Dave Winer’s “A Respectful Disagreement” at BlogNashville
May 7, 2005 65 Comments
Dave’s introduction was “How do we disagree with each other without burning bridges?”
Conclusion after attending the session: Winer doesn’t know, and the guy is a massive control freak. He tried to lead the discussion, but once it got off the primrose path he wanted it to be on he turned into a jerk.
Example. Early on, Winer semi-admonished Robin Burk from Winds of Change when she casually mentioned posters and commentors in the course of her comment. Winer stopped her and said he didn’t believe in dividing people into posters and commentors because he doesn’t believe in hierarchies.
That was a feel-good groaner in and of itself, but he became a hypocrite once disagreement started by playing the speaker card, saying he was the leader today and that if
Allen Forkum John Cox didn’t like it he could leave. Winer made the classic passive-aggressive mistake of starting out pretending to be incredibly permissive and then being forced to turn into Attila the facilitator to regain control.
An elderly gentleman (John Jay Hooker, according to Insty) who said he had been a lawyer for most of his life weighed in and said “The smart lawyers – the good ones – learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.” Another great line: “You can’t call a son-of-a-bitch a son-of-a-bitch without calling him a son-of-a-bitch.” Like someone said, get this man a blog. (Later: More about John Jay Hooker here.)
During one of his passive-aggressive spells Winer said that he was going to just sit down and let people have a converation. The talk went much better with him gone. The atmosphere was much less contentious than having Winer at the front pretending to be neutral, but cutting people off, saying “here we go again” and huffing “oh boy” when he disagreed with their politics. Someone noted that was a metaphor for the blogosphere: once you disintermediate the intermediator the people will figure out how to have a conversation.
One good line from Dave that was on point: “Kick ideas around, don’t kick people around.”
At one point Winer was talking and a guy named Stan Brown was laughing at him. Dave got on his high horse and was hurt and acted like he was going to demand Brown stay after class. What a jerk. I hope video will be available, or some people who weren’t there won’t believe how bad Winer really was.
Now I remember why I quit reading Winer’s blog. There were endless posts about RSS and how it was going in the wrong direction, and endless disclaimers about how we wrote about it for the sake of RSS and not the sake of his ego. Eventually I decided it was all about his ego.
LATER: At the after hours event John Cox was showing us his sketch book. His comment was that Dave Winer leading a conference on “Respectful Disagreement” was like a drunk leading an AA meeting.
Jane Galt Mindles H. Dreck says it’s like Jimmy Swaggart preaching monogamy.
I drank with pretty much all of these people afterwards. More pictures and stories after we get back from dinner. LATER STILL: Or maybe even later. That lasted longer than I thought, but was very enjoyable.
Political Teen has the video of Stan and Dave going at it. Here is the link.
Great meeting you a BlogNashville!.
Oh, and we live blogged the session too. Here is that link.
Cool! I’m looking forward to watching the video tonight.
SUNDAY NIGHT: The video just covers the time around the Stan Brown portion, but it’s somewhat illuminating.
Tom at The Media Drop has a good recap of the session.
John Cox’s sketch of the exchange between Winer and himself.
Paul of Radiant Marketing Group is trying to understand Dave Winer.
MONDAY: Stan Brown has posted his impressions.
Eye on Winer is an existing Web site to keep track of Winer’s antics.
Brian Carnell has a Dave Winer category with critical posts going back to 2000.
Hungry Valley suggests Googling for “Dave Winer” jerk. You get some illuminating results. For a guy facilitating a session on respectful disagreement, Dave sure has called a lot of people assholes. And, uh, vice versa.