Polite but malicious

Politeness is often seen as counteracting what is known as “impoliteness” in people. Implicit in this duality is an automatic projection of malice (ie., “feelings of discomfort, disharmony and even revenge” referred to below) onto the “impolite” (regardless of actual malice being felt by the latter), while masking of the same if it exists in the “polite” (see the ‘ripples’ phenomenon in S.N.A.G. for an example).


Politeness tends to be more of a trait in Occidental than Oriental cultures. It originated (and arguably still is) as a marker of the upper class. See also Victorian morality.

This duality is an illusion that many people suffer from. People who are not particularly acting polite (according to whatever cultural norms) are not necessarily “impolite” (aka. “rude”), for they can also be underpolite. Unlike impoliteness (with its implicit projected “rudeness”), underpoliteness involves no malice on the underpolite.

I propose to establish another variety 1 of impoliteness, namely “underpoliteness”. This is impoliteness exercised without malice or spite which occasionally appears to be incidental and a result of socializing habits. Nevertheless, similar to other types of rudeness it creates feelings of discomfort, disharmony and even revenge.

[..] Underpoliteness could therefore, be defined as communicative acts which may cause offense though not triggered by malice.

Example of being polite-but-malicious

From https://lukeplant.me.uk/blog/posts/why-im-leaving-elm/

The leadership style in Elm is extremely aggressive and authoritarian.

By that I do not mean impolite or rude. It is almost always very civil. But still ultimately aggressive and controlling.

The team [at NoRedInk] shows a bewildering mix of cargo-cult inclusiveness coupled with inability to consider that anyone could be different from them in any way that matters.

From https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34746161

the core team has that “happy cult” vibe where they think that if they’re (passive-aggressively) polite enough, they don’t have to worry about anyone’s opinion outside their insular little group.

“Happy cult” vibe is exactly how describe that faux-niceness they throw around.

See also

While the author calls it “another variety of impoliteness”, I’d personally like to keep both distinct. Politeness, impoliteness and underpoliteness form three distinct corners of a triangle. Only two corners can exhibit malice.
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  • Harmlessness

    Editor’s note. See related: Polite but malicious

    VINEETO: The way I approached the task of becoming harmless was that I first sought to stop any of my harmless actions or verbal expressions of harm towards other people. When I got to the stage when I could rely on my attentiveness such that I could detect my aggressive mood before I verbally expressed* it to those around me, I then raised the bar to detecting any aggressive moods or vibes as soon as they arose. It became readily apparent that a bottled up aggression or resentment towards others only served to make me unhappy and did not count as being really harmless because any such feelings are detectible by others and have an influence on others.

    VINEETO: [..] I have spent many years exploring therapy groups and spiritual feeling states and it was quite a challenge to slowly wake up to the fact that feeling is not identical to actuality – in fact, feeling has nothing to do with actuality. In the past I might have felt harmless* but was nevertheless quite harmful in that my ‘self’-centredness inevitably caused ripples in other peoples lives. I found that while I might have felt that I valued peace, I still instinctively acted in attack and defence mode. While I might have felt that I was willing to sacrifice my ego for a higher cause, I was actually cultivating humbleness as a means of soul-istic ‘self’-aggrandizement, and so forth.

  • Elm

    I recommend PureScript or GHCJS (Reflex-FRP) – see No JavaScript – over Elm due to the later’s controversial design decisions and aggressive leadership.