This is just a little addendum to Friday's post about computer programmers. I am still getting comments from programmers who feel it is very important that I don't have this completely stupid opinion about what programmers are and what their motivations are. For some reason it is important that this blog, as opposed to the 1.69 million results that turn up on google when you search "programmers suck," doesn't exist in error ... I guess I have a lot more influence than I ever guessed at, since its so important to change my position.
(Incidentally, the first page on that search, Why Programmers Suck, is worth a read)
So, programmers being annoying, not news. I need to add a little aside that its a telling bit of interest that most of the programmers who wrote comments that never saw the light of day (and a few that did) never argued, "I am not an asshole," but more along the lines, "programmers have to be assholes because everyone else in the world is so stupid." I'd say about 90% of the negative responses felt that somehow clients not knowing how to explain what they want justified just about any response a programmer wanted to give, well, anyone.
This was not true of every programmer. At least half of those programmers who answered expressed a desire not to be that way themselves, admitted that a fair portion of programmers do tend to have those characteristics in some degree, and that it was something that should change. All of these comments were without exception published.
It's very easy to identify with one's profession and get upset and defensive when it's attacked, but the bigger reality is that every profession is rife with a particular kind of prick, pissant, prig or phucker. I could write blog posts about writers, actors, directors, engineers, journalists and editors that would be no less harsh and condescending ... only none of those things, in this case, applied to the problem in question. That problem is that for D&D to move forward from the Dark Ages (pencil & paper) is has to embrace new technology and the tools that technology offers. And the only way this will happen is if programmers who play D&D get out of their fixed, flat, fucked thinking patterns.
Some expressed a wonder that I should attack programmers since so many of them played D&D and were likely to read my blog. As if to say, I shouldn't attack the backgrounds of anybody unless they are the kind of people who would never read it. Of course I know there are a lot of programmers in D&D. Which brings up the bigger point. Why, if D&D is a programmer-rich pasttime, has so little been done to improve the game with the programmer's tools?
I don't know. Far too many programmers who play D&D either really aren't very good programmers, or they really suck at D&D. Because anyone who was good at both, and who possessed a solid, nail-it-to-the-fucking-wall work ethic, would have gotten on this thing done two decades ago. Or maybe the brainwashing about what D&D ought to be - this stupid concept that computerization is anti-imagination, for instance - has polluted the minds of good programmers into thinking their dabbling wouldn't be appreciated. Either way, I felt I needed to shake that part of the community up - and the best way is to first make them very uncomfortable. It is in being forced to defend ourselves that we are forced to think about what IS defensible. It is way to compel people to examine themselves, and THEN return an argument. The result is that some will rush to the keyboard, start hammering out an answer and freeze, realizing, "I don't have an answer for that."
Not everyone, of course. A lot of people just drum out the same old beat without thinking about it. But I don't need to make everyone think. Just a few will do nicely.
So if the gentle reader can't understand why I would approach these subjects in this manner of confrontational brutality, there it is. Some will always argue that a gentle prodding and suggestive post is more effective, but its been proven that the more respect you give the status quo, the stronger the status quo gets. The solution is to spit on the status quo, take the heat and let others realize that it's not really that hard to hock up a few big ones themselves. As it goes on, the status quo seems less and less oppressive and meaningful, and change begins to occur.
That is where the energy comes from, O Gentle Reader. From the knowledge that it takes energy to change the world. It can't be done from your lounge chair.