Angus: Backlash

Human nature is always amazing to me. There are so many facets, and you may encounter several of them each day. Occasionally you get smacked in the face with a whole bunch at the same time. Yesterday was one of those days.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I can dish it out. I rarely pull punches, speak straight, and I am willing to stand up for everything I speak or write. They will also tell you that I can take as much as I can dish. In person, you see my personality, my energy, my passion. When you read my words, you read them with your interpretation. Since I speak and write directly, this can cause confusion to those people who are only reading my words, and do not have the ability to see the expression and passion with which I write. This causes lots of misinterpretation of my words… until you meet me in person. Then, there is a lot of “aha!” and the next reading of my words can be very different.

Being direct, a lot of buttons are pushed by my words. In person, the majority of people can handle that. Reading my words, there are a lot of people who have some walls they cannot scale, some insecurities of which they are unaware or unwilling to address, or some bias that cannot be undone by common sense.

Yesterday, I encountered an interesting backlash from a comment I made. It started with a request for information on the midrange-L list. It included “How do i find out AS400 hardware details, like the process, speed, if it is P5 or P6, or how much ram it has, what is the size of hard drive etc.“. Given that the AS400 hardware was deprecated in 2000, and that Power5 and Power6 hardware are either System i or Power Systems servers, I felt that there was an opportunity to point out this mis-identification. I replied with “If you have a Power5 or Power6, you don’t have an AS400, so you won’t find any AS400 information.“.

As far as I could tell, this was unemotional, and simply a statement of fact. But then… the backlash began. Here are the pertinent parts of the on-list responses – in sequence.

(1)How about answering his question instead of trying to argue like usual.

(2)1. Trevor is right.
2. The first place to go look for information like this is IBM
InfoCenter, not here.
3. Why didn’t you answer instead of continue the baiting?
4. I won’t answer.

(3)Trevor, You can do better than that. Also the IBM website uses the terms interchangeably as well as even stating that POWER-7 is for AS/400

(4){solution} Works on AS/400s, iSeries, System i and i, don’t worry about Trevor.

(5)1. Trevor is not correct.
2. If you cannot ask a question here then what is the midrange forum for?
3. Because someone already did answer.
4.Trevor has an agenda, which is fine, but that agenda has no place being
injected into a question that someone asks.

(6)VW told their customers for more than 20 years: you don’t have a beetle, its a type 1. When the silly marketiers decided to use the name, all people knew, it was too late, the custumors didn’t want neither a type 1, nor a beetle anymore. IBM is topping the VW marketiers today, they call a computer well known as AS/400 in the century of google “I” a name, impossible to find with search engines in the web and asssociated with electronical toys – I-pod, I-pad, I-phone, I-BM…

(7)Gads. Sounds like the sort of reply you’d get on a Linux forum – let’s hope this list doesn’t devolve into something like that!

(8)Agreed. Heaven forbid that we would ever expect folks in the i community to be as intelligent and capable of RTFM as those Linux folks!

(9)During all of this, I received the following email, titled “Answer“:
Your really an ass hole aren’t you. If your not going to answer the
question stay off the list.
Someone has sent you this anonymous email.
You CANNOT reply to this message.
If YOU wish to send a free anonymous email, go to:

Since responding on the list would simply generate more noise to the list, here are my responses. First, let me look at the reactions.
(1)Ignorant – did not read what I wrote.
(2)Confused – slammed me and the original poster.
(3)Ignorant – attempted to educate me.
(4)Comforting – treated my response as something to “worry” about.
(5)Ignorant and angry – responded without much apparent thought.
(6)Off topic – started a branding discussion.
(7)(8)Confusing – who else on this forum understands what they are saying?
(9)Spineless – slammed me without identifying themselves.

So, what just happened? We certainly have a name debate going on in our community. But what some of these responses represent is a backlash caused by something other than just a name change. Is it based on fear of something? My anonymous slammer insulted me and then told me not to be on the list if I did not answer – something that is about half of all messages. What pressed their button? What caused them to hide their anger? What caused them to not be able to stand up for their position? What caused them to take the cowards approach and send me such vitriol? And what caused their spelling to take such a horrible turn?

(Side note: I did not call them a coward – read those words carefully. If you read that, it is your interpretation!)

It does seem that promoting the platform’s correct name causes fear amongst community members. This would seem to be in concert with the normal human nature fear of change. I don’t see any responses of this nature from the YiPs community, only those people who have been around for a long time, and have not yet caught up to the pace of change in I.T.

Certainly, it has made for an interesting study. I would love to hear your responses on this subject, and will approve every comment that is related. But I must have the last word – for now – and answer a couple of the open items.

To number (3): Go read that page again. It does not say what you claim. IBM i running Power Systems are NOT AS/400s, even if the page recognizes them as part of the family of related servers

To number (5):
1. I am right
4. Agenda? What agenda? What are you reading into my words that shows my agenda? If you wish to boil it down to an agenda, then I DO have one. I want to promote the IBM i platform. I want to encourage everyone in our community to be consistent in how they see and promote the platform. I want those who have been in this industry forever to mentor students and graduates to work on IBM i. And I want world peace.

To number (9): You must effect a loud british accent before you read thisTo you, sir (madam), that is ARSE hole.


angustheitchapSeptember 23rd, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Just a quick note to add to this “discussion”. I am very happy to take criticism, and I am ok with listening to the lectures about whether or not I should have answered his question, but if you do not have the balls to stand up and identify who you are, your comment does not belong here.

I stand up for the platform, for its identity, and its future. If you cannot stand up for your own beliefs, I don’t believe I should have to show your lack of commitment to them.

So, for the poster who sent me a lecture, please repost with your actual name. Thanks…

And while you are at it, please re-read what I wrote. I did not mention the ~name~. I did not mention a ~name change~. I did not insult him. I did not suggest he was deficient in any way. I stated a fact, pure and simple.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Trevor Perry, Angus. Angus said: Are you really that scared? New blog post: Backlash […]

Scott KlementSeptember 28th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hmmm… I missed this thread on Midrange-L. But, surely you understand why people are annoyed with you? The poster wasn’t looking to get into a “naming-war” discussion, he just wanted to know how to find out what he had.

From his perspective, and that of others on the list, you were picking nits, being pedantic, and generally causing a disturbance rather than answering the question.

Bob MooreOctober 12th, 2010 at 11:41 am

Will this hold true? “.. and will approve every comment that is related”

There is more to this than hits the blog or list. Resentment is a slow dish served hot, and when you sit on high horses be sure the rest of the calvary are behind you, and you can ride a horse.

“They will also tell you that I can take as much as I can dish.” Not my experience, shooting technical blanks invites live fire.

Quote, long standing & respected IBM i vendor: “A bit like Kenin 07 Rudd, stratospheric personal opinion ratings now ….. before the inevitable fall.”

You get back what you put in!


angustheitchapOctober 12th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Bob, it does ~not~ hold true. I did not cater for the spineless who won’t stand up for their beliefs and want to hide behind an anonymous proxy, using an anonymous name, and insult me. While I appreciated their efforts, it was not worthy of approving. Ironically, their proxy has been reported as being in regular use by comment spammers…

For those who are willing to stand up and slam me in their own name, I can deal with it – even if it is not your experience.

Bruce GuetzkowDecember 3rd, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Trevor: The whole name-game thing angered most of us. However, IBM seems to have settled on a name…we need to use it. I especially like your argument that AS/400 is old, IBMi and Power Systems are new (see, I even used IBMi instead of IBM i).

It is appalling that IBM can’t get it right on their website. Of course navigating their website is another story, but I digress. Can you suggest anyone at IBM that we could complain to about the issue of getting their website branding correct/consistent?

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