Known Issues

Here I list personal problems, issues, and flaws that I know of, and wish to improve. I’m inspired by the “known issues” pages on many open-source software projects (see Issue Tracking).

Not an exhaustive list by any means.

If you’d like to submit a pull request (aka give me some helpful feedback), you can do so at this Google Form.

Making People Feel Condescended To

Status: closed for now, but keeping an eye on it.


Over the years, there’s been several cases where I have received feedback describing me as “condescending”. Especially as a TA in college, this was brought up several times.

And in April 2020 (during the COVID-19 lockdown in Ohio) I received some candid feedback from a co-worker on this topic. They took offense at how I had criticised something and used this description.

I suspect that the root of this ongoing issue has to do with miscommunication, or mismatch of communication styles. Pretty much every time I receive this sort of feedback I have been very surprised and taken aback. I didn’t think I was smarter or more knowledgeable than others. In one case I even tried specifically to phrase my words in a humble way, but it was taken as proud.

This strongly suggests a disconnect between my intentions, and perceptions of those intentions.

It may also have to do with modes of communication. For example, people communicating with me in person do not typically think of me as condescending. But the interaction in April 2020 occurred over chat message.

However, I don’t wish to dismiss the possibility that I have a flawed understanding of myself. And even if it is purely down to miscommunication, there may be some ways I can improve that communication. So I think this is worth keeping an eye on.

Possibly related: I have previously noticed myself giving a reflexive incredulous reaction to discovering that people don’t know “obvious” facts. This has definitely caused people to feel that I thought they were dumb.

Corrective actions:

  • As a TA, publicly apologized to class and invited feedback.
  • XKCD’s “Ten Thousand” comic has been quite helpful to me in changing my attitude in *“you don’t know ?"* situations.
  • Takeaway from April 2020: be extra extra careful criticizing others over text channels.
  • Towards the goal of making sure that what I think about myself matches how I actually come across, I’ve solicited feedback from friends and co-workers.

Undue weight placed on the opinions of others.

Status: slowly remembering who I am


“The love of the praise of men is a snare for the soul”.

I struggle with impostor syndrome, and have a great desire to accomodate and please others. I am even tempted to agree with people whose beliefs I firmly disagree with.

When people get mad with me or dislike me it keeps me up at night, distresses me greatly, and I typically invest wildly outsized time and energy in trying to “fix” it.

Corrective actions:

The one biggest thing that has helped me fight this tendency is to remind and convince myself that I am solidly “in” as a child of God. As in, “yes, that person hates me, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t change who I am”.

The efficacy of this approach is strongly tied to spending enough time in “relationship with God” activities. Or to quote scripture:

Psalm 1 (ESV)

“1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Kindness and courtesy

Status: God apparently improved this without my knowledge?


In approximately 2008-2010, I distinctly remember asking a friend something like “Why should I pretend to care about people at parties? I don’t know these people”.

I was also, for a long time, firmly in the “I’m just being honest” school of thought, criticising people without softening my words.

Somehow these things changed over the years, and I’m not really sure how. At some point in April 2020 I was shocked to discover that I am perceived to be a kind person. Several trusted sources confirmed it independently.

I was really quite flummoxed by this, because I did not think of myself as a kind person at all. I presume God did it, but I don’t really know how or when. I’m honestly curious about this.

Wasting too much time

Status: Big step-change improvements, looking for more.


  • Many worthwhile goals / Cannot accomplish them all / If I waste my life *

Corrective actions

  • 2018: house-cleaning/gouge-out-eye event. Finally became convinced this was a problem. Resolved to give up almost all recreation except a few limited avenues, or in social settings. Significant improvements in productivity and quality of life.
  • May 2020: Begun using Toggl to track time spent.
  • TODO: write thoughts on productivity. CGP Grey (fold one piece of laundry, write things down), Sam Altman, John Piper…