By Casey Liss

As a part of my increased notoriety over the last couple of years, I’ve had many more people paying much closer attention to the things I say, tweet, and post. Many of these people are complete nerds passionately opinionated.

I’ve noticed that as time has gone on, I’ve gotten more and more… let’s call it “feedback”… about my particular preferences. This feedback comes in several flavors:

  • Have you considered X?
  • Why not X?
  • I like X instead.
  • [What I like] is stupid. You should use X.
  • X? Casey, Casey, Casey.
  • X? Are you kidding me right now?
  • X? I used to like you.

Of that list, the top two are acceptable. They’re having a conversation, rather than simply making a statement. The next one, “I like X instead”, is a statement, but said without malice. I get all of these a lot, and am not at all bothered by them.

Starting with “[What I like] is stupid. You should use X.”, things take a turn. They’re no longer about having a conversation. They are about shaming. Sometimes shaming with a faint hint of corrective action (“You should use X”). Often times though, they’re simply about shaming. Or sometimes about insulting (“I used to like you”).

The first question I ask myself is, how are these shame-comments helpful?

They’re not helpful. If anything, they’re very preachy. No one enjoys that, outside of your particular house of God, if applicable.

These kinds of comments—“I used to like you”—are also, often times, hateful.

Who wants to be spreading that hate in the world? Especially over something as silly as a way to listen to music, or perhaps a choice of text editors. Who cares if I like Emacs? It works for me, and that’s all that matters.

If this is the price to be paid for me making a name for myself, I’m happy to pay it. Things could be so much worse.

Nevertheless, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that the only person getting shamed by a comment like that is the person speaking.