I just finished watching a great video presentation by Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman that discusses open source projects and poisonous people. I have seen this video and idea referred to numerous times but when it was referenced today in the WordPress Hackers Mailing list, I finally decided to sit down and devote an hour to watching the entire presentation.
While listening to the presentation, there were a number of instances in which I could relate certain things that have happened in the WordPress community to poisonous behaviour. I also had a better idea as to who some of these poisonous people are in the community or have been at some point. My verdict is that everyone who participates in the WordPress community or any online community for that matter should watch this video and then do a self review. I know there have been a few times especially with certain topics on the Tavern forum where I’ve harbored poisonous behavior but that is the not the goal of this website. I’ve stated this before and it’s worth saying again, WPTavern.com does not exist to poison the project or to inject conspiracies, hatred, or disgust into the project. It exists out of my enthusiastic views and uses of the software and the community surrounding it. I think a lot of people could do better to analyze how they discuss ideas or how they apply criticism without insults or taking it to a personal level. I also think there are a couple of people that could learn how to not respond to everything time and time again as if it’s their way or the high way.
Ultimately what this video showed me is that I have a lot to learn when it comes to the human element of open source software and managing a community.