Tom McFarlin of 8Bit has written a piece entitled The WordPress Community Needs an Attitude Adjustment and while I agree with the overall point of needing to just be nicer to each other, his post generates a lot of different thoughts and emotions inside of me.
On the one hand, I read Tom’s post and come away thinking that everyone should just shut up and stare at the sign that says Patches Welcome which at times, appears to be the answer to any form of criticism or discussion about WordPress. On the other, I see the point of being more civil towards one another when disagreements or engagement occurs. This thing we call the WordPress community does an excellent job of policing itself but a quick Google search shows that at times, we certainly eat our own for lunch. I can see how this public display of back and forth fighting could turn off a lot of people from contributing to WordPress much less be a part of that circle.
In Tom’s article, Jake Goldman of WordPress consulting firm 10up left this great comment:
Any large, enthusiastic community is going to have louder, more opinionated voices, and softer “never offend” voices. And even those of us that generally strive to be loud only when the subject seems in need of broader discussion, sometimes err in how we communicate (I know I regret the way I framed a point about business and WordCamps that was, ironically, sensationalized here).
Follow any large audience – Android fans, UX groups, Joomla communities – and you’ll find the same characteristics. It’s a sign that we’re passionate, diverse, and engaging. And human!
No one would argue that calmer, more professional dialog is a bad thing. IMHO, lets just remember its not uniquely endemic to WordPress, and try to embrace, not shun, the more opinionated among us.
WPTavern has played host to several important discussions surrounding WordPress over the years and I can’t count the number of times I saw core WordPress developers shrug people and their concerns off as ‘big deal‘. It’s infuriating to be passionate about WordPress, raise a valid concern and instead of those close to the heart of WordPress taking an active stance and being part of the conversation, they insist on shrugging people and the conversation off. I would like to formally recognize Mark Jaquith as NOT being one of those people. Mark has often participated in these discussions offering rational, level-headed approaches to our discussions and sometimes, validating our concerns while providing us direction on how to solve them. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a role model for those at the top on how to deal with issues that are raised by members of the community.
Ultimately, the WordPress eco-system is better off by eliminating unnecessary insults, threats, public displays of bashing, and being the crudest of human beings. There’s no room in the community for that crap. It doesn’t mean that we’re forced to sit around a campfire and be happy WordPress hippies signing kumbaya. It just means we can have meaningful dialogue among each other to generate forward progress without having to take part in all the above.
Thanks for writing this up, Jeffro. Love hearing others’ thoughts on it :).
As old as the Tavern is, I can only imagine how many discussions have happened here that have been motivated by a combination of passion and opinion.
Obviously those two aren’t bad things – no one would say that – but how something is said as a result of those things ultimately determine if we “eat our own for lunch.”
And yeah, I’ll go on record as saying that I don’t want to shrug off or ignore a significant, passionate conversation around WordPress nor do I want others, but I would like to see less cannibalism, if you will ;).
Anyway, I mentioned this on a WP Daily comment, too: I’m also particular about the mediums through which the conversations occur, you know?
Personally, I don’t think Twitter is all that great. Others do. And that’s fine. I’m a bigger fan of blog comments, emails, and longer forms of discussion. Again, that’s just me.
Ultimately, I do wanna see people – myself included! – do a better job of bringing level-headedness (like Mark) to the discussion.