[Talk-us] "Screw-up" of borders

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sat Mar 26 21:45:09 GMT 2011

Charlotte Wolter writes:
 > Nathan,
 >          I read on the Talk US forum that I have made a mistake on a 
 > state boundary near Four Corners. Specifically, you said I had 
 > "screwed up" the border. It would have been helpful if you had 
 > contacted me directly and worked with me to fix that mistake.

Highly analytical people believe that it's reasonable to speak
directly about people's behavior. When they (we!) think somebody has
made a mistake, they directly call it a mistake. The rest of the
population (90% or more) are simply aghast at this behavior. Many
highly analytical people are equally aghast (e.g. you, Charlotte).

I realize that it feels unreasonable and uncomfortable, but using
weasel words around accusations of misbehavior ("screwed up") helps
them to be more readily accepted. Modifiers like "I'm not sure" or
"This seems wrong to me", or "I think" help break the news better.
Another technique is to correct in private and praise in public.
E.g. "Great job editing in the Four Corners area, Charlotte" but in
private "I think your edit of ($changeset URL) may not be correct. I
think it should be (whatever). Do you agree?"

If you think "I don't have time to play politics", then do you have
time to FAIL? I'm thinking that playing politics is more productive.

No, I'm NOT looking at you, Nathan. We ALL do this. To an extent,
Charlotte just did it, and to an extent, I'm doing it in this very

We're all on the same side; be gentle.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
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