The ABCs of frank online talk

A: “I want to have a frank discussion.”


B: “I’m game.”

C: “Me, too.”

D: “That’s what’s great about this environment–the honesty and openness.”

E: “Whatever you want to talk about, I’m cool.”

F: “Yo!”


A: “Well, the software I’m using is pretty good, but the license says I can’t help a friend install it.”

B: “Isn’t that just like the Internet? Everyone wants everything for free.”

A: “I didn’t say I wanted the software for free. I said…”

C: “You know, you’ve always been critical of Z. You’re so sad.”

A: “I didn’t say anything about…”

D: “Yeah, let’s see you write this kind of software if you’re so good.”

A: “I just made a….”

E: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

A: “Well, actually, I…”

F: ” Bitch.”

A: “OK! Never mind! Let me try again.”


A: “I’ve noticed that the ORG weblog technology company led by S has 25 engineers, but that none are women.”

B: “You know, I don’t approve of quotas.”

A: “I didn’t say the word quo…”

C: “S does so much for all of us and asks nothing in return.”

A: “I know that S has done m…”

D: “Unsubscribed!”

A; “Wow, that was…”

E: “You know, you don’t have to get all hysterical about this.”

A: “I am NOT hyster…”

E: “Bitch.”

A: “Forget it! Never mind! There has got to be something we can have a frank talk about.”

A: “I know, I’ll talk about technology. No one is going to get emotional about technology.”


A: “I’ve decided not to support U and V, and only support P at my site.”

B: “Wow, talk about a political rant.”

A: “Political rant ?!?”

C: “You know, you think you’re so smart. The only reason you’re not using V is because you’re jealous.”

A: “Jealous? Of a technology?”

D: *silence, still unsubscribed*

E: “You’re such a liar, too. I feel sorry for you. Ugh.”

A: “Whaa..”

F; “Bitch.”


A: “What is the deal, here? I thought you all agreed we could have a frank, open discussion?”

B: “I’ve known S for years, and there’s not a sweeter person.”

C: “Agreed. And W is a real leader in the industry, as is Z. ”

D: *silence, still unsubscribed*

E: “Yeah, how can you turn on your own like that?”

F: “Yeah, bitch.”


A: “What you’re all saying, then, is I can be frank and honest, as long as whatever I say doesn’t directly, or indirectly, reference a friend, or someone sweet, or a leader in the industry, or someone who is a part of our group?”

B: “Not a bit, you can talk about anything you want. Just not Z.”

C: “No way. This is a free country, say anything you want. But you should respect W.”

D: “I’ve decided to re-subscribe to you. I think it’s important that we listen to those who we may not agree with. But what has S ever done to you? Did I happen to mention how sweet S is?”

E: “You know, you’re starting to sound shrill. Have you thought about professional help?”

F: “Yeah, stop being a bitch.”

A: *sigh*

A: *another sigh*

A: “Well, who is somebody who isn’t a friend with any of you?”

B: “You.”

C: “You.”

D: “You.”

E: “You.”

F: “Bill Gates.”

Based on actual, frank discussions…somewhere….

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