Sam Gentle

Sam isn't capable of a WikiMindWipe because he's never contributed in the first place.

Like so many others, Sam has worked with Microsoft technology for years. He's not the sort of person to say ComIsLove but he would certainly agree ComIsaFineWayToMakeaLiving?. He keeps his head down and keeps his nose clean. Each month Sam meekly accepts what Microsoft says about the latest service pack and is grateful for his increasing pay check. He is proud of the way he has skilfully avoided all the political difficulties and spaghetti code in his organization yet still delivered some working stuff to real, long-suffering users. They don't exactly love Sam but they know better than to complain.

It's doubtful that Sam's even heard of Wiki. But if he did stumble across it, most of the stuff he'd read would either baffle him or be so contrary to the world he's used to working in that he'd probably never return. The people here are obviously very bright but they kind of pounce on anyone from a different viewpoint and take them apart, with a logic that seems to have no link at all to the commercial realities he faces every day.

And Sam is a gentle sort of person. Although he has views and experience that are different from much on Wiki, he isn't inclined to spend time stirring a pot when he can't see that it's going to produce one square meal for him and his family. And he's smart enough to work out that just to avoid looking stupid here is going to take many hours a week for many months dealing with the many questioners of his isolated viewpoint. Funny how he feels more at home at the latest glitzy Microsoft devcon, surrounded by thousands who share most of his technical interests and assumptions.

So we've never heard from Sam. It takes a special kind of person and passion to represent all those gentle, perhaps rather passive people on Wiki. Someone not so gentle, but tougher, opinionated, combative, bloody-minded even - in short an extremely valuable antidote to Wiki's gentle but powerful ConsensusMachine?.

The surprising thing is that we found one at all.

-- RichardDrake

I really like this. Good way of making the point.

I like this too. It's very important to remember all the SamGentles of the world.

Two problems:
  1. Replacing SamGentile's content and just attributing to SamGentle isn't ethical and might not be legal, despite the peaceful intent. Do you want people randomly distributing utterances that you've authored under a slightly different name? I don't think so. And Ward's copyright statement may have been naive, but now we're stuck with it here. Perhaps he should instead have stated that all content is OpenContent. Too late now.
  2. Doing this also returns the bones of contention. Without someone to protect Sam's interest, this doesn't seem like a good idea.

I accept that we indeed can now do better than this. See SamGentile. -- rd

From Sam's past writings here, I have the impression of someone passionate about his beliefs, and willing to change them when the appropriate data presents itself. That is a remarkable combination. -- AlistairCockburn

I think the point was that SamGentle and SamGentile are quite different, and that the passionate SamGentile tried to make himself heard on Wiki, while SamGentle would not have bothered, or given up on us early on. At least that's how I understand it. -- FalkBruegmann

Yes, that's exactly my point Falk. I agree with what you and Alistair say about the real life SamGentile, who is much more interesting in every way than old SamGentle. I've explained this to Sam by email and it's worth saying that we've both apologized to each other about various things. Sam accepts that this page was intended as a considerable compliment. -- rd

Not to be confused with SamuelGentle.

PlayItAgainSam, gently.


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