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A Helpful Tip

Friday, July 25, 1997 by Dave Winer.

A helpful tip for reporters who are being flamed by zealots...

First, everyone who writes publicly should be able to listen to thoughtful criticism, factual disagreement, or different conclusions drawn from the same set of facts. That's part of the value of writing publicly. This kind of discourse is a good thing.

Guy Kawasaki writes in Forbes that writers should publish their email addresses so people can respond. I agree with Guy, as far as this goes. Unfortunately, especially when you write about Apple, much of the email you get is invasive, and I believe dangerous to directly respond to.


How to recognize an invasion Permalink to How to recognize an invasion

It's not a big deal when someone mis-spells your name, it could be an accident; but it *is* a big deal when they tell you why you're so bitter or demand something from you other than to be heard.

You can't respond to challenges that enter areas of your life that are off-limits, such as masculinity or femininity, your quality as a person, your right to live (death threats), or your true motivations. Much of the email is incredibly arrogant. I know why you're doing this, there's no point asking because you'd lie.

Zzzzzz, on good days. Ouch! (on not so good days).

A secret formula Permalink to A secret formula

I've found a secret formula that helps steer a conversation into safe territory. I ask the writer who he or she is. Where does your passion come from? How long have you been using a Mac? What experiences have you had using a Mac, negative or positive?

It's amazing how that can transform the conversation. The response, if thoughtful, can help you empathize. There's something to learn from each person, even someone who starts a conversation by invading your space.

So before I give up, I've tried a simple three-word response.

Who are you?

It's like the golden rule. Do unto others...

And I like the results!


Dave Winer

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."