Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

Intent Is Not Magic

In lots of discussions, people try to use intent as a defence: “that’s not what I/they meant so it’s ok”.

Here’s the thing. You accidentally tread on someone’s foot? You say “I’m sorry I trod on your foot”, not “yeah I didn’t mean to do that so it’s ok”. We assume you’re not deliberately going around stamping on toes, and, well, if you are, then we’re going to have a very different conversation about basic expectations.

Similarly, if you accidentally do a sexism, or a racism, or any one of a number of Bad Things, and someone calls you on it, then don’t respond with “I didn’t mean to be” or “that’s not my intent” (with the implied “…and so this excuses me”). Apologise. You did a bad.

Check out Shakesville’s Harmful Communication Part One: Intent Is Magic for more nuance, detail and examples