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[flagged] People who own businesses should not act like assholes (kamens.us)
51 points by hnyk 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments

To be honest, it was the author who I felt like, while perhaps not an asshole, showed a pretty intense level of oblivious immaturity.

I get it, the other guy was a jerk, especially to someone who was maintaining an add-on for free. But at the point where the author responded with the "Sorry, I don't agree with that," he should have left it at that and moved on. Who cares what some rando on the internet thinks about your product? Instead the author decided to go into vindictive mode and leave the negative review, and then leave this whole blog post, which does the author no favors. To be honest, to me the cringiest part of this article is it feels like the author is trying to project how virtuous he is, when, at least for me, it had the opposite effect.

Totally my thoughts. Plus I thought the email asking him to take down the reviews was fair and respectfully written. And leaving reviews for businesses you’ve not been a customer of is in bad faith.

To be fair, he made clear in the review that it was about something personal, and everything he said might be of interest to potential customers depending on the type of busyness. And while that particular email was somewhat more respectful than the others, they didn't even spell the guys name right, and they should have apologized nonetheless. Childish? Yes. Undeserved? Certainly not.

For me the author can be considered a supplier instead of a customer. Maybe they don't have a legal contract stating the business relationship. But the business owner is using both the software and support of the author. That it is free shouldn't make a difference here.

Not really; the user was clearly using the addon privately, not for his busyness, so he wasn't really supplying the busyness itself.

I think the review demonstrates the management of the company. People don't agree with Zuckerbergs decisions, they can choose not to use his product.

You don't like the decisions/actions of management of a company, you choose not to use the company.

You act like a dick bag, and get a bad review. It shows you don't know how to conduct your self maturely. Not someone I would want to go into business with.

And honestly, the user's suggestion wasn't bad.

The user's suggestion wouldn't actually solve the problem the user wanted solved.

If there are scheduled messages queued to be sent when Thunderbird starts up, then Send Later sends them immediately, before the user has a chance to click any "Stop" button. The only way to prevent that is to delete the message when you no longer want it sent, which is what I explained to the user.

There's also a preference the user could have enabled in the Send Later preferences to tell it not to send messages that are past due by more than x minutes when Thunderbird starts up. So there are actually _two_ different ways already in the extension for solving the problem the user wanted solved.

It's FOSS, I don't have unlimited time to work on it, there are a lot of other more important features I'd be working on if I had time rather than adding a third solution to a problem for which there are already two other solutions.

Just one troll feeding another troll.

Totally agree. And the clearest sign of that is that the author is the one who cursed first.

I agree! Author is the asshole. Could have kept his response as was (make the changes yourself) or not made any response at all.

The author approached a doxxing vs harassment discrepancy, doxxing seems much more uncivilized.

Further, I think the author should consider the features of his software and the people it attracts. Frankly the author could have ended the conversation earlier when the complainant specified that his use of the software was to harass.

Randomly punishing "some rando on the internet" in public can be both a fun, albeit nonconstructive, recreational activity and a way to keep them in line by educating the rest.

If this blog post makes even one jerk change attitude towards open-source software (or about dealing with people in general) coming out as vindictive and hypocritical was an acceptable price to pay.

Trading one jerk for another doesn't accomplish much unless you know one of them personally.

I've worked on FOSS before and got a handful of messages from people like this. They're very very few and far between, but I always found them fascinating because of how much it broke their worldviews.

They're usually people who control enough money that they can 'throw money at a problem' and it'll largely diminish or go away. They usually find a desperate enough vendor, employee, or subcontractor who will deal with their attitudes for enough cash, or quickly fire them if they can't.

They usually have the inverse attitude towards customers giving them money -- that is, they believe it's also part of their job to take abuse from those willing to buy.

So, most of their business transactions involve them giving or taking abuse with the threat of financial withdrawal if the abuse isn't accepted. It's how they define transactions. "Who's the abuser, who's the abusee?" The answer depends, strictly, on which way the money is flowing.

FOSS breaks their worldview because they're not the customer in the same way. They don't have that leverage. They're just an angry person on the street asking you to help them carry their groceries in, and at some point, if they realize it, it's priceless.

What you are describing is to some level the essence of consulting/contracting or at least folks that are in that industry. This type of abuser/abusee relationship in business is prevalent all over the place especially to defer blame when things go south (paying for someone to essentially take the blame) and also defer decision making . thanks for the food for thought.

The Internet over the years has taught me the fine art of non-engagement. Just... stop. The instant it starts going down a bad road, stop. Don't send another message, or send a blithely positive one just to blunt the energy and move on.

Seems so simple, but I think the need for closure is what keeps many from being able to do this. But it's dangerous. The Internet is dangerous. All it takes is for one person, it doesn't even have to be a party to the interaction, to ruin your day if not your life.

Legal threats? Please. This guy might SWAT you.

I agree. Don't poke the internet bear. You might not fully understand the level of crazy on the other end of the router.

I've been poking the internet bear for over 30 years. That's quite obvious if you read the other articles on my blog. I'm not one to back down from a fight when I think someone is in the wrong. And yes, sometimes I've paid for that, such as when a Usenet kook tried to get me fired from my job for having the temerity to disagree with him. But overall I'd rather be the guy who stood up for what I believed was right than the guy who didn't. As always, YMMV.

30 years ago, I'd have been right there with you. Nowadays? Oh hell no. The threat landscape has changed.

Wow, out of all the things I've written on my blog, _this_ makes it onto the front page of HN. How droll.

BTW, just to be clear, I wasn't the one who posted the link here. I don't think it's particular relevant to what HN is for, but shrug apparently somebody did.

This is all I'm going to have to say about the attacks on my character here...

When some stranger on the internet acts like a dick toward me in private emails, I call it out -- in private emails.

When I decide that someone has acted sufficiently like a dick toward me in private emails, I put them in my burn-before-read file, and I tell them so, because I don't believe in ghosting people.

That's usually the end of it.

When someone, having been told that they are now in my burn-before-read file, decides they're going to go out of their way to email me from a different email address and harass me some more, then that's just what it is -- harassment. If they'll do it to me, they'll do it to other people, and I believe that calling out harassers publicly is, in fact, the right thing to do. That's why I posted the reviews.

I disagree with the claim made below that it was "bad faith" to do so, because having interacted with the business owner, I was in fact in a position to know his character and how he treats people, and that is certainly an appropriate thing to tell people about who might be considering whether to patronize a business.

The last letter I got from them, asking me take down the reviews, was not "fair." It was an attempt to intimidate me into taking down my reviews. It was, in fact, a classic example of an attempt at such intimidation. If you don't recognize it as such, try reading @Popehat a bit. It is perfectly appropriate to respond with public shaming to someone trying to intimidate you into taking down content you posted about them that they don't like (again, see @Popehat). Ever heard of the Streisand effect?

Finally, as I believe I made quite clear in the blog posting, I would have taken down all of the reviews and the blog posting itself in a second if they had simply apologized. I still would, if they apologized today. There's no expiration date on that offer.

I'm sorry to say, but things went off the rails before he used the second email address.

In the email with the GitHub link, the final two paragraphs were an unnecessary provocation, especially the profanity in the first and personal insult in the second. Everything after that was mean-spirited and unnecessary, including your response to the second email address and the reviews.

I got into a lot of verbal fights on the internet over the years before I learned that typing at people only makes it worse. State your case plainly, without name calling, and leave it. If they keep going then 99% of the time they're trolling, and 1% they have no self control.

If you really feel the urge to "give it to them," maybe stop and think about why you feel that way. Nothing good ever comes from trying to hurt someone else to make a point, especially if that point is to make yourself feel better.

The best response is always kindness. If that doesn't work, then walk away. Escalating solves nothing.

Some days I agree with you. Some days I don't.

Now other people are posting bullshit reviews on yelp and google (and maybe facebook, I’m not checking). Not only are you an asshole, you’ve convinced other assholes to post bad faith reviews of a business they’ve never interacted with as a customers.

And I bet you’re really proud of yourself. Of course, you can explain your actions, that must mean you’re a good person and what you did was right.

I don't have a lot of sympathy. The author was in the wrong for engaging with a crazy asshole, but in the end it is a crazy asshole. If being a crazy asshole comes with collateral damage sometimes, it just means there's a little bit of justice in the world.

What about "mark as spam" and move on? I maintain a few OSS projects and, occasionally, get some of those quite often. I just move on. Or...ask for $(2|5|10)k to do it for him - that also works

I mean, "mark as spam" is basically "burn before read," which is what I did to him. The difference, I guess, is that I told him I was doing it, because, like I said before, I think ghosting people is rude. YMMV.

Regarding quoting a ridiculously large number to add a requested feature, yes, sometimes I do that, and sometimes people even take me up on it and I end up both adding useful functionality to the software that everyone gets to benefit from, and making some money out of it as well. But I won't do that when the feature being requested isn't actually the right way to solve the problem. I've explained in another comment why it wasn't in this case. I'm not going to let someone pay me to make my software worse, and if you quote a price to scare someone off, sometimes they surprise you and say yes.

> ask for $(2|5|10)k to do it for him - that also works

Makes me wish emails had a feature where they took a photo of the reader as they open it, I'm sure we'd get some rather hilariously confused expressions :D

You lied. It only took me 5 seconds, not 30, to find out where you live. Probably because I also have a domain, so I knew where and how to look instantly ;P

The internet will never fully agree with you and at the end of the day you did what was right for you. Sometimes you have to say enough is enough just for your moral compass to sleep well at night. I am certain you have better things to do then call people out for nothing so I do believe this guy had it coming. Other times on HN the sentiment is the opposite and public shaming is encouraged. I don’t think you went over the top with your reaction.

While you have every right to be upset at that dick, you could act more mature by not feeding the troll. There is no victory there to be had. Either way I don’t find this a big deal. The legal assistant email is just asking for it. I’ve dealt with a few of these but some from actual lawyers, you can have some fun with those if you know the law.

I mean no one really comes out looking good in this story.

You don't trump an asshole by out-assholing him

Yep, it takes two to keep the drama going.

If you want to fight, argue. If you want to end a fight, empathize.

People tend to think there's right/wrong in a fight when it's almost always emotional and can't be proven or justified with logic.

It's a beautiful story where one asshole meets another.

It's incredible the author was so proud of being an asshole that he wrote a blog post about it.

To be fair I've probably had the odd time I've been like that too!

Only few people can act like Linus and get away with it (and for a good reason). HN is the worst place to brag about stuff like this. I'm a person with limited patience and it's toxic for my business for me to deal with clients that's why only my partner deals with it while I stay on the technical part. It's worked wonders. It's no shame in admitting you're not the guy to do it all.

"You're not wrong Walter, you're just an asshole." - The Dude.

I often want to vent about shite like this, so I feel for you. It sucks to get treated like dirt and just have to swallow it, else risk a bad-internet-wrap for (rightfully or wrongfully) putting someone in their place.

But outside of an anonymous post, which is not nearly was cathartic, it's better to keep ones mouth shut in an ever so politically correct environment, dollar wise speaking anyways. People speak about how wrong bullying is, but then frown upon punching back. Unfortunately, a good counter punch is often the quickest resolution.

Good for you for standing up for yourself. I personally would hire you for being someone that tells it how it is, but most corporate HR teams may frown upon it, expecting you to be "trouble".

Can feel for the author. I have several open source projects and some users are very entitled and demanding. Some guy sent me an email demanding something and when I didn't respond fast enough (was sleeping during the night), gave me an 1-star rating couple hours later. Some would add, "1-star rating unless such and such features are added." Yeah right, like I give a shit about rating, especially on an open source project I publish out of my generosity.

I honestly don't understand how they could have spelled that street name wrong.

I mean, she spelled my name wrong to. She spelled her own email address differently in two places. Attention to detail does not appear to be this person's strong suit.

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