Mailvox: dealing with Gammas

A pair of readers were wondering about Gammas and whether it is worth putting up with them:

You’ve worked with a lot of people. Gammas can be bright in tech, for example, but they’re so toxic and annoying. Are they ever worth keeping on or like SJWs, keep them away?

The problem is that Gammas often make themselves subject matter experts, or at least succeed in presenting themselves as such. They can be utilized successfully so long as you are VERY careful to keep them focused on their areas of actual expertise as opposed to the areas where they only have delusions of expertise. The challenge is that Gammas are very good at doing intense research in a short period of time, but they will only do so in order to support their preconceived position, and they absolutely refuse to recognize any genuine authority on matters where they erroneously believe they have educated themselves sufficiently.

It is not at all beyond Gamma capabilities for an overweight, unathletic man who has never played football to loftily explain to an NFL quarterback how he should be throwing the ball.  That’s a fictitious example, but I have personally witnessed situations every bit as ridiculous. Even worse, it is entirely possible that if his advice is rejected out of hand, the Gamma will feel betrayed and furiously devote himself to sabotaging the individual or the organization he was previously seeking to help.

As a general rule, then, it is best to bring in Gammas as short-term consultants when necessary, if their particular skills happen to be required. But they should never be given authority over others or any control over mission-critical materials or decisions. Gammas consider the threat of blackmail and the withholding of necessary information and material to be perfectly legitimate negotiating tactics.

Another reader was genuinely bothered by the way in which I dealt with a Gamma:

This thread bothered me immensely. You give the most amazing impression of being a man with limitless energy, mental and physical. I’m only  a few years older than you, and I know that’s fucking not true. (That said,  I have no idea what chemical adjuncts you may or may not employ; my guess is none but if it’s otherwise, please share.)

Straight to the point:  you should not waste precious time or energy on these dickheads because what you’re doing is too important. Seriously. I very much think you should limit comments to trusted commenters, because that will reduce the energy given to moderation.

By all means, start broad and then whittle the list. My preference (for what it’s worth) is to not see you ever waste time or energy on dissecting a posturing idiot like this again.

My energy is far from limitless, but since I tend to feed on negativity and opposition, I find the constant attempts to belittle, discredit, and discount me to be motivating. This may or may not be psychologically healthy in the long term, but it certainly helps one achieve one’s objectives.

Granted, it does get tedious dealing with the same sort of posturing nonsense over and over again, but I think our new moderating system with seven VFM handling the resonsibilities instead of me has the situation well under control.

People around me do say that I work all the time, but the fact is that I enjoy my work more than I enjoy most things that people consider recreational. I literally can’t work out or play soccer any more than I do – my occasional injuries almost inevitably reflect overtraining – and I tend to enjoy designing games more than playing them now.

That being said, if I could get away with it, I would happily burn every loose piece of paper in my office and in my files and never even think of doing any paperwork again. Forget immigration and women’s liberation, if they really wanted to take the chains off the economy and return to the glory days of strong economic growth, the politicians should focus like lasers on developing systems that eliminate reports, records, and regulatory compliance on the part of all small businesses.