generic-thoughts

There are a lot of ways that you can look at people and a lot of characteristics that you can choose to expect people to have. One of those characteristics that I choose to believe in is the inherent good of people. Obviously there are evil people in this world and people that are conniving scumbags, but in general I believe most people are legitimately good inside and do not intentionally cause harm or duress to others. This is a prerogative that I choose to believe in and it plays a part in every interaction I have with other people in my daily life.

This morning it was brought to my attention that I screwed up a few months ago and stepped on the toes of another developer. In short, I built and released a plugin that he was building and preparing for release. It was an honest mistake caused by missed communication and I apologized immediately for stepping on his work. Instead of acknowledging the apology and moving on, however, this other developer chose to insinuate that I was a lying scumbag that purposefully wasted his development time and money.

Whether a person chooses to believe you when you make a mistake and you own up to that mistake with an apology is entirely up to the person that feels slighted. I personally believe that people are inherently good and generally do not intentionally step on the toes of others, especially when it is in their best interest not to.

In this particular situation, it is in my best interest to maintain a good relationship with all developers that are building plugins for the ecosystem I have worked for more than two years to build. The more developers that are actively committed to strengthening the ecosystem, the better the ecosystem becomes, so there is no inherent reason for me to intentionally ostracize other developers.

This morning it was made painfully apparent that I had failed to properly utilize some internal management tools that help us manage what each developer is working on. This resulted in duplicate work being created simultaneously. I owned up to that failure and apologized, but that didn’t matter because the other  developer had already made a decision that I was a scum bag, at which point my words were about as effective as blunted arrows against a castle wall.

I choose to believe people when they apologize for a mistake, and I choose to believe them when they tell me it was an honest mistake. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone fails at some point, choosing to forever blacklist them does nothing but hurt potentially advantageous relationships.

I try to stand by this belief in the inherent good of people in my day to day life. There simply isn’t enough time in this world to believe others are out to get you.

Be good, code on.

    • Pippin

      Thanks for sharing.

  1. wpdv

    Amen. Life is too short. Hopefully, after some time has passed, there can be reconciliation. You’ve done all you can do for now. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work.

  2. George

    Hopefully that developer stops taking it personally. When everyone’s got their nose in their work so much, stepping on toes like this is bound to happen. You can’t be aware of every little idea and nobody has a right to an idea, only what they build out of it.

  3. Myles

    Much respect for even going as far as you did in making this post, unfortunately it’s a dog eat dog world most of the time and great to see someone with enough respect and pride to say something like this. I just gained a lot more respect for you pippin. If you don’t mind me asking, what plugin is this in reference to?

    • Pippin

      Out of respect for his privacy, the identify of the developer or the plugin does not need to be shared unless he chooses to do so.

  4. Marc Benzakein

    Pippin,

    You have been a huge contributor to the community and if people believe that your intentions are not altruistic or for the betterment of the community as a whole, it is their loss.

    My bet is that this developer is smarting a bit from the situation itself and may be reacting emotionally. None the less, I also believe that because he publicly besmirched you (I have never used that word in a sentence before, so I hope it’s contextually correct), you were right to respond publicly and respectfully.

    I am sure that because of the reputation you enjoy within the Community, it will not be harmed. And hopefully, this developer might cool off and realize that what he is accusing you of is in no way, shape or form, what this Community is about and take it as a learning experience.

  5. Robby

    Sounds like a stressful/tough situation. I also generally assume the best in people too. Your post reminded me of an experiment I heard about on a podcast recently. The host bought a few cheap wallets, put some cash and a piece of paper with contact info in each wallet, then left the wallets around the city. Supposedly, within 24 hours all of the wallets and all of the cash were returned! Why were they returned? Because most people are inherently good; It’s true.

    I hope once the dust settles you and the other developer can rebuild your relationship. It sounds like (s)he reacted on emotion and could have responded better.

  6. Jonathan Williamson

    Working together is more advantageous than going at it alone, and failing to give people the benefit of the doubt does nothing but hurt what could otherwise be a good working relationship.

    Like wpdv said, life is too short not to accept apologies for honest mistakes.

  7. Tracey Rickard

    The simple fact is that I would always choose a plugin from you as a trusted developer first. I would be disappointed if my right to choose was taken away because of a misunderstanding. Fair play to you for holding your hands up, you have done all you can.

  8. Sean Davis

    I’m willing to bet dude is just having an emotional reaction. It doesn’t take much observation to see you’re not the kind of person who would do things in a scumbag fashion with complete disregard for others. You mentioned that you failed to utilize some of your management tools and you’ve obviously owned up to that. My guess is that the dude needs to step away for a second and relax. If he’s experienced, he knows there’s more code to write. If that would have been his first project, well, this type of emotional behavior is not a good start.

    Keep doing what you do.

  9. Ram Ratan Maurya

    Apparently, naive and honest people are often misunderstood and humiliated. True that, everyone makes mistake but not everyone has the strength to accept their mistakes and apologize.

    Really appreciate what you have done about it, but may be it’s better to just code on ;)

  10. Mike

    In the developer world, I am sure everyone has, at one point or another, seen a plugin/piece of code released and thought “damn, that was on my list of things to release” – I know I have on more than one occasion.

    I never took it as a slight, because we’re all on our own at the end of the day, and some people are just quicker to the draw than others.

    It should never be anything personal, unless you knew ahead of time that the plugin was being worked on and did yours anyways.

    Which it sounds like you didn’t, so the other person should just relax and as you say, code on :)

  11. Patty

    Your apology — and his disdain for it — says a lot about both of you. Keep on coding brother. Newbies like me need and appreciate your time and commitment.

  12. Noumaan

    Things like this happen. We can try to avoid them but we may still make mistakes. For some people it takes a little extra time to cool down and move on. But they do come around eventually.

  13. Amirol

    To that developer, I wish him to just keep moving forward. He should not let himself to be controlled by negativity. Keep positive and you will see a bright future waiting for you ahead. :-)

  14. pam

    I might be old school, but to I truly believe to err is human, and to forgive, divine.
    We all **ck up, not all of us can take the high road, own up to it and move on. Not all of us can easily forgive someone less enlightened that we are.

    Sounds like you took the high road, and I respect that.

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