Topology Errors

28 August 2006

Denial is Not Just a River in Egypt

Dimitri’s comment is interesting enough to send down the RSS feed in its entirety.

Hi Chris,
Thanks for featuring me in your blog. I'm very flattered you would take the time to track down and include my picture. You don't have any actual content in your log regarding my writings that I could see (it would be good form to link to, say, a synopsis and a rebuttal), so I have no way of knowing what you agree with or disagree with. I take it that you do have some views on GIS. But if you fail to articulate those in a cogent way you do nothing but provide yet more search engine links to my writings. I've written a lot over the years so I don't know what you are getting heartburn over, but at least I have always had the respect for my readers to take the time to set forth an argument to the best of my ability at whatever level of detail was required to make my case. You may not agree with those writings, but you appear to be taking the lazy man's way out of failing to address the substance of my writings. If there is polemic in play, it is on your side and as a result of your failure to discuss the issues with whatever technical or business expertise is required to do them justice. So, if you are going to bother to cite my writings and indicate disapproval, do yourself a favor and take the time to write a rebuttal that computer professionals (or simply the intelligent general reader) can read and decide for themselves whether you have a valid point. But, if you cannot do that, I suppose I should be grateful that you would provide greater visibility for my views with whatever web of links your blog puts into play.
Regards, Dimitri

#1 This blog comments on the mores and customs of the GIS community, not the technology or application of GIS. As such, it is for people who understand that personal relationships are vitally important in business.

#2 I noticed you didn’t address the suggestion to quantify Manifold’s success in the marketplace.

#3 Your writings stand on their own and don’t require a formal rebuttal. The passage of time is sufficient to give the computer professional or even the lowly (in your mind) intelligent general reader an opportunity to evaluate their reliability. I’ll cite from your presentation to the Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) in August 1998.

I figure by this time next year Manifold will be outselling (in unit volumes) all other GIS vendors combined.

26 August 2006

It Takes a Village (Reprise)

Before any comments arrive, I understand the irony of mentioning the Dimitri incident since I set myself up to “wrestle the pig”. Nevertheless, I started this blog to point out the sensationalism of a vocal minority so it comes with the territory. The good news is that the village has grown in the past year and it is more thorough than any single individual so I rarely feel the urge to post. Hopefully, my previous post brought a few smiles and caused others to pause and reflect.

Since I expect a reply from Dimitri, I suggest that he quantify his comment, “the company has so much money flooding in that …” As someone involved with procuring enterprise software, I’d like to know the level of the flood waters and how fast they’re rising before I reallocate resources.

It Takes a Village to Raise A …

I’ve been stirred awake from my five month siesta to document the latest Dimitri Rotow sighting outside of the Manifold-Davidian Compound in Mount Carmel Center, Texas. Err, I mean Carson City, Nevada. The comments on James Fee’s blog just keep piling on.

It’s nostalgic since a Dimitri rant was one of the primary drivers for starting Topology Errors. I referred to Dimitri as the Unamapper in a post last year since his writing reminded me of the Unabomber Manifesto. At that time, I didn’t know that Dimitri (age 51) and Ted Kaczynski (age 64) were both Harvard graduates.

The comment trail with Dimitri’s conduct and the upshot reaction fascinates me. It’s like observing a mystical creature carve out an existence within a hostile environment. Frankenstein versus the villagers is the image that comes to mind. I simply had to learn more about Dimitri. A Google search yielded an eight year old photo and short bio.

It would be entertaining to pile onto the comment list and point out logic errors (both Dimitri’s and others) and use phrases like Jump the Couch or Goodwin’s Law. But I won’t since the villagers are handling that job.

After I finished reading the comments, I was a bit disappointed in myself for wasting time with my prurient interest. In contrast, I admired those who decided not to join in and “wrestle the pig”.

But upon further reflection, this incident shows the value of the GIS blogosphere as a village. This discussion has value once you strip out the hyperbole. Different beliefs become articulated. The village embraces some and challenges others. Most established or honorable press won’t touch this sort of topic because of the mud involved.

But the village can address this type of topic. Participants who use the discussion to examine their beliefs and test their assumptions win since they learn and grow. Those who don’t learn and grow appear stiff and inhuman. And the village decides who is the sage, who is the fool, and who is the menace.

Note: I only moderate comments to filter spam and haven’t yet modified or deleted a single one related to the discussion.