[Pharo-users] Richard Kenneth Eng is NOT Mr. Smalltalk

Ben Coman btc at openinworld.com
Thu Feb 28 14:18:35 EST 2019

Hi Michael,

On Thu, 28 Feb 2019 at 22:30, Michael Zeder <post at michael-j-zeder.de> wrote:

> Dear community,
> I am a silent follower of this list. Now, I feel urged to speak up not on
> a technical, but a community matter.

I don't agree with your position, but thanks for putting yourself on the
line in your concern for the community.
Some will agree with you, but personally I spent quite some time reading
around the comments you linked and didn't arrive at the same conclusion.
Hopefully I've expressed a balanced enough position that this doesn't draw
too many responses.

> I frequently research on Smalltalk-related topics (computer scientist, try
> to devote time to open source dev next to my small enterprise). And more
> and more, I notice that Google search results show very much on top of the
> result list contributions by a self-appointed "Mr. Smalltalk" aka R.K.Eng.
> who excels at SEO and flooding social media.

I agree "Mr Smalltalk" is quite a presumptive title, but really anyone
following the mail lists soon gets an idea of who are the community merit

While self-initiatives are a thriving force for open communities, in this
> case:
> * one individual is hogging credit and applause, without ever having
> committed a single line of code,

You are right he hasn't committed any code, but I've not actually seen him
claim credit for any code in Pharo, so this point seems off.

> putting himself into focus (without having any profound knowledge; to the
> contrary: he shows a deep ignorance towards "our" and other languages,
> throwing around dubious advertisment slogans),
* ...is throwing around with wrong claims (pulling off any potentially
> interested developer),

Many people criticized his early articles (including me) for attacking
other languages rather than just promoting the positives of Smalltalk
But I think that had an impact. I find his later articles more balanced and
I generally like the way his writing matured.

> * ...is doing SEO to make Google show his own results before FOSS
> community or sciences pages.

I think its equally likely that most in our community are too busy coding
to try getting articles ranked,
so its more lack of effort by most of us. Most of his articles mention
Pharo so people end up finding us anyway.

> * ...is getting traction (and money) for his own ends (publicity for the
> self-appointed "Mr. Smalltalk")

Any money he gets for his writing is not anything that concerns me
personally.  Those articles are his own effort.

* ...denies community leadership by merit (Pharo core developers do know,
> what they have created and where they want to go in the future,

I don't see him claiming leadership of our community or trying to set our
He just didn't let community criticism of his writing slow him down.
All I observed is that several people bit him and he bit back - fairly
usual sort of poor communication on both sides (including me).

> and which audience we should target, they don't need a clueless person
> telling them to "get into TIOBE index", just for example)

Such opinions have no impact on me.  Its just an opinion.

> * is claiming credit for the work others have done,

I don't see him claiming he did any work on Pharo codebase, so this is off

> fostering his own publicity (not the interests of Pharo/VisualWorks etc).

Fostering his own publicity has no impact on me.
But actually I believe his heart is about fostering Pharo publicity, even
if some articles are not written the way I'd write them.

Here is the Medium thread that made me write this mail to you all.
> *https://medium.com/@michael.z3d3r/who-is-this-self-appointed-mr-9ad9a18676eb
> <https://medium.com/@michael.z3d3r/who-is-this-self-appointed-mr-9ad9a18676eb>*
> *https://medium.com/@richardeng/even-people-who-understand-prototypal-inheritance-do-not-like-it-heres-an-inconvenient-truth-459330fe4e2e
> <https://medium.com/@richardeng/even-people-who-understand-prototypal-inheritance-do-not-like-it-heres-an-inconvenient-truth-459330fe4e2e>*
> the bottom line of our tedious flame war in a screenshot:

Him swearing about a group of Pharo people is good ammunition to bring to
the mail list to support your point,
but I also see he was rather provoked.  Overall I feel this extract was
better left in that small corner of the internet
rather than fan flames here.

> PS: a side note on Javascript (with lower S). wether you love or hate this
> quirky lovechild of Lisp and Self/Smalltalk, telling JS developers they are
> stupid and that they should abandon powerful Vue.js, for example, in favor
> of Amber Smalltalk [cudos to Amber devs! great thing!]) is utterly stupid!

Agree.  But banning everyone in the world for similar stupidity would leave
the internet awfully quiet.

> Every professional Javascript developer, who is trying Smalltalk the first
> time, because he/she has read in a post of "Mr. Smalltalk", that it is
> better, will instantly dismiss Smalltalk and be disappointed. I love
> Smalltalk (certainly more than JS), but it is detrimental, to throw around
> with these wrong claims (which in the end are only a self-serving,
> ego-centric, attention-greedy campaign to promote "Mr. Smalltalk" himself,
> a total newbie, who claims credit for the work of others).

Your repeated "claims credit for the work of others" is quite provocative
and I haven't noticed this in his writings. Could you provide a link?

My suggestion: This community is open and inclusive. But we should clarify,
> that if a single individual repeatedly goes against those, who do the
> actual work, claims credits, insults people, then this person is not fit to
> be part of this community. It sheds a very bad light onto us. *--> If
> R.K. Eng cannot respect community structure and decisions, we should
> exclude him officially and publicly take distance from this person*.

Consider the Streisand Effect...
and the sort of behaviour that our detractors could have a field day with.
Personally I think such action is likely to damage our public image
more than anything Richard has done.
Richards actions are his. Ours are ours.

Thanks for you concern.
cheers -ben
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