I'm on a slow connection so I usually do my Web browsing in parallel, loading a page in one window while I read another. Thus by an odd coincidence I happened to be reading yesterday's rant fest and this article, Talking: a Problem and a Challenge, at more or less the same time.

While reading about the great downvoting conspiracy and reactions to same, I was formulating a reply on this or that tack. Before starting I switched to the article and decided it was better to consider the virtue of silence instead of adding to the mess.

So of course I'm adding to the mess another way, but hopefully a constructive one. I hope some of you will read the article; don't let the domain name scare you off, Taoism isn't a preachy religion (or even a particularly spiritual one -- a lot of practitioners don't even call it a religion). If you don't want to read the article, then I invite you to read a good book on communication and why people react to things as they do. My favorites are You Just Don't Understand and Dinosaur Brains, but there's plenty of good material.

The article is in large part about when it is a good idea to speak up or respond to something and when it is better to just stay silent. (It's almost always better.) After yesterday's reading it seemed to me we could do with a little more reserve in our replies (well actually, with less period).

Now here at the Monastery, people are asking for help, and it's certainly a good idea to respond to that -- helpfully. That means giving answers to the questions asked first and pointing out other resources second (in a polite form, "have you considered the following modules/sites/articles). It doesn't mean ranting, period.

In the discussion section, discuss features and the Monastery. Don't try to run the site. Don't explain your policy or agenda. You're a member of a community; being a good member is your policy and agenda.

As for the downvoting issue: if you are really in the mood to take a faceless swipe at someone's reputation and XP, go for it. Vote against a node because it has typos, goes against your rants, or because you don't like the noder's name. Get it out of your system. Everyone has moments like that.

Then please, go back and read the guidelines. You aren't faceless, even when you use anonymous voting as a way to get out your anger. You're a member of a community, and if you don't behave like one, you'll eventually lose your community one way or another. Behaving badly towards others hurts you the most.

Got anger? There are lots of ways to deal with it. I was looking for one when I came across The Tao of Pooh, and read it on a lark. It started me on an interesting path.

Whatever you are angry about, this isn't the place for it. Please find some outlet other than attacking your community members.