On non-constructive criticism of populist writers

Provoked by comments on Coding Horror – I Stopped Reading Your Blog Years Ago.

If you are a blog reader: your faith in knowledge is cumulative, so learn how many imprints of a particular “truth” you need before you’re satisfied that it’s a decent reflection of reality. This threshold is your dividing line between entertainment and knowledge.

If you are a blog writer: people either read things because they have to (technical blogs) or because they don’t have to (entertaining blogs). More people read the latter, and the good ones point to the former, forming a useful knowledge ladder. However, attacking the former, whether ad hominen or direct, whether justified or not, does not encourage an uninformed reader to want to read your version of the truth. One thing I’ve yet to see Jeff do is throw his toys out of the pram, yet on nearly every post he makes, there are a series of commenters who do write valuable, technical blogs, who embarass themselves and diminish the exposure of their knowledge by piling in with non-constructive criticism.

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