Linus Torvalds is notoriously famous for being direct/upfront/harsh/rude etc. Here is a recent news where he blasts on the Intel fiasco with meltdown patches. Many praise such behaviour, many don't. I, personally, am unsure about it both because I don't know enough about the case and because I have an obviously biased sampling of internet logs with Linus involved.

A reasonable way to judge the correctness of such actions is to notice the effect it produces. Was the effect planned by the actor? In most of the cases, it indeed works out as planned. In the case above for example, one of the effects can be better publicity of this specific incident which might result in a quicker solution. As stated earlier, I don't have enough knowledge right now to have opinions about the above mentioned case. But it does remind me of something.

There is this thing that I am told sometimes when I talk to my previous generation. It's about the behaviour of teachers towards students in the days of yore. Specifically, they were less restrained as far as certain forms of punishments were considered. The idea being that threats work wonders for making a pupil learn.

Something similar happened recently when I was trying to call bullshit on a certain WhatsApp group message. I went on with a harangue backed by certain links and evidence as a reasonable argument should do. The group received my messages. And regressed. Silently. I have not seen similar messages in that group since then. Did it work? I don't think so. It had the apparent effect, but it didn't satisfy my purpose of making the people see what is wrong according to the evidence. Seen as an attack, my response sired an atmosphere of subjugation rather than of healthy conversation and argumentation. The important thing is, my action was pure lazy. Harsh perfectionism is a tool of the weak. Specially in fields which are more art than science, like talking to fellow humans.

In general there are many other realms in soft sciences where people wield this magical wand of laziness freely without real effect. It might satisfy the actor in some ways (for example, I might feel like a know-it-all after lashing on pseudo-science in social networks) but in the core it still is just a cover up for the failure in teaching. Teaching is hard. There are easy ways around it. We use them all the time and it's just lazy. Lazy because we didn't put the extra effort or choose to not give an answer when the question was beyond our reach.

Thinking more about it, a lot of moves hide within them such laziness. People blaming others (not fixing themselves), fighting over power (not earning it), using intimidation (instead of actually teaching), putting faith in an organized religion (instead of finding the answers themselves) etc.

It takes a lot to make real change in people, things and systems. I hope we are putting that much at least where it's really critical.