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Dude, Your Fly is Open


Dude, Your Fly is Open

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Tim Mitchell
Tim Mitchell
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Scott Smith health care consultant (2/25/2010)
... You should work in HR.

In that case, I retract the entire article Hehe



Tim Mitchell, Microsoft Data Platform MVP
Data Warehouse and ETL Consultant
TimMitchell.net | @Tim_Mitchell | Tyleris.com
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Steve Jones
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majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)
Agree totally with the editorial. Constructive criticism is almost always the right thing to do, and if it's not appreciated then at least you know you did the right thing.

I'll also suggest a good rule of thumb (closely linked with Tim's point) is to criticise privately and congratulate publicly.

IMHO, of course....


I completely agree here, especially for managers.

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Steve Jones
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Very nice editorial, Tim, and I'll respond before I head out for a much needed break today.

Whether it's business communication, or posting here on the forum, I think small errors can be brought to someone's attention when you notice them. Not to embarass, but to clarify or help them. If it's more embarassing, or the person might take offense, I think a private attempt to discuss it with them ought to be made. If that doesn't work, then like with security vulnerabilities, I think they might need a (more) public discussion.

The other important thing is to recognize that you might not be right. Go into the constructive criticism with the knowledge that you are expressing how you feel, and could possibly be wrong yourself. Give the other person the chance to defend themselves and be as willing to listen to them as you would like them to be for you.

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OCTom
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Sometimes a public unveiling of a mistake is appropriate. For instance, when a team is meeting on a design and someone suggests something that is entirely inappropriate for the application. That is the time to nip the error in the bud. However, one can still be nice about it. That's where diplomacy comes in. And, it's also a great time to educate why the idea is bad to begin with.

I once knew a fellow who would laugh hysterically when someone made a comment or asked a question he thought was stupid. He didn't last long in a team environment.

Most of the folks answering questions on SSC are polite and nice but there are some that could use some humility and patience. The same goes for those asking the questions.

I have been retitcent to post questions and answers here mainly because I risk being taken to the woodshed publicly.

I really appreciate everyone who does volunteer their time here answering questions and creating QOtD's. It's helped me over the last couple of years learning SQL Server on the job.
WayneS
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Very good article Tim.

majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)
I'll also suggest a good rule of thumb (closely linked with Tim's point) is to criticise privately and congratulate publicly.


and might I add to the congratulate publicly... and often.

The other important thing is to recognize that you might not be right.

How does that concept work? ;-)

Seriously, that does bring up that you need to pause to ensure that you are right before telling someone else that they are wrong.

Wayne
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Author - SQL Server T-SQL Recipes
If you can't explain to another person how the code that you're copying from the internet works, then DON'T USE IT on a production system! After all, you will be the one supporting it!
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jcrawf02
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I think I will have to disagree with you, for purely selfish reasons, if the setting is a forum such as SSC. With the intarwebz so open to search, if the 'mistake' (small or great) is not pointed out within the same document that it originates from, others (read: I) will stumble upon it when looking for answers and be misled. This is why I come to SSC, because the discussions often lead to a much more profound understanding of what is going on.

That said, the correction should have a modicum of restraint, not "Hey, you idiot, why can't you do anything right?...", but rather "I would disagree, because of X and Y, the correct answer should be Z".

If the setting is in the office, then I would agree that the mistake should be corrected privately, unless it causes critical errors that need fixed immediately, and training needs noted for the group.

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Steve Jones
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These forums, I think, do require pointing out of mistakes for the reasons Jay mentioned. However if it's something like a typo, I have pinged people to privately edit their post.

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Gary Varga
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Hey, we are all agreeing!!!

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
majorbloodnock
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jcrawf02 (2/25/2010)
I think I will have to disagree with you, for purely selfish reasons, if the setting is a forum such as SSC. With the intarwebz so open to search, if the 'mistake' (small or great) is not pointed out within the same document that it originates from, others (read: I) will stumble upon it when looking for answers and be misled. This is why I come to SSC, because the discussions often lead to a much more profound understanding of what is going on.

That said, the correction should have a modicum of restraint, not "Hey, you idiot, why can't you do anything right?...", but rather "I would disagree, because of X and Y, the correct answer should be Z".

If the setting is in the office, then I would agree that the mistake should be corrected privately, unless it causes critical errors that need fixed immediately, and training needs noted for the group.


Let's not forget, though, that threads are inherently designed around discussion, frequently with differing opinions contributing. Even if someone's posted something that turns out to be wrong, they needn't necessarily have to feel embarrassed about making the mistake - especially if it was an easy mistake to make. Moreover, the discussion you're talking about that gives a more profound insight needn't ever become criticism, constructive or otherwise (although I agree it does sometimes descend to that level in practice).

Where someone's committed a real howler that they probably will or ought to be embarrassed about, you've always got PM to have a "quiet" word first, so even though this is a very public medium I believe the basic rules of considerate communication can still be maintained.

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Frank W Fulton Jr
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Not only would I like to be informed, but I would like to be informed sooner rather than later
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