Posted On: Tuesday, 07 July 2009 by Rajiv Popat

With only three visitors; my mom, me and you dear reader; this blog is a highly unlikely target for threats and intimidation. Having said that; what I often have a problem with; is the fact that; every now and then; I find myself defending my ideas from countless seemingly harmless attacks of Bozoism. The count of these isolated incidences seem to be slowly creeping up with every passing month.

While I completely believe in having strong opinions which are weekly held and the idea of having direct open arguments; it is when these arguments become completely illogical, baseless and turn into personal attacks; they start stressing you out emotionally.

Given all the incidents, emails, conversations, discussions and a few flame-wars that I've witnessed in the last one month I think it's time to wear the gloves and take up a stance that is both defensive and aggressive when it comes to the ideas and opinions expressed on this blog.

This post is about building a few of these psychological constructs that allow me to take that aggressive stance but then switch over to a defensive mode and escape without getting burnt when the flame-wars begin.

Acts Of Bozoism

When I started this blog; and started writing about my thoughts on software development; the idea was to turn my personal experiences and random thoughts into a coherent stream of ideas that others can connect to.

Doing that; has been fun.

It has taught me more than I ever hoped to learn and introduced me to a small number of really smart people I feel lucky to have known. The very start of this blog is an interesting story of me meeting and interacting with a bunch of really smart programmers; that I would have never had the opportunity to work with otherwise. I should probably do a separate post on that story sometime later.

To be honest; the tiny little blog with a small readership; has even brought me professional opportunities which I humbly and politely turned down. This was something I hardly expected could happen. Even though I write for none of these benefits; getting these as a free bonus has been a fun experience overall.

Having said that; lately; I've also started realizing that the act of turning your ideas into something that you can ship out to the world; gives any anonymous bozo out there the right to email you and pass random judgments on not just your work; but your thought process and even your way of life.

This post is supposed to give me some psychological constructs to dodge these random acts of Bozoism.

The Argument Continues

Besides the random acts of Bozoism; another form of argument that I am starting to have serious questions on; is the perfectly-logical-but-never-ending-type.

This is the kind where someone starts a discussion around a seamlessly harmless topic like:

'Hey Pops; do you think we should have detailed project plan for our project?'.

That's when you explain how utterly meaningless and over-rated the whole idea of project-plans is.

'Yes; but you know; this project is different; it's huge; we're building an enterprise system.' --- you are told.

Yes; we've all seen that horse-shit before.

You try to explain that; but it hardly helps.

It just results in another 'Yes-but' argument.

Now; don't get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with 'Yes-But' discussions. It is just that; when they cross thirty emails back and forth; or five hours of conversation in a cafe; without any clear indicating of coming to an end that they start stressing you out; mentally and emotionally.

You want to help the other person. You want to influence him; which is why you decided to participate in the discussion in the first place.

Having said that; it's when the 'Yes-But' discussions start stressing you out and you find yourself defending your ideas; you realize; that maybe the other person wasn't looking for help. Maybe he was looking for confirmation of his own ideas. This is when you realize that; maybe his ideas mean to him what your ideas mean to you.

That's when you realize that maybe; having a formal Microsoft Project Plan is as important to him as having kick ass developers in your team is important to you.

He is just not ready to throw his project plan out of the window yet.

Put simply; that's when you realize that maybe this isn't just a friendly battle of really strong opinions weekly held; it's a completely different thought process; a different core value or totally different way of life.

When this happens you want to give the person due respect for having a different opinion; wish him luck with his thought process and find an escape route to get out without getting burnt mentally or emotionally.

Besides the random acts of Bozoism; this post is supposed to give me some psychological constructs to end the 'Yes-But' arguments which otherwise have a tendency to continue and end up causing everyone involved a lot of stress.

Twitter Tags To The Rescue.

For all those of you who have been watching my twitter account (@Thousandtyone) activity; I am clearly becoming much more alive and involved at twitter. One thing I find really amusing about twitter is the whole idea of Twitter-Hash-Tags.

The whole embedding of Hash-Tags in Hundred-And-Forty characters is such an amusing idea that we would all be so much happier if; besides using it in twitter; we used the same approach in our lives.

Going forward; dear reader; I would like to propose the use of a few Hash-Tags which I will be using in verbal discussions; emails; twitter and sometimes even comments of this blog.

Put simply; these tags are supposed to provide you ammunition against random acts of Bozoism and Yes-But arguments and allow you to dodge them peacefully without get burnt in a flame-war. 

Lets talk about these tags.

End Of Bozoism - #EOB

If you find this tag embedded in an email; a comment or a twitter message that I send to you; this is my humble way to tell you that I think the argument is turning into a personal attack or a flame-war and that I am pulling out.

When this happens; you are free to continue to flame me; however; you will not hear back from me on the topic.

As far as I am concerned; even if I have arguments to present and more logical thoughts to discuss --- I am done.

End Of Argument - #EOA

If you find me embedding this tag in an email; a comment or a twitter discussion this is my humble way of telling you that the discussion is perfectly logical and that I am loving the ideas and opinions presented.

Having said that; I do not agree with them.

Yes; I do have some more logical arguments; but If you disagree with my ideas with points presented so far; it is highly unlikely that presenting more logical arguments will help.

The discussion has turned into a Never-Ending-Yes-But-Discussion where both of us seem to have not just different opinions but a completely different thought process or completely different set of core values and continuing the discussion on this topic; in all probabilities will not bring us to a conclusion.

I respect your ideas and I hope you respect mine.

You are free to continue the discussion and present more of your ideas but you will not be hearing from me on this discussion even if I may be tempted to present just one more 'Yes-But' argument from my side.

When I include this tag; I'm just saying; as far as this discussion is concerned --- I am done.


Alternately; I will also be using the End-Of-Yes-But-Discussion (#EOYBD) which means the same thing.

The Real Intent of These Hash-Tags

While #EOB, #EOA or #EOYBD sound rude the very first time you hear them; but I assure you dear reader; they are not. The intention here is not to prove that the other person is wrong; or too stupid to argue with. The intention is to give him due respect for this thoughts; acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion on one topic; that we can let the difference of opinion stay and get along really well by talking about other areas where we tend to agree more.

You're Welcome To Use Them Too

Going forward; every time I see myself getting into a argument that seems to be going nowhere or when the situation demands; I might be using these tags. You; dear reader; are free to use them too.

I am hoping that these tags allow you to hugely lower the need that you feel to indulge in discussions and arguments; specially when they become emotionally stressful; mentally tiring or seem to be having no definite end.

Go ahead; fell free to use them in your e-mails; twitter discussions; blog comments and any other arguments from which you want to back out; and quit by wishing others 'Best-Of-Luck'.

Go use them and have a stress free online existence.

I wish you good luck and just in case; if you do not agree with the whole idea of creating these twitter hash-tags; here is all I can say:



I wish you good luck.

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