The Strength of Silence

There has been a lot of reflection in the iOS developer community about the SB controversy over the past couple weeks. The majority of this reflection is the people at the top — the most prominent members of the iOS community.

The rest of us need to reflect on our roles and our actions in the community as well.

The iOS community is extremely vocal. When something happens, everyone wants to add their two cents to it. This is good in certain contexts; the SB controversy not one of these contexts.

You are browsing Twitter and see the two-sided debate. You already have a semi-formulated opinion in your head, and chime in.

The instant you pick a side, you have already lost.

I tried my best to understand what’s been going on. I read several blogs, went through a dozen timelines, and went back to the blog posts again. Even now I still don’t know what really happened.

Besides a select few directly involved, everyone on Twitter had formed their opinions based on incomplete or incorrect information. It did not help that key facts were being withheld altogether.

These misinformed tweets later become the foundations of the beliefs of other uninformed readers, continuing the cycle of misinformation.

Considering how difficult it is to get the real story without bias or fallacies, we are all better off staying silent and waiting for the dust to settle.

I felt the urge to respond to several tweets I’ve seen over the past few days. The more I learn, however, the more I’m glad that I stayed out of it. I didn’t know enough about either side of the controversy to say anything. There is nothing to gain from joining into an argument that I don’t understand.

When you say nothing, you aren’t saying that you don’t care about what’s going on. By staying silent, you make it easier for the facts to penetrate the wall of fallacies that have built up.

The time to share your opinions is when the facts become clear and the emotional reactions yield to objective reasoning.

Unless you know the whole picture, and know for sure that it really is the whole picture, you’re better off not saying anything at all.