A Request for Respect
Wednesday, September 10, 1997 by Dave Winer.
I’ve been cc’d on a bunch of email from Mac zealots to Steve Jobs.
Brutal unfair stuff. The kind of messages I received earlier this summer. Totally over the line. Rude, graphic, painful stuff. You’d never say these kinds of things to a person’s face. It’s inexcusable stuff.
I’d like to broadcast this message far and wide. Stop it!
The best way to be heard is to speak with respect. Take the high road.
Please assume everyone is well-intentioned and smart.
If you don’t know what respect is, take a deep breath, and call a friend and listen to carefully and really hear them. The more you don’t want to hear from the person, the deeper the respect you will experience.
No one is wrong, ever. When you think otherwise, imagine what it’s like to be the other person. Then ask a straight question, with no agenda, no expected answer. And listen.
Remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. And its corollary: what goes around comes around.
Want to grow? Break a loop. Don’t do what you’d normally do.
Save everyone some time. Start your empassioned email with a short paragraph on who you are and what you do. Keep it plain.
Say what your job is, talk about your friends if you want. Now write your empassioned plea. I bet it’ll be a lot more respectful.
Keep a balanced perspective. You’re a computer user. Right on!
You are not a martyr.
Whenever I read this stuff from back in the 90’s, it makes me wish I was reading it THEN instead of writing X-Files reviews on some message board and being in Yahoo Groups like Fans of John Malkovich But I guess we were all young once.
All kidding aside, Dave is truly one of our Yodas on the Internets. You don’t have to agree with him but like any good writer and thinker, he will provoke you to carefully consider his viewpoint, if only for a moment.