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If you are expecting a huge revelation or impressive technical weblog I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you. In light of some recent events both inside of and outside of SDN I felt it was time to revisit a subject, one that I visited awhile back here on SDN – Webdevelopers and Ethics.

Now I’m not saying I am a perfect person nor am I saying that I know what is best all the time. What I am saying is that as a human being and a professional we all have to consider and be careful of our actions especially inside of a online environment where angers can flare because of a misunderstanding of how something was typed.

Now I don’t want to hash up arguements or hurt feelings and I must say I had not expected this at all here on SDN let alone in my own work environment, however it is there and not to believe it is, is to be naive.

The purpose of this weblog is to simply ask everyone to consider their actions and their comments because we are people here, regardless of culture and with that each of us deserve some form of respect. In the past I too have shot off in the mouth and been very critical of individuals who have done what in my opinion is the wrong thing. I have tried to learn from those mistakes though.

Recently in my personal life there was a case where two friends were angry with the other over what I thought to be a trivial item. Now after having enough, I confronted both of them together and I made each tell me their side of the story, now individually I had already heard both sides, or so I thought. What I came to find out there was another aspect of the story that was embarrassing for both of them and they only finally revealed that side when they sat together. Once all of the pieces of the puzzle were on the table we were able to work through the problem together and avoid anymore conflict.

Which brings us now to SDN, now this of course is not my place as I am just a member but as a member I hold this website in high regards and I want to ensure that it stays that way. In my last weblog on ethics I closed it with this message:

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Some of you may be wondering why I choose to share these thoughts here on SDN, well the reason was simple. We all here help each other out and you see quite often the names of each of us in weblogs, articles and posts. I think that SDN is one of those few places were each and every developer here holds to their morals and ethics in this regard.

I for one just want to applaud that!

I meant that then and I mean it even more now. Recently here I’ve found, shockingly as it is, that there have been cases where an individual comes online and posts a messages then logs off and logs back on answers it then again as the first user in order to assign points to themselves. I have to ask are the points that important? Are they worth your credibilty and reputation and even more are they worth your self respect?

Some people out there may reply to this weblog with the names of those who have done this recently. I personally don’t want to know and I ask that SDN delete any comment that lists those names.

The points system has become rather competive and several are trying hard to attain all the points they can, I personally can not blame them I enjoy the points as well. I would rather see them achieve the points through their own hard work, not by copying the answer from someone else and pasting it again. The idea here is to educate and motivate inviduals to learn and solve their problems not give them the solution outright.

Now many might say that it is easy for me to say all of this because I sit here with over 9000 points and I am one of very people who have achieved this. Well in show of faith, I will happily donate whatever points this particular weblog generates which provided SDN publishes it (yes I am asking them to review it first) would be between 40 and 120 points. I will dontate those points to anyone of the individuals at SDN’s discretion who has made good our there second chance that we all deserve to have by making up for their previous actions with a good and solid weblog post.

Furthermore I will not ask nor need to know who that individual is.

I just want that people enjoy their time here like I do as do most of my fellow SDNers image My point is a simple one, don’t judge everyone so harshly when they make a mistake, perhaps it was an honest mistake and perhaps it was unintenional, give them the chance to try again. Let’s try to keep the moderators from having to take harsh action, we as a community should be able to motivate and educate (two words used around here often enough) those individuals into acting in a better manner on our own.

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  1. Anonymous
    Craig,
    I totally agree with your suggestion to always act after due reflection when we face these ticklish questions.
    But often, right after done due reflection, I think that an honest and not in bad faith bitter reproach from SDNers themselves has to be take into serious consideration because can act as powerful psychological deterrent more than any harsh action that moderators can adopt to intervene in such despicable conduct.
    It’s simply a kind of self-defence that is natural.
    Any delation would be immediately revealed.
    But let’s avoid to confuse forgiveness with judgement.
    The second one doesn’t preclude the first one, but there is a little difference: judgement is due (at least from the appointed persons, our moderators, in this case), forgiveness depends from a moral choice that belong to the personal conscience of everyone.
    Let’s give to all a second chance, sure, but, at least when bad faith is obvious and manifest, scolding someone can be better than only slapping on the shoulder and say “don’t worry, everybody can make mistakes”.
    But I feel that your thought is really near to what I’m writing…

    Bye,
    Roberto

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    1. Craig Cmehil
      Hi Roberto,

      Yes my thoughts are in the same line as what you have written, and the reason I wrote this was also a way of saying that we as SDNers are here and aware and not just sitting idly by waiting for SDN themselves to act. We are here to encourage, educate and motivate everyone into the proper behaviour and by way of action showing them that we are a community and one that stands together and that we don’t want this type of action but we are not just going to bite someone’s head off and leave them to rot, we want them to come on board and in order to do this we need to understand why they choose the way they did to begin with and what can we do to alter that into a more positive means of communicating with us and the rest of the SDN world.

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      1. Anonymous
        Craig,
        you say “we want them to come on board and in order to do this we need to understand why they choose the way they did”…
        Ok, but to do this it’s necessary a kind of peaceful and collaborative introspection and, above all, the admission of the error (o, at least, the willingness to serenely talk about that).
        Then we can (try to) start to follow this rehabilitation itinerary all together…
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        1. Craig Cmehil
          The idea is that if we as SDNer’s, or veterans so to speak and in my opinion once one starts to can some ground in SDN they are a vetern, that we show the positive way of working with SDN.

          But you are also correct that it is a two way street and unless they are willing to work together in a positive way with us then our chances of turning the  negative situation around is limited.

          Again hopefully some of these individuals will read this weblog and consider things and contact one of the moderators to take appropriate action for the “turning over of a new leaf”.

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          1. Anonymous
            Hey Craig,
            I came across that same suspicion the other day – I only check the forum once in 2 days at the moment, but while scanning through the threads I recognised several quick answers by the same user …

            It’s not my intention to place any further comments on this, just wanted to back up your opinion and statement, you weren’t the only one noticing.

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            1. Craig Cmehil
              Be sure to report those to the moderator of the forum Max, and keep your eye on them as well if it’s the same combination of user asking/user answering then perhaps we/you might want to send an email to the answer – the question of course is what to say? This is where the problem lies, I mean we don’t want to run to the moderators and tell them but how do we approach the user?
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    2. Eddy De Clercq
      My personal opionion about all this is that the effort taken could be better spent writing articles/blogs for the community. This gives more satisfaction, serves a broader goal and returns more points.

      A solution for the future would be that one must agree with the ‘Terms of Use’ of SDN in order to register. When one fails to comply to this, the SDN admins can take further actions.

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      1. Craig Cmehil
        You are correct, the effort could be put to a more positive use and that it is in accordance with what most of us all agree, it’s the second half which is were in my opinion we need a slightly softer stance.

        Give everyone the second chance but do so by positive response to their negative actions. We are a community afterall and there’s always that “Innocent until proven guilty” thing. I personally would rather keep SDN admins out of the problems until after the second chance has shown to be ineffective. I think the community should deal with it’s own until such a time as their is no resolution. Again though, there are times when this is not possible and therefore the admins need to be there in quick response.

        Luckily the incidents here have been very rare but  the issue should be dealt with now.

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  2. Benny Schaich-Lebek
    I learnt my lessons about this in the early nineties, when there still was no real web and I had the pleasure to run a CompuServe Forum. An interesting experience. Since then I have a good understanding why politicians talk the way they do – it’s the only way not to hurt anybody in a large crowd.
    Everything else leads to misunderstanding and -interpretation and soon you are in a defending position. This is a large crowd and nobody should take anything happening here too personal. It’s the only way to survive 😉

    Regards,
    Benny

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