Are you actually trying to convince someone? - Tal Talk
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Tal Atlas

I build stuff, currently tumblr. In the past also worked on Delight, Gilt City, and OMGPOP.

Here I write about some of my favorite things: tech, hockey, and programming, with some tv/movies sprinkled in.

Are you actually trying to convince someone?

Or how you may not want to insult the people you're trying to convince

I came across this tweet (reblogged by @gruber)

Do you make grilled cheese with a flamethrower? So why are you using javascript to render a page of text?

This tweet from Maciej Ceglowski of Pinboard comes a little while after a talk he presented titled The Website Obesity Crisis. Overall I think he has very interesting concerns about how bloated our web pages are, and whether they actually need to be so bloated or not.

His actual arguments or concerns are not what I want to talk about though. It's the content of the tweet, and what he was trying to do with it.

I assumed that Maciej is trying to convince people that they don't need to use so much javascript on their pages. If this is his goal, he's doing a poor job of it. This message belittles and insults those who he disagrees with, hardly a great way to be convincing. I realize that twitter doesn't have the space to form nuanced arguments but this tweet only serves to make people who disagree with him discount him even further and make those who agree cheer.

A statement like this doesn't have any indication that Maciej understands the reasons people would use javascript to render a page. This lack of understanding makes it extremely easy to dismiss. When placed at opposition people naturally get defensive and close themselves down to new thoughts.

If you want to get your point across, try to start with aligning yourself with them. A little bit of empathy can go a long way in opening people up to listening to you.