What comes to my mind is a fumbling art student who's been called out on a bad piece, so he's now claiming it's a parody of bad work, or, no wait, actually the reaction of everyone to the poor piece is the piece.
He trots out the persona argument all the time, but I won't give it to him. A persona isn't a set of fake glasses, nose and mustache you can wear whenever you don't want something attached to people's image of you. People with personas make a great effort to separate them from their real selves – wearing costumes, using different names, and actually behaving differently. Ranting from zedshaw.com under the name Zed Shaw doesn't fit my idea of a persona.
Also, it bothers me that the supposed real Zed Shaw uses this deletion to criticize people and put them down (for taking his "persona" seriously) – something his "persona" was well known for.
There may be a part of Zed Shaw that is Fucking Awesome and that is highly opinionated (the audacity to even have an online persona, and to start software projects, points to a large amount of ego). But it was clearly always a self-parody. Unfortunately, self-parody doesn't work on the internet. Everyone always takes you at face value.
I don't think it was a sincere effort. That's my point. Zed just wanted to be able to say mean things about people and not experience any consequences for it. And that's silly.
This fumbling around now is annoying. If he wants to be a mean person he should be a mean person. If he wants to be nice he should say he doesn't want to be mean anymore and be nicer. Changing his behavior and saying it's because I wasn't smart enough to handle his persona – and by the way don't criticize him for anything he said... What is that?
"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
Always loved that quote. Maybe it applies here in a way.
I understand what it's like to put your persona out there. (And if you don't believe everything we put out on the Internet is, at a minimum, part persona -- you're full of shit.)
Wearing your passion on your sleeve can be intoxicating, but also painful. (Notice my last parenthetical statement, I'm passionate -- but I'm prepared to have folks zoom in and focus on one statement and disregard the argument.)
Would this world be a better or worse place without Zed in it? Even if he's a ball of ranting passion -- I think it makes the world a more beautiful place to stay.
You can be a hermit on the internet and just attack. Or you can be a passionate soul and take risks by sticking it all out there. Take your pick, but I'm betting the latter won't have nearly as many regrets as the former.
This guy is a passionate hacker. This guy has physical pain when he can't code. This place, Hacker News, should be the one place where he's definitely a hero.
The only thing you might be able to hold against him is that in his enthusiasm he can also be rather erratic. I would hardly call that a problem, we all like a little bit of commotion and change.
I've never been a fan (mostly for the reasons he points to in this post-- his works often read like "jock speech"), but I have to give him props for trying to move in a different direction now, and own up to the negative consequences of his earlier post. He doesn't want to be mean anymore (or pretend to be mean, either), and I don't think that's a bad thing.
One small step toward civility, one giant leap for Zed. Good for him.
WTF are we still paying attention to him, and why is he still getting to the top of the HN front page when he's done nothing of any real worth for the past year, apart from the opinionated rants he himself has decried?
Like was previously said in this thread, he's a passionate hacker, and puts his passion on his sleeve. While I don't particularly appreciate the excess of harsh in his posts, I consider it no different than Torvalds writing "You're full of shit" on LKML.
The main problem here is about the "people" perception about whate they find "written on the internet", and their constant need of finding an hero to follow: in this scenario, if you're a respected and known developer, you simply cannot ignore your influence on the "crowd" and you have to measure the harshness of your writeups.
I think that the one that best described this situation was Antonio Cangiano, on his blog post "Let's all grow up": http://antoniocangiano.com/2009/01/28/lets-all-grow-up
No it's not. At least, not in this survey of 1100 folks who are deploying Rails apps. http://rails-hosting.com/Results/SurveySummary.html
It was the de facto standard, but Passenger has taken the baton in the last several months.
The Rails Hosting 2009 survey shows that the test group uses Passenger more, but the people in this group are not a random sampling. I would argue that people ahead of the curve are also the people who find it inviting to fill out such a survey.
I've worked with people before that have his "blog" personality (for lack of a better description) but in real life. Most of the time these are really smart people, and they are difficult on others because there are a lot of stupid ideas out there. One way of ensuring you filter out the crap is to shut the door on everything. The good stuff will knock again. I had a boss that called a lot of things I suggested stupid. So when I had to fight to implement an idea, and I was adamant about it, he knew that it probably wasn't stupid, and let me go ahead. Think of it as being skeptical, assertive, and intimidating. In the end, about half of my ideas got implemented. The other half I ended up being glad were not implemented, usually about a year after the decision. He'd been correct, and made me look better by keeping me from making a mistake.
It's a lot like picking up girls at a bar. The good ones are hit on so many times that their gut instinct is to shut you down immediately if you approach them. You need to be persistent and stand your ground in order to win them over. Most guys will cower and retreat at the first sign of rejection. The ones that get a girl's number are the ones that know how to stay and do battle, so to speak.
Zed shows that he's willing to think about issues long term. Most people would simply live with and forget about what they wrote in that rant. Zed goes and makes an update to it saying that he wants to retract what he said. I think that's an admirable trait.
Take 10 minutes to watch this:
Then if you don't want to watch the rest, that's fine. But give it at least 10 minutes. It was a fantastic presentation, and your perceptions of Zed might even be changed by the end of it, like mine were.
Meh, I suspect one of the reasons I'm most riled up about this is that I'd have
also defended him a few months back. I doesn't seem like he needs it now though.
I DO care about any engineering accomplishments Zed has to offer (almost all are great) - but that's about it.
So although I didn't care much for Zed's original rant, this one, if it makes an impact, might do more good to programming than all of his technical accomplishments combined.
The "neon strippers" Zed Shaw was fucking awesome because he said "fuck" all the time.
The "real" Zed Shaw is fucking awesome because he plays guitar, writes code, does electronics, and is a nice person(sort of).
I knew this since I was a child, but I needed Zed to show me that "masturbating monkeys" is not that cool, Kernel hacking is.
Does anybody know if Zed released his early blog posts under Creative Commons? Because if he did anybody can republish his old rant today.
The new Zed's blog doesn't have a CC reference, BTW
when you visit an archive.org page, their robot will fetch that site's robots.txt file in real-time (with some basic caching mechanism, i'd assume) and check for an exclusion.
if your site ever goes down after the point you block their robot, or you let your domain name expire, or some squatter buys your domain after you're done with it and doesn't put up a robots.txt file, or anything else that would prevent their site from reading your robots.txt at the time someone tries to view the archive, they will allow full access to your site archives.