Torvalds explains how he keeps the Linux people and software on-track. Arguably the most surprising facet of Linus' management style is that he's perfectly willing to flame people when he thinks they're wrong--though he's also happy to be corrected himself. "Part of that, by the way, is not feeling shy about saying impolite things or showing some emotion. So I'd rather flame people for doing stupid things and call them stupid, rather than try to be too polite to the point where people didn't understand how strongly I felt about something." That's particularly interesting in light of several OSCON presenters who believe that the way to grow the open source community is to make projects more welcoming to would-be contributors. Do these attitudes actually contradict one another?
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being blunt?
by waynej on Thu 7th Aug 2008 07:40 UTC
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While I agree with being blunt, honest and to the point, there are ways to do it without offending / pissing off people. Unfortunately the internet doesn't really allow for this.

As is said in the article being blunt and honest is the best policy - people know where they stand and if they can take the (constructive?) criticism can look at their work and either debate their case or make changes. But.. if someone is being rude and obnoxious because they can be, that is a different matter.

At work myself and my colleagues are very blunt, open and honest with each other. The discussions tend to be loud, shouty, full of passion and we don't take anything personally. Why? Well if anyone was to make it personal or speak to me with disdain or be physically aggressive - I'll ram their teeth though the back of their head. If I spoke to someone else in that way I'd expect the same back.

The internet allows people to be rude, obnoxious, disparaging, aggressive and disrespectful with little or no consequences being felt. Due to a large degree of anonymity. So a developer leaves a project - boo hoo would be the attitude of the 'leaders' (elite?).

I was always told "manners cost nothing" and "always tell the truth" and I do live to these principles. But I still manage to be to the point and clear in my opinion without offending anyone (as far as I know).

When writing, it can be difficult to write and convey a conciliatory tone, but people can at least try.

There are ways of saying things and there are ways of saying things and learning how to be blunt and honest without being needlessly offensive is IMHO an important part of language and indeed, life.

My tuppence.

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