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Ner's Random Musings on a life of interesting insights

a world of interesting factoids about nothing and everything


August 1st, 2003

web crappiness a must read for you people people you'll hopefully be able to grab my drift @ 05:50 pm

Current Mood: pissed off pissed off

I've just been talking to the very amazingly cool web guy for the acb web site I've been helping with. I'll paste in the conversation then put in my views, a more positive entry will be forthcoming while I do my show :). I must calm down, really, its not worth it.


Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Hi Ner, are you running into trouble with that script?
ner says:
No, running in to trouble only in time issues.
ner says:
The script it self will be easy but the issue is I'm having to deal with planning for next semester, I would strongly thing it should be done by tonight (will work on it during my show)
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Well, since you've not begun working on it, nevermind. I understand other tasks may need to take priority. I'll whip something out since I've got a bit of time and I want to get it done.
ner says:
Can I suggest I look over finished script and add things that come to mind i.e. combo boxes etc. + additional options of view on this page and otehrs?
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
You may certainly look over the scripts and make suggestions on enhancements, but I do not want you making changes without my prior knowledge and permission.
ner says:
How about if I modify the scripts and provide different versions of the scripts. One of the reasons why I've been somewhat non forthcoming with my ideas about this project is because you have been very opinionated and non moving on some issues, telling me that I can suggest but "I do not want you making changes without my prior knowledge and permission." does not make me want to help you at all.
ner says:
If you want it done one way then you do it and don't ask me to even help if you're going to have that kind of attitude, that's all I'm saying about it. I am trying to be helpful and being dictatorial about the web site will not get many to work with you.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Ner, there is a reason why a webmaster was appointed. My job is to organize the development of the web site. Before we had a coordinator, one of us would make changes to a file then another of us would use a local copy and make other changes then overwrite the changes made by the first person.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
For this reason, I assign files to individuals and give them complete control over those files. I'm sorry your time is limited, but if you haven't the time to work on a file then I cannot assign any files to you.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
If another person develops a script, I'm not going to allow you to simply come in and arbitrarily make changes to that person's file. I would hope you can understand the reasoning behind this.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
As far as my being opinionated, I have my opinions and surely you don't hold that against me. You have your opinions and that is fine with me. I even appreciate hearing your opinions and discussing them with you.
ner says:
Being opinionated is very important in life. If you're not opinionated, you'll never get anywhere. However, if you've got somebody working for you, and you continue to tell them their opinionated in certain patronizing ways, people will cease to want to volunteer for you.
ner says:
I appreciate hearing your opinions as well for sure, but I'm losing time adn in effect patients with the whole thing. As I told Dave just now, I know this scheduling system is the way to go, but when you have low moralle, you lose the drive to work or help out
ner says:
You have to value your volunteers or you will lose them
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
I do value all of the volunteers on the project. I'm a volunteer too you know. I'm sorry you feel unappreciated. I do not intend to give you that impression. However, we are a team and we must work as a team. Surely you cannot expect to come in here and just take over autonomously.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
As a team, we must share our thoughts and opinions and discuss them. Holding your opinions to yourself does no one any good, including yourself.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
As an example, if you've followed the thread, Dave and I have disagreed about who should enter the DJ records. We have carried on a civilized discussion about this issue and I think have worked out a solution which satisfies all concerned.
ner says:
As I have done, and I did not think that I could take over autonomously at all, that's not my goal in life. I strive to work together with people at least try.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Well, if you don't feel you are entitled to take over then why would you suggest taking someone else's file and modifying it without first discussing it with them and the other team members?
ner says:
There are many different personalities that we as humans must be able to deal with, and I know that I may deal with things in a layed back manner, but I do hope to be treated with respect (which you do). As webmaster, you have to be an authoritarian, but there is a limit.
ner says:
And, on your last comment, what I was suggesting doing is taking the file, modifying it, placing a new file on the server, then asking what you thought.
ner says:
YOu think I'd actually just modify a file and leave my modified version on the server, you're crazy man!
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
And reading between the lines, you feel I have crossed that limit. Well, even in this, I am open to suggestions and feedback. How would you have me manage this project differently?

ner says:
As I have done, and I did not think that I could take over autonomously at all, that's not my goal in life. I strive to work together with people at least try.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Well, if you don't feel you are entitled to take over then why would you suggest taking someone else's file and modifying it without first discussing it with them and the other team members?
ner says:
There are many different personalities that we as humans must be able to deal with, and I know that I may deal with things in a layed back manner, but I do hope to be treated with respect (which you do). As webmaster, you have to be an authoritarian, but there is a limit.
ner says:
And, on your last comment, what I was suggesting doing is taking the file, modifying it, placing a new file on the server, then asking what you thought.
ner says:
YOu think I'd actually just modify a file and leave my modified version on the server, you're crazy man!
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
And reading between the lines, you feel I have crossed that limit. Well, even in this, I am open to suggestions and feedback. How would you have me manage this project differently?
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Well, you did not make that clear at first. Nevertheless, why go to that work if the decision is not to do it that way? I guess I have no problem with your modifying a separate copy of the file and uploading it with a different name. But it would be my suggestion that you first bring up your ideas so you don't go to unnecessary effort.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Notice that this emphasizes the need for discussion. I misunderstood your statement about modifying files. Typing these abbreviated messages prompts us to be brief sometimes and our real meaning doesn't always come through. That is why it's important to discuss the issues rather than simply lose motivation.
ner says:
If I were telling you what to do with this project I'd say that being nicer to people and saying things in a less authoritarian way and more "we should work together" attitude would be the first thing. "tell me if you've changed the password" you say. I say, "no, why would I do that." you say, "YOu're not answering the question." saying that "that's ok, just make sure you don't give the
ner says:
password to others." It's all about working with others, and making them feel like you actually like to work with them etc. When for instance, you were talking to me, j, chris, etc. on the phone you were very courteous on the phone and that I felt comfortable with.
ner says:
Our msn conversations and emils however I have felt very different.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
I did not ask if you changed the pw. I asked if you gave it to Chris. It's a reasonable question considering you were wanting to bring him into the project and had already discussed it with him before bringing it up with us.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
I did take your word that you have not given it to him. That matter is closed as far as I'm concerned.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Regarding the phone call, I'm open to phone calls anytime between noon and midnight Pacific time. If you feel more comfortable discussing things on the phone then that is fine with me.
ner says:
Actually, you are incorrect. I discussed it with dave, mentioned it to Chris, then Dave talked to you.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Well, all I know is that by the time the two of you confronted me with Chris's involvement, Chris had already been consulted. That was my issue with the way events transpired.
ner says:
I know you don't talk the way you write, but if you were a little less business like with me, because this is not a business, I'm not someone who works for you, I treat you as an equal, it'd be much easier to work with you.
ner says:
Dave's the director of acb radio, but his messages are written in a way that he almost talks to everyone as he's their friend, this puts me at ease and a lot of others.
ner says:
If this is how you write, then that's fine, but that's another reason why I have had issues.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Ok, I'll accept that constructive criticism. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fairly formal and precise person. Logic is comfortable for me and I'm sure that's why I went into programming. I like the fact that computers do not have feelings.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
However, I will make a strong effort to be more personable and if you feel that I'm not then I'll accept your comments and try to improve. That does not mean I'll change my mind, though.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
I mean, I may continue to hold my views, but I will try to present them in a less confrontational manner. Is that acceptable?
ner says:
That works, but I still am up in the air with whether or not I will continue to work with you on this project. I will let you know. You are definnitely welcome to my scripts which are in a directory off of /staff/djsystem and I'll be willing to offer advice, but whether or not I can help you I do not know at this point.
ner says:
Give me a while to calm down and think about what I want to do and I'll send my decision to you in due time.
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Ok, I'll accept your decision in this matter. Again, let me emphasize that we all, not just myself, appreciate any effort that is made towards making ACBRI function more smoothly. Your contributions are no exception. If you decide to assist us your help will certainly be appreciated.
ner says:
I understand that. Thanks for your time and you will hear from me, and I"ll be reading this thread you told me about, have been having problems with my email
Jeff and UltraHost.US provides customer care extraordinaire! says:
Sorry about your email problems. Hope you get them sorted. I'll chat with you later.Very nice way to end that conversation. I'll not paste anymore as its actually becoming more civilized at the moment, but I don't like to be treated by someone who acts as an authoritarian and patronises me. I'm a volunteer, he's a volunteer, and you've got to hope you can work for someone whose nice to you rather than a patronising person. I sure don't want to work for someone whose condescending, would you?

Added conversations later. I find it interestng that he provides customer care extroadinaire. I hope this conversation has shown him that he's got to have better people skills if he's going to work with people. This would be so much easier if I had no people skills and no feelings like many computer scientists seem to not have.

More later
 
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From:rangoon
Date:August 1st, 2003 08:39 pm (UTC)

An Outsider's point of view

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If I may offer some constructive criticism RE: this convo, I did not see any problems with what Jeff had to say. He did not become defensive or launch any personal attacks against you or your personality. He seemed very open to your suggestions and criticisms. I see this as a diplomacy issue. I may be wrong, but I suspect that you are not greatly experienced in working as part of a large team with numerous personalities. The one thing we can't change is other people. Jeff can't change your personality any more than you can change his. People need to learn to accept people's quirks as much as possible when working in a team as much as possible. Jeff is the webmaster, which means he has been appointed to oversee the maintenance of the website, as well as delegate responsibilities. Being a volunteer does not give him any less power than a CEO. What if the membership of ACB did not follow the orders of the President? What would get accomplished? I did not see any examples of disrespect on his part. I did, however, see numerous personal attacks and criticisms of him on your part. I do not feel this is productive. I think he handled your attacks rather well; he could have become defensive and resorted to your tactics. I think this is a matter of learning how to work with people. You're not used to having so little control over a project and taking orders from others. If there was a more clear example of belittling or unreasonableness, I might be more apt to agree with you. I assume you're posting these chats to seek feedback from others rather than their sympathy or agreement. If you are seeking the latter, I will not post my reactions to these chats in the future.
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From:djner
Date:August 1st, 2003 11:29 pm (UTC)

Re: An Outsider's point of view

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Rangoon aka Parrot man,
What's that parrots name anyway. I didn't post this to get feedback though it is good that you wrote. The thing is, you saw a very very small snapshot of what has transpired over several weeks. I am quite versed at working with large groups of people, hell man, I was program director of Test Pattern Radio Talk about lots of different personalities there, now that, is working with people.

About Jeff though. Yes he's doing his job as webmaster. Yes, he's delegating, I did much of that when I was PD. Basically what I'm trying to say here is that (a) this has all been building to a major crescendo, i.e. read several posts. Since I have started working on this web page, I've had to deal with his quirks. Dave says not to take him to heart. Generally I don't, but tonight was a different story. YOu see, I don't like keeping in what I feel, its not healthy. To say some of the things I said may have not been teh absolute right thing to do i.e. I could ahve stayed the way I have for the past three weeks taking orders from him, feeling patronized. Tonight, I felt that I had to tell him how he felt.

I don't want to work on a team that I don't enjoy. I, as well as Jeff, am a volunteer. Volunteering means you're giving of yourself and of your time. I've still as of yet not made up my mind whether I have the time to (a) do the scheduling database if he takes any of my ideas or (b) the mental stamena to be hurt by his comments to me. Basically what I'm trying to get at here is that there's much more that I haven't put in this journal, much more under the surface. Overall though, I think Jeff means well. He's said to me, and as you saw in this conversation, he doesn't work with people but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have to be told how he makes people feel. I readily take and concede criticisms from many like yours and all it does is make me better. If no one says things to me, I do not improve. Therefore I felt taht I *had* to tell Jeff how he made me feel, hence the defensiveness, the "tactics".

I welcome a response to what I've said here fi you like, anything I have to say in this journal, feel free to respond, that's why I turn on comments. In closing, there's always two sides to the story, and there's always something we, you, me, can improve in ourselves.

Thanks again for your comments.

Ner
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From:rangoon
Date:August 1st, 2003 11:55 pm (UTC)

Re: An Outsider's point of view

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I was not suggesting that you should not communicate your problems with Jeff to him. A team leader cannot solve problems unless he is aware of them. I was actually suggesting that this was a diplomacy issue, and that you could have phrased the problem in a way that might have been more productive for both of you without eliciting a knee-jerk response from Jeff. Quite frankly I was surprised he did not go off on you. Maybe taking it in silently until you exploded tonight was the wrong answer; maybe it would have been better to address it sooner when you could have presented the problem in a more tactful way. The parrot is not mine. The Parrot is Josa Lee's. His name is Mark, and rumor has it that he's dead!
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From:djner
Date:August 2nd, 2003 07:18 am (UTC)

Re: An Outsider's point of view

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Yeah probably, I think I hinted at it to him several times but nicely, then when it continued and continued, it just built up. Diplomacy man, tell me abou tit, I had to deal with a lot of that with Jonathan Mosen when we had battles between him and I, I got to be the lucky soul to argue with him over email. Now that was dealing with it before things exploded. Yet I still thought he was being an ass, I understood where he was coming from.

If Jeff would ahve gone off on me I wouldn't have a problem with that actually. Jeff doesn't "go off" he just goes off kind of in the way he did last night, that's his way of getting mad. All the best to Mark the I'm sure live parrot. I heard that Josalee's gerbil Liam is doing great too, thriving.
From:dogga
Date:August 5th, 2003 01:38 pm (UTC)

Re: An Outsider's point of view

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If it were me writing to Jeff, you would have literally seen sparks fly, so I believe both Ner and Jeff handled themselves in a civilized, professional manner. With that said, I see Ner's point, and I tend to agree with it. I say this because his situation almost perfectly parallels one of mine that occured over the summer, and I gained much insight from the experience. However, it was the total opposite: I was the webmaster, and my team member demanded I let him know every change I made to his code, and this difference in principles eventually lead to a total destruction of the existing code. So, needless to say, the non-cooperative, overly authoritative approach doesn't work. I believe that Jeff's role as webmaster does command authority, but he's acting a little anal over it all. There's no harm in creating a few versions of a script, even if it isn't the most efficient method. If both methods produce the same results, what's the big deal?
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From:djner
Date:August 5th, 2003 01:44 pm (UTC)

Re: An Outsider's point of view

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I've had many ideas lately as per the web site. The solution pretty much is just ask Jeff, and if he doesn't want me to change the code because I might screw it up, then fine, the web site can just be moldy and old and I won't modify it.
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From:lucid42day
Date:August 1st, 2003 09:13 pm (UTC)

hmm

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I read this as well. It sounded like the sort of thing that had built up over a long period of time. I just finished taking two pain-in-the-ass classes that dealt heavily in small group communications. From that class I learned that small groups are a real pain in the ass and should be avoided whenever possible. Perhaps that wasn't the right lesson I was supposed to learn.

However, I guess I didn't understand what the real problem was here. I'm not a people person, and try to avoid them, though. Dealing with people is tiresome and fruitless.

The "customer care extraordinaire" tag at the end of his name or title tells me that he's not qualified to provide even the bare minimum of customer care. More likely he's extremely self-confident and somewhat aggressive. When a customer needs "care" they don't want to have to concentrate on how remarkable their representative is. They just want the problem solved. That he doesn't see it that way is telling.

[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:August 1st, 2003 11:33 pm (UTC)

Re: hmm

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Yes dealing in small groups and even large ones does tend to suck a lot. A lot is explained in my previous comment to rangoon.

When I did talk to Jeff on the phone, he runs a web company, web hosting etc. about a quote I needed, he was in fact very courteous to me and my friends who I was talking to. My issue is that I have a thick skin for some things, a thin skin for others, and these comments in the way they were delivered to me actually hurt me, not my pride, but my feelings. Sounds pretty feminine I know, but its true. When I lead, I try to lead with a smile asking people to do things rather than ordering people to do things. But it takes all types to rule the world, that's what makes this Earth great.

Ner's Random Musings on a life of interesting insights

a world of interesting factoids about nothing and everything