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From the Grumpier Old Man: Any way the wind blows.

I have been having this strange feeling lately. It’s a mixture of being flabbergasted, frustrated, and, since I don’t know any other appropriate words starting with an F (due my limited grammar skills), depressed, outrageous, etc. What’s causing this? After rumination I found the reason and I want to share it once more. This time, I will skip all diplomacy, knowing that I will tread on several toes, yes even run the risk of losing some friendships. I guess that’s the price I need to pay, don’t you agree?
All of this can be traced back to the “If you have nothing to say – just shut up” by Valery and the forum SCN Support by Blag. I hasten to add that I have nothing against the authors, in the contrary. They pinpoint, rightfully enough, for the X-th time that things are going wrong. I applaud this, it can’t be done enough. Surprisingly enough, both posts are getting – relatively spoken – a lot of response. That didn’t happen a lot in the past (I’m sure someone will find the exception to prove the contrary) so that should be seen as positive. Should, because I’m not so sure about that. Suddenly, everybody has to have their say on things, whether or not one can make head or tail of their comments. It seems that some people don’t even take the time to properly read the initial posts and comments. Some insist on ventilating their own (half) truth, yes even bashing on (insults and accusations in web log Before BI there was AI: will Enterprise SOA bring it back? are getting to be the norm these days) about things/people, which is just the thing which the authors were complaining about. It seemed to resemble the trend of the media standing at an event who – since everything has already been said – having nothing new to report. But they wrap things up in order to disguise this fact. When the soap bubble bursts, you’re left with nothing.
Is the same happening over here? Will the SDN community ‘behave’ from now on? I don’t think so. The best proof is the existence of the Grumpy blogs for over > 1 year now, trying to denounce misbehaviour. I don’t expect people to listen to me, that would be giving myself far too much credit. All I want to say is that things have been happening over a long period now that the community just turns a blind eye to. I picked out 3 examples from the many and wrapped things up in a metaphor, which some of you will probably find ridiculous.

Example 1: The chicken and the egg, but then 100% recycled.
Once I wrote a web blog on Chicken Run. Less than a half year later, somebody wrote a blog indicating that Yet another Firefox Search Plugin, claiming to have been inspired by the web log Extending Firefox & IE to ease SAP sites search. When I pointed out that it had already been covered in other scribblings, including others than those that I described above, the reaction was that value was added by indicating that there is a difference between brown and white eggs. On top of that, somebody else SAP Firefox 2 Plugins another six months later that the new chicken don’t lay eggs anymore and that he has fixed it, without mentioning the new breathing The beloved in sweet harmony.

Example 2: In the country of the blind, the one-eyed blogger is king
About a month ago somebody wrote a web log, letting all of us know that Using External Operating System Commands, which of course is only half the truth. Strangely enough, people reacted very positively as if they’d seen the revelation of the year, even if I indicated that there are more types of pigs than the domestic one. Any encyclopaedia on or offline would reveal this. One only needs to make the effort to look into it. I guess that the picture of Miss Piggy blinded them.

Example 3: When one see the mote in one’s brother’s eye but don’t see the beam in one’s own
Around the same period, somebody asked how to milk cows in the forum where people ask questions about goats. When I tried to pinpoint the wrong post AND also refer the post to the info for milking cows, I got blamed for doing this. The question wasn’t wrong, the answer was wrong. I admit that I didn’t butter the poster up, but how many traffic signs does one need to prevent people driving against the traffic. If one persists, only nails will (hopefully) stop them.

You might soliloquize that the Grumpy is jealous of the posters mentioned above and embittered that his web logs / spleens (cross out what’s not appropriate according to you) are to no avail. I suppose you could take it like that. All I know is that I’ve failed to understand the S(D)N community and go against the – in my eyes wrong – current.
I therefore think that it’s time for me – as Grumpy old man – to pull back and reflect on things. I won’t have the spare time for a while anyway since I will soon be having major surgery – WARNING, this is the rant part of the Grumpy – where the lower half of my skull needs to be reconstructed. In contrast to the last From the Grumpy Old Man: I’m not an addict, I won’t be thinking up new stories to tell. I will have better things to do.

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  • Well my grumpy old friend, let me be the first to wish you all the best and a speedy recovery.

    You are right. It seems to me that there is some strange things afoot in the SAP Network World.
    Part of these things are related to growth. There are a few more people around these days and therefore more chances for someone to write on similar topics.

    With regard to pink pigs. I think a lot of the joy you mention was a balance to your pouring cold water on the guys post. Yes there was SAP documentation on the topic but does that exclude someone writing on it?

    Yes someone will ask a question in the wrong forum. Yes some people will post post that look remarkably similar. Yes some people will blatantly plagerise published materials on other sites. People may even post blogs that are more about them than the content. ‘Look at me everyone. I am published on SDN’. These things will probably happen again and they will be dealt with by the moderators and the wonderful people at SDN as they see fit.

    And once in a while a genuine find will come along who selflessly contributes time and energy to making this the best Developer and Process site in the world. You have to move a lot of dirt to find some gold.

    Once again, let me wish you all the best for the days ahead of you and I look forward to more posts from you when you can find the time to post.

    Kind regards,

    • Nigel,

      I don’t mind that people write about stuff that is already documented as long as it has added value, which in a lot of cases can be easily accomplished. In this case extra info on the check modules (eg a sample) or what else needs to be done on a Unix system (he has screen dumps on a HP-UX) user permission wise, would do fine for me.


  • Perhaps it is time indeed to reflect on what one is doing and has done and ask if it’s the right thing anymore or not…

    All the best Eddy!! Holler if you need anything!

  • Hey Grumpy:

    Wish you a quick recovery -;)

    This is a great community…a really big community…we have a lot of bloggers…a lot of forums posters…and a lot of different ways of thinking…But it’s wrong to you, can be good to me…

    I don’t want to repeat the same thing, but more moderator are needed…And of course…Active moderators are needed.

    I gotta say…The number of posts on my “morality” thread really surprise me…because the same problems I tried to point, are still reflecting everywhere…



  • Eddy –

    This is in response to your observation about insults and accusations.

    For some reason, web-sites that permit relatively free posting/responding (like SDN) seem to encourage passive-aggressive behavior, even more so than university academic departments  (I’m sure you know what I mean by this, given where you currently work.)

    One classic pattern of passive-aggressive behavior is for participant A to insult participant B, and then when participant B points out that he has been the recipient of an insult, participant A says “Oh – you’re way too sensitive – I was only kidding”. 

    Another variation on this theme is for one or more friends of A to tell B that B is being too sensitive because A was “just kidding”. 

    This is even a more successful gambit because it appeals to the old “strength in numbers” concept.

    The reason this kind of thing is classic passive-aggressive behavior is because when A posts the initial insult, A is being “aggressive”, and then when A (or one of his friends) claims that he was just “kidding”, A is backing-off and therefore being “passive”. 

    I don’t think that even the most skilled and active moderators will ever stomp out this kind of passive-aggressive behavior at SDN or any other web-site. 

    Best thing one can do is not flinch from pointing it out every time it happens, without losing one’s sense of humor in the process.

    Meanwhile, on a much more important note, I too wish you all the best at this difficult time.


  • Eddy, I imagine from reading your blog details that you didn’t exactly have Mary Poppins in mind when you titled this “any way the wind blows”, but I can’t help but think of all the children that were saddened, the Banks children no exception, when Mary Poppins left 17 Cherry Tree Lane with the West Wind blowing her away from those that had come to love her.  Can you blame me for looking for hidden meanings?  Mary Poppins and Grumpy are both stern, magical figures who attempt to turn chaos into something orderly and useful. Indubitably! plenty is explained
    So, I am looking for the “easter egg”, the hidden symbols.  Can I find them?  The very middle chapter of the First Mary Poppins Travers book is called “Bad Tuesday” (I guess that this Tuesday is one, if you are leaving).  With 102 blogs, nearly 20,000 points, and 157545 blog views, I’m wondering if there is something we need to decode about Grumpy’s prolific accomplishments on SDN, and in a second language, to boot before he absents himself?  Like the Banks children there will be some that will be devastated not to read another Grumpy blog in the near future….I guess I’ll be one of those.  Take good care of yourself.  We will wait for the east wind to blow again…..
  • Hi Eddy,

    Our thoughts are with you and we wish you all the best and a speedy recovery.

    S(D)N as you always write will be a less grumpy place when you are gone and this honest grumpiness will be dearly missed.

    Get well soon, Mark.

  • Hi,

    have a quick recovery!
    So your head is in shape when testing the “screaming gets you nothing” theory,
    since talking about it and asking didn’t help before 😉