Hatin’ on the Critics


Allow me say this as plainly as I can: all “haters” are critics1, but not all critics are “haters.”

During a recent (mostly-online) discussion, one of the responses to the issue at hand that I (indirectly) ran across was “don’t be a hater yo.”

It’s a common response in tech circles these days, especially among open source projects and startups in pursuit of high visibility and using 3rd party developer-engagement to do so.

The statement is many things, but it is not, I repeat, not a substantive response to a reasoned question.

In fact, it’s even worse than a substance-lacking response: it frosts the non-response response with a thin, sugary layer of ad hominem frosting.

Every time you say it, you might as well be saying “I don’t want to be burdened by having to explain my position; I want to continue thinking what I think and I don’t want anyone or any thing2 to challenge my opinion. So shut the fuck up before that happens3.”

Which is a totally fine response to give to someone who’s challenging you.

But don’t delude yourself that muttering something about “haters” is the same as making a cogent point or somehow adding substance to the conversation.

When you Godwin-ily decry “the haters,” it’s an indication that you’ve failed to do either, and you’re hoping no one else noticed.

But it turns out: we do.

1 Mmmm… probably
2 “Data!”
3 And people—”geeks,” actually—are confused/surprised/angry at the suggestion that there’s a new new geek anti-intellectualism growing?