Considering the extent to which I’m still a public figure, it is perhaps surprising how seldom I get email that deserves a thorough, up-one-side-and-down-the-other flaming. I got one today which I shall reproduce here as a perfect example of how not to engage me.
I just finished skimming through your guide: “How To Ask Questions The Smart Way“.
I am sorry to say I am alarmed by the kind of immature mentality that runs through it.
I will not begin to analyze how many of the assertions you make are simply illogical and unjust, because it upsets me to think about them.
I would like to ask you to consider the reasons why you are taking this stance. If it’s out of sympathy for the superior caste of ‘hackers’, an idiotic and misapplied term if ever there was one, do you realize that you are describing real people with serious psychological problems, and that you are feeding their pain by your writings?
I hope you can balance the effort you have put behind this document with some social responsibility,
I swear to all of you I did not invent or modify even a word of this. I wouldn’t have been capable; I can’t simulate galloping stupidity that well. Here was my response:
Thank you, this email is easily the most unintentionally risible thing I’ve read in the last week. I could say I’m “alarmed” by your appalling ignorance and more-concerned-than-thou condescension, but I’m laughing too hard to be alarmed.
“Upsets me to think about them”, eh? Poor, poor, fluffy, *precious* you. I’m positively vibrating with sympathy. Not. And, oh look, you used the magic cant phrase “social responsibility” – a sign infallible that the speaker is either a tender-minded idiot or a manipulative thug. In your case my money is definitely on tender-minded idiot.
Actually, if you had labored for weeks with the conscious intention of writing something that would earn my derision and contempt, you could hardly have done better than this.
I might have to post this outpouring of yours on my blog as a perfect example of Not Having A Clue. But I won’t attach your name to it; I’m not cruel enough to expose you to the public mockery that would ensue.
In case the lesson isn’t clear, my automatic response to attempts at moral bullying is “Fuck you and the pretensions you rode in on.” If you want to get my attention in any but the most negative way, don’t even try it.