Zcom has little money and needs support from donors. Donors are crucial for the survival of the organization. Donation depend on the goodwill of people. The goodwill of people depends very much on how to speak to someone. It is nice to be important, but is crucially important to be nice.
Maybe it is only me, and I am oversensitive. Maybe it was just a cultural misunderstanding or he had a bad day. Maybe something else.
However, my experiences with Michael have been very displeasing, to say the least.
The first 'brush' I got was when Zmag in pdf format opened displaying a very strange font. It was just impossible to read it. When I contacted Michael about the font problem, I got this answer:
The way people all over the world see our content is via the web system…
As I print Zmag, I insisted and I got this reply:
I don't know what else to suggest other than that you can also access each article directly on line – not pdf – and copy and paste from there, and then print however you may want…
Desperately, I retorted:
“Am I the only GNU/linux user printing zmag on this planet?”
“You may well be.”
I guess, it is compulsory for Zcom users to use proprietary, closed-source software!?
What to say? I upgraded to get the print edition.
Znet writes on their site:
This is simple. ZCom is always trying to improve …
You may have an idea about new content, features, policies, etc. If so, by all means send us an email with your idea. We can't guarantee we will implement it, but we will certainly consider doing so, see if it is possible, etc. And many will in time, be done! [emphasis added]
I suggested to shift to newspaper format (cheaper, more eco-friendly) and offered to do the entire layout and typesetting (in Latex) for free. (A sample of how “Zpaper” looks like, can be found here:http://piquestions.webege.com/paperZ.pdf).
All I got was outright rejection. No reason, no explanation, not a single friendly word, just “Not going to happen” and “I won't argue with you”. I truly wonder what the P stands for in IOPS.
Michael writes in one of his commentaries:
[…] The thing is, personally, I have a lot of patience for folks not knowing things, etc. – but when you have someone who has tons of information at their disposal, understands things rather well as they coincide with his inclinations, but is oblivious, incomprehending, or just dismissive of everything not immediately up his alley – I begin to become impatient. I think it is not a pretty picture, at that point. [emphasis added]
He just acts exactly this way. If anyone thinks to choose Zcom in this or her last will, and then contacts Zcom and reaches Michael … Probably the tea party will become beneficiary after!
The minimum that can be expected from an organisation that promotes a participatory society is at least an explanation why a suggestion is not possible. It does not have to done by Michael himself but can be delegated.
So why is Michael so much rejecting? Can it be that he is not aware of the damage he creates by replying so rude? How much harm is done to Zcom by his behavior?
Is he on the CIA payroll?