San Francisco, California

My Increasing Wariness of Dogmatism

I think about this post all about dogmatism by Chris perhaps twice a week:

Hardly a day goes by I don’t see a dogmatic statement about the web. I was collecting them for a while, but I won’t share them as there is no sense in shaming anyone. I’m as guilty as anyone.

The dogmatic part comes from the way an opinion is phrased. I feel like people do it sometimes just for emphasis. To sound bold and proud, via brevity.

I catch myself in this mode sometimes, of boldly declaring “that’s not the way to do it!” when it comes to front-end development or design. But dogmatism isn’t helpful, it doesn’t make me sound clever or wise, and it just increases the wariness of people around me to ask for help or guidance on an issue. You can see it in my writing sometimes, too. My inner 20th century German graphic designer takes over and suddenly the writing is obnoxious and mean.

Chris shows a couple ways to tackle this though:

First, make peace with the fact that the world (and the web) is a huge place with incredible diversity, in every sense of that word. Everyone’s situation is different than yours. You can’t know everything. There is endless gray area.

Second, it’s possible to re-work a dogmatic statement into something more productive.

[…] It’s certainly wordier to avoid dogma when you’re trying to make a point. But it’s more honest. It’s more clear. It’s showing empathy for people out there doing things different. It makes it easier for others to empathize with you.