Genii Weblog

Discordant harmony

Mon 22 Dec 2003, 11:54 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
In our Notes community, there have been a number of discordant notes this week.  As Ed Brill pointed out, Turtle has posted a rant on the Gonzo Lotusphere site, Mike has posted a somewhat negative poll, and, on the Gold forums, Julian has posted a wish list which has generated a few downer responses.

So, given this, why was I so reminded of the Notes community when I had the pleasure of attending a concert at Severance Hall tonight with my wife and two sons?

It was a beautiful concert featuring the incredible Burning River Brass and the elegant refurbished pipe organ.  In the Christmas season there was another feature, a sing-a-long on a few seasonal favorites.

Now, those of you who know Severance Hall or have heard the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra on the radio will appreciate the beauty and acoustic resonance of the place.  Those, hopefully many fewer of you, who know me well, know that I am pretty close to tone deaf.  In a family of musicians, I can't carry a tune and my singing is a bit scary.  Nonetheless, as a PK (preacher's kid), I learned that you make up in volume what you lack in ability.

So, figuring that even aside from me, there must have been quite a few in that hall who lacked musical training, one might cringe to think of the possible results of this massive sing-a-long.  Yet those who, like me, grew up in a church, knew something different.  A thousand voices lifted in O Come All Ye Faithful make a wonderful sound, even if there are many individual discordant notes.  There is a reason, I am convinced, and it is more than the good singers drowning out the bad singers.  The reason is, people care.

So, in our Notes community, here have been those discordant notes, off-key perhaps from what Ed or Alan would want to hear just before Lotusphere, but the overall song is not harmed by those notes.  Not because they are invalid or unimportant, which they are not.  Not because the rest of us who feel more enthusiastic about the present and future of Notes outshout them, because we cannot.  No, because sometimes the sound of a song is not harmed by those singing a slightly different key, when the caring transcends the cadence.  Turtle and Mike and Julian and Morten and others care about Notes, or they wouldn't be chiming in.  What I learned in church long ago as a child and now try to remember in our lives today is that the biggest threat to the glory of a hymn is not those who sing off-key or whose voices crack, but those who are silent.

Copyright 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

86.1. Julian Robichaux
(12/23/2003 01:54 PM)

Thanks Ben! That's a really great way of putting it.

I have a lot vested in Notes, and I think it's a fantastic technology. I want nothing more than to see it get better and better, hence "the list".

Lord knows I spend enough time promoting the product otherwise...

Merry Christmas to all.

- Julian

86.2. Stan Rogers
(12/23/2003 02:43 PM)

Didja ever notice how the folks who can't carry a tune in a bucket, and who therefore have the loudest voices (it's a law of Nature), are also often the only ones at church the morning of the big snowfall?

86.3. Dovid
(12/24/2003 09:46 AM)

Well, for me it is Synagigue, not Church. And I happen to have one of loudest and -- dare I say it -- nicest voices there (I often lead services). I am definitely a steady.

But I will admit that I have noticed that some of the worst voices are most eager to participate, and with the exception of a couple of true buffoons, most would agree it adds to the atmosphere.

[There's a bit of deliberate ambiguity in there somewhere.]

I think the discordance can also exist at the personal level. Do you think the nay-sayers aren't still promoting Domino? Of course they are. Theyw ouldn't bother complaining if they didn't still believe in the technology, and weren't still active in it. I try to let my clients know that there is a certain degre of uncertainty, but also that the platform is great for their businesses, and that IBM is certain to invest in Domno longer than the maintenance lifecycle of the project. That's good enough for me, because it is better than much of the IT world.

86.4. Jerry Carter
(12/29/2003 08:28 AM)

Well put Ben. Nicely said.

Dovid makes a good point too, being one myself to make a plaintiff bleat now and then regarding our beloved Notes. While it's not always the case, folks sometimes complain because they do care about something and believe in the axiom - the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

86.5. Neil Agate
(12/30/2003 08:03 AM)


I think I probably sing like you do as I have no musical aptitude and I never thought that would help me apreciate anything but this is a great analogy and hopefully it won't fall on deaf ears.