Still about language, I feel that my language skill already starts to deteriorate.
Regarding the issues like KDE vs GNOME (these days, XGL vs AIGL), once I explained to somebody:
"Typically only the clueless ones, who do not contribute anything - let alone coding - are busy exaggerating the issues, thus fueling the flame wars".
"Hey! Just because you are a developer does not mean you can ignore the feedback from a Joe User..."
which surely prompted a big question mark in my head: did I say that I hate normal users? This guy apparently framed an impression in his brain that I did that, a total fallacy which either was entirely his imagination or possibly because I did not express my opinion clear enough.
In another occasion, with another guy we faced a circuit which needs explanation. After spending few minutes scribbling some diagrams, this guy was still confused:
"I don't understand this. The circuit should not behave like this. I expect it to be like this ...bla bla bla "
"Yeah fine, but how it works is not defined by you."
"Still, this kind of function is not what I need!"
Forget about techie talk. Often in daily life this situation also arises.
Somebody shouted to me:
"Dude, our <insert typical home/office appliance here> does not work! It just keeps doing stupid thing like this!"
"OK, let me see....(few minutes later). I see, I think it's because bla bla bla... long explanation... ideas for workaround...."
(still shouting)"But that's not normal! It must not act like that!"
followed by a full lecture why it should not happen at all. Gee, he thought that because I was trying to explain the possible culprit in that particular madness, I also fully believed that the behavior is justified (and thus I need to be convinced about the annoyance). Good, except that it was all only in his mind.
Or, in a discussion with guys from many different countries:
"I'm not really impressed by my countrymen. There are few who successfully pushed themselves very hard and later on became decision makers for many big companies. But millions others are quite afraid to experience even just a simple change in their life."
"Maybe because they don't need it. Maybe they're already happy for what they have. Perhaps they don't like to go abroad. Or they love simple life..."
"But they deserve better! And we know that they are actually able to do it..."
and so the continued discussion became less interesting to follow. I never said that his countrymen don't deserve it, or are not capable to do such. I merely offered possible causes (OK, it's stupid analysis but still) and all of sudden, it was going on the wrong direction.
Postscript: Man, I started to write like jwz.