Maciej is (1) a friend (2) very funny and (3) in agreement with my beliefs, so I couldn’t resist linking to Dabblers and Blowhards, his new essay.
But the key issue that appealed to me about his piece is that the fundamental problem with many people who really get our goat on the Internet is that they do it by talking about things that we care about, that we know a lot about or that we are knowledgeable about, without sharing any of these traits.
It may be helpful to create a table of equivalence, in the same way that a chef might substitute honey for sugar in a recipe if they’ve run out. Only, in this case, it’s bits of knowledge which can’t be substituted for one another. (These are all transitive.)

  • Being a geek growing up != Sociology or anthropology degree
  • Coming up with an idea != Inventing something
  • Knows a programming language != Understands politics
  • Loud != Persuasive
  • Gets other people to stop talking != Persuasive
  • Coding Skill != Talent in Management, Business Development, Marketing, or the practice of Law
  • Writes a lot != Writes well
  • Funny != Correct
  • Similar to me != Correct
  • Well known != Respected
  • Rude != Honest
  • Polite != Honest
  • Fast != Smart

I’m sure there’s lots more, but these are the first ones that popped to mind.