Fri, 04 May 2007

NAK! A flame in three letters.

It's become trendy in the last few years for kernel people to start emails with "NAK" (ie. I oppose your patch going in). It's usually followed by reasons (although the first time I saw it was in the classic on-liner "NAK" from Al Viro), but it's still an absolutely horrible thing to say.

Tone-wise, it's the equivalent of "fuck you", with the added bonus of being a power trip for the person who says it (I can stop your code going in! I'm so leet!).

You're delivering bad news to someone; a couple of words can really make it easier for them to digest it. I suggest the following alternatives:

  • Sorry, there are still at least four problems...
  • Unfortunately, this isn't going to work.
  • I think you missed....
  • You are an idiot, your code sucks. Go away.

Personally, I've started putting "Hi XXX," as the first line of my posts when I'm going to argue. It's semantically null, but it helps keep a friendly tone. I don't know if it helps for other people, but it definitely helps when I get a mail starting "Hi Rusty,".

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