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Re: Symbolics' attitude problem

[On soap box:]

Having been on both sides (in & out) of Symbolics since the middle LM-2 days
(anybody ELSE remember when the factory was in Woodland Hills?), let me say my
two cents on this "attitude problem" issue.

It happens occasionally that some individual will see the addition of a small
feature not as a small feature that wasn't there before but as a hideous and
malicious omission that said feature is not a complete system and does not
fulfill all his/er wishes along its direction.

I recall one such incident which occurred last year at this time wherein one
customer flamed volcanically about various "missing features" of dynamic
windows.  Not that DW was fundamentally bad, note, just "all this stuff is

I seem to see here the same trouble with the fact that Symbolics' developers
will indeed answer mail themselves and take time to explain the reasoning and
rationale behind actions they took or are taking.  Perhaps the customer will
request or suggest something and the developer will not act upon it in such a
way as to fulfill the customer's wish.

There are some who see this as arrogance.  In the broad picture, I think it is

It is certainly true that the developers are just as opinionated and even
inflammable on the average as the customers.  It is also true that on
occasionally a direct conversation, unmediated by Software Support personnel,
will ignite to high heat over some issue.  I've certainly seen it happen more
than once.

But let us get something straight here:  The development staff is trying hard to
Do The Right Thing.  

Yes, it is the evaluation of what The Right Thing is that causes friction,
especially where a developer has rejected the view of some customer,
particularly in a less than diplomatic fashion.  But at no time does the
developer (and I can safely speak for all of them on this) wish or intend that
the customer's problem go unsolved.  

If the customer would ask in a reasonable way, a reasonable solution would be
found and presented.  Most do, of course.  I would caution anyone from sending a
raw flame by mail to a list such as this one; they are only destructive.

If the developer realized that the customer is trying to solve a problem and not
enter a meaningless debate about the rightness/wrongness of feature X or
implementation Z, and try to sove it with a minimum of argument, there would be
far less grounds for the company's reputation for "arrogance."  Greater
diplomacy in the wording of mail would not hurt, certainly.

In summary, let us all realize the other fellow is not hell-bent on making us
Wrong, and mind our manners when we discuss things.  I think lots more will get
done that way.

[Off soap box...]