There are times when I'm too busy to respond to questions here, or I'll drop in and write an answer to the wrong question, or get impatient with someone who is being pushy/demanding. I've gone back and read a lot of old posts here, and found that the times I was short with people were mainly times when 1) They were out of their league, and 2) I was too busy to respond properly. In those cases, I should not have replied at all--my bad. I just... get irritated when a newbie blames me for things going wrong, and I'm a programmer, not a marketing/PR person, so this is a programming forum, not a book sales & support forum. The writers who are apparently wiser than I am do not support a book after it's finished, they let customers go through the appropriate channels at the publisher's web site when they have problems. With me, you get direct access, which is a two-edged sword. It means, if you are pushy, I push back, but you also get immediate, quick answers to good questions.
And, at the end of the day, I may have moments where this seems contradictory, but I really do love to talk about game programming, especially with the primitive tools like VB, QB64, Python, C#. It's fun. Where I have problems is when someone assumes that their questions deserve an answer, and I make the mistake of answering--when I shouldn't--I should just let someone else answer or let the person find their unreasonable answers elsewhere (more likely, let someone else school 'em). When I'm in a situ with an angry coder, I feel like a survivor fighting off a zombie... this person doesn't care about anything at that moment except getting what they want and feel they deserve.
Honestly, the assumptions are all wrong. I wish I could express that in a way that is friendly and kind, but this is technical programming which is often VERY, VERY frustrating. For every frustrated or angry coder who comes here looking for help, full of flames and anger, I guarantee you I've spent 10 hours working through problems on my own to produce that material. There have been times when I was completely stuck and there was no one who could help me with a problem--like a bump mapping shader not working. Who do I go to ask for help when I have a deadline coming up in 3 hours? No one. I have to do some google searches to pull together some information, try things out, and see if I can come up with a solution. No one is ever there to answer my questions. I FIGURE IT OUT.
So, I find it incredibly frustrating and non-cool when someone comes here, full of spit and attitude, acting like they deserve an answer, and then go post a hateful review on Amazon saying I'm an a-hole who never answers questions. Well, I've been reading old threads, and there are times when I get upset, but those are maybe 5% of the total posts here and elsewhere, maybe 1 out of 20, and it's due to a visitor blaming me or a book for their difficulties. It never occurs to this person that maybe THEY are doing something wrong. That's hard to swallow, and I'm a programmer, not PR, so I'm not a smiling face at some corporation like what you get if you go to Cengage or Pearson and ask for help. When they get back to you in a few days, they'll tell you that they've forwarded your question to the author(s), and then how long does it take to get a response?
This is a thankless job, and that is why so few stick with it for long. If you aren't careful, the angry public will get you down and burn you out. I've been there at times. Some of my posts here during 2011-12 were during a burnout period when I was just fed up with angry coders. These are mostly teenagers (at least, I hope there's no grown man behaving that way!) who are generally frustrated at life already. My response should be, "You might want to give Game Maker or RPG Maker a try since they're more fun to use", but I admit, I succumb to the bait once in a while. I regret those posts. I occasionally delete them afterward and post a more appropriate reply. It is largely because of this that I stopped writing.
In contrast, writing for kids is quite a different experience. Game Programming for Kids has been extremely successful and there have been few or no posts here about that book, mainly because, it just works, the audience doesn't have unrealistic expectations, and they're mostly not "angry teenage boys" for the most part. That's who I call the zombie horde. I have a teenage son. He would never dare talk to an adult the way I get yelled at in posts, reviews, and emails by this age group. So, in that respect, I have no apologies to give because zombie teenage boys deserve to be schooled--in fact, they probably crave it, getting none at home I guess.
So, NO, I don't owe ZTBs my time or energy, and if they want to post up a hostile retail review in retaliation, okay, that's not going to surprise me. I won't miss them because they don't contribute to society. Yet. Maybe they'll mature and get over their anger issues and think back to that $20 book they got SO ANGRY about, and laugh, and think, Hmph, it wasn't so bad... boy was I an angry kid!
I don't know who else has been doing this as long as I have, either. Who among the old timers from 2000 or so are still writing programming books? Not many. I've been doing this for 15 years now. It's been fun! I don't dwell on the negatives, and this post was just a result of reading old threads and reviews... with little meaning now. I will try to be more friendly from now on. It helps to not be working long hours. I spend most of my free time these days playing games with my kids rather than burning the midnight oil writing about it. In fact, I just bought a classic Sega Genesis with CD and 32X! Now that is seriously fun!