To all family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Yes, I’m a geek. A nerd, even. I have a knack to figure out how technology works, and I can help you. I can teach you. I can make you self sufficient in these things. But… I have one condition.

I’ll bring the skill, the experience, a desire to help, and the patience to get you there. You please bring a positive attitude.

I keep meaning to get some family members on board with proper (read “safe”) password practices and the use of a password manager. I’ve even laid out money already to make this (financially) painless for them. But I keep putting off starting, and I realised recently why.

It’s because on too many occasions when people ask for help with technology, they’re angry with it. Now, I’m the last person who should preach about not getting angry with technology. I’m up there with the sweariest in that camp. Some days I think our tech is sent to test us. But if you ask someone to help you out, that anger is frankly unpleasant, and sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re angry at the technology or me.

I practice what I preach, too. Every so often I get totally stuck, having exhausted all I can find on the internet, and I resort to various online communities for help. When I do that, I am always at pains to be neutral, to be honest, to be level headed, and to be very thankful for anyone who may offer assistance. If someone posts “try this” and offers something I’ve already explained I’ve tried in my original question, I’ll still thank them for offering a thought.

Knowledge doesn’t belong to individuals, it belongs to communities. Communities work best when everyone is civil to one another. Therefore… knowledge comes from civility.


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