Like I confessed already, my knowledge about "technology evangelism" and the use of "to evangelize" was imperfect. And furthermore, I even failed to find the right dictionary that explains the true meaning of "to evangelize" in IT terms. I probably just outed myself as not being a technology expert, and revealed myself as being one of the many sinners out there who associate "evangelism" with religion and belief.
It sure is everyone's good right to say my criticism is "nit picking" or unjustified. I apologize for having done that, but perhaps one could consider how I arrived here. I read the OTN mission statement and found the religious undertone dismissive. It dismissed me personally.
What we are dealing here is about language and perception. What is wrong about "political correctness" regarding a mission statement? The only thing I see wrong is not trying to be politically correct or to ignore possible perception.
In my view that criticism is valid.
And I blame the US English speakers for contaminating the language with words like that. The fact is that the word evangelical was specifically chosen based on religious definition. It was chosen as a simile as if somehow the religious definition fits the technological one.
But then they also call a liquid, gas.
Go figure... <sigh>
My recommendation for OTN is to replace the expression with "promoting technology evangelism" instead, or better to avoid the use of the verb "to evangelize" altogether, in order to avoid any religious concept, in case this was not intended.
I guess we are riding on the same wave regarding "to evangelize", but I think US English is just another language, and like any language or culture, as people advance there are also language developments. It's not what you said, but people from the UK may criticize US English. However, I would not proclaim British or Oxford English to be the true gospel either.
I recently read the following: There's an annual contest at Bond University, Australia, calling for the appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year's chosen term was "political correctness". The winning student wrote:
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of s hit by the clean end."
To worry about using the right words, to respect other cultures and perceptions and to mind diplomacy has an important function in foreign politics. Well, joking aside, I digress, this is just about the term "to evangelize" and not really a concern about Oracle being a global player.
I think there is a positive to the terms used, and that is, it is being honest about not being purely technological. As I've noted before, there is a strong marketing component to social media, and that is what the evangelism is referring to. That creates a tension for those of us who would prefer OTN and these technical fora in particular to be more purely technological.
But we live in this modern world, and I have to admit I've long been a Tom Kyte fanboi. I believe one of the reasons he's as good as he is is because he would go into the lions' den and demonstrate Oracle superiority. You simply have to know your stuff to be able to do that, doubly so to communicate it to the skeptical or those with faith in the enemy. It makes it easy for those who do want the simple technological truth to ignore marketing messages.
In my opinion, being a fan or enthusiastic about something, or to demonstrate and advocate a product, has nothing to do with religion. Unless Oracle wants to be a religious community or be perceived as such, I think it should better not use the term "to evangelize". It's perhaps a "cool" and trendy term, but not necessarily understood by everyone, or in the "right spirit". If the term has to be used, then I suggest only in combination, such as "technology evangelism" or being a "technology evangelist", but not as a verb.
My guess is that people generally find the term "to evangelize" rather positive or rather negative, but less likely neutral. Perhaps it depends whether a person is generally familiar with religious concepts in life, or whether it is perceived as blasphemy, or whether religious concepts are generally rejected. The later is perhaps the biggest threat to most religions as such. I can also imagine that "to evangelize" is more acceptable in one part of the world, and less in another.
Hey, at least we aren't Oracle "crusaders".
Actually, thinking of the Crusades, "Holy War" is used pretty commonly in Technology circles (with the negative religious association entirely intentional).
I have not heard of that, but I guess no technology corporation would dare to use "Holy War" in their mission statement.
It seems to me that this is a typical practice in politics. The term "holy war" creates discomfort, which is used to bias an opinion. If a laywer uses such a term, wouldn't that call for an objection due to a suggestive nature of the argumentation, like seen in the movies?