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Anyone know the word you would use when you let something bad happen just to prove a point? "You're being _____."

For example, proactive would describe a situation where you attempt to prevent issues, reactive is where you respond after the fact. The word I'm looking for would be when an organization knows something bad could happen but allows it to prove a point or to teach a lesson. That organization could be said to be ______.

  • Negligent comes to mind. – lux May 28 '18 at 2:27
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    Sounds like "malicious compliance". – Rattler May 1 at 15:26
  • The answers below are all good, but I wanted to comment that this could also be described (not defined) as "petty", and possibly "manipulative". Those may help. – Syre Fayne May 1 at 23:58
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One way to say that would be

You're cutting off your nose to spite your face.

This is a very common idiom, and well understood in all registers.

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  • That's not it. I need the word to use in this situation: one person wants to let a computer crash so that the user learns a lesson. My response would be something like "We can't be ______, we need to educate them ahead of time..." – Keith Poss Apr 18 '18 at 14:04
  • @KeithPoss That gap could be spiteful, but that doesn't really fit with how I originally read the question. Please expand (edit) the question with more context of how you want to use this word. – TripeHound Apr 18 '18 at 14:07
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    For example, proactive would describe a situation where you attempt to prevent issues, reactive is where you respond after the fact. The word I'm looking for would be when an organization knows something bad could happen but allows it to prove a point or to teach a lesson. That organization could be said to be ______. – Keith Poss Apr 18 '18 at 14:10
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    @KeithPoss Those examples should go into the question. You can edit them into your question via the edit link just under your question. – Lawrence Apr 18 '18 at 14:19
  • Inactive has two forms; deliberate and negligent, and both can be considered as, Contemptuous and Dismissive. Snide/snidely works too - derogatory or mocking in an indirect way. Allowing people to make mistakes isn't always a rude or bad thing though. Some people need to learn by the direct consequences of their action/inactions. In which case they may be giving them the opportunity to find out how 'not' to do something. That does not align with 'proving a point' which is often a biased personal action showing contempt. – Norman Edward Apr 18 '18 at 14:41
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After reading your question and associated comments several times, I conclude one of the words you're looking for is something like vindictive or a synonym, such as spiteful. From Cambridge:

vindictive: having or showing a wish to harm someone because you think that they harmed you

spiteful: wanting to annoy, upset, or hurt another person, especially in a small way, because you feel angry towards them

Your example sentences with vindictive:

Anyone know the word you would use when you let something bad happen just to prove a point? "You're being vindictive."

The word I'm looking for would be when an organization knows something bad could happen but allows it to prove a point or to teach a lesson. That organization could be said to be vindictive.

In one of your comments, your state:

I need the word to use in this situation: one person wants to let a computer crash so that the user learns a lesson. My response would be something like "We can't be ______, we need to educate them ahead of time..."

The intent here is clearly for the user to learn a lesson not for educational purposes but for punishment purposes. Perhaps this one person is angry with users for some reason, angry with a management decision, or frustrated by a perceived lack of resources -- only you would know their motivation. In any event, they seem to have an urge to punish, in which case you would fill in the blank with vindictive or a synonym thereof, e.g., spiteful.

I can't stop there. I understand that you might not want to use vindictive (or spiteful, etc.) in the sentence in which you reference one person. So, given that your question calls out terms such as proactive and reactive, you seem to be looking for something in between. One possibility is hands off. Again from Cambridge:

hands off: Someone who has a hands-off way of organizing or dealing with something allows other people to make decisions about how things should be done and avoids becoming directly involved

In this case, the sentence re one person would read:

"We can't be hands off, we need to educate them ahead of time..."

Based on the negative context of vindictiveness, I would probably say something like this:

We can't be knowingly (or intentionally) hands off.

A good single word for being knowingly (or intentionally) hands off when you should be hands on is negligent, as suggested by @lux in a comment about two years ago. From Cambridge:

negligent: not being careful or giving enough attention to people or things that are your responsibility:

"We can't be negligent, we need to educate them ahead of time..."

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https://bulletproofmusician.com/productive-failure-how-strategic-failure-in-the-short-term-can-lead-to-greater-success-and-learning-down-the-road/

“Productive Failure”: A Teaching Method Which Leads to Short Term Failure, but Long Term Success

"That organization could be said to be engaged in a productive failure objective."

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