Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Civility and Common Courtesy

I'm sure there's no one reading this who expects the internet to be a congenial place at all times. The internet is just a bunch of people, usually shouting, after all. And people can't yet be relied upon to always get along (and I'm no exception - but that doesn't make it right).

Still, we should always be striving to be better. And in certain subsets of the internet - communities, if you will - the bar should be set even higher still. Of course I have someone in particular in mind as I write this, someone in one of the many open source software communities on the 'net.

There's a lot of competition between similar open source projects. As with most competition, this can be both beneficial and... otherwise. Competition can be a great source of motivation. But it can also lead to resentment, grudges, vitriol, and worse. It's easy for things to spiral when this happens. And even if matters remain at just a low level of antipathy, no one is benefiting from this, no one wakes up each day happier because they know someone is going to insult their work, no software is improved by slinging around baseless claims about the poor quality of other people's work.

I have no idea if the person who prompted this post will read it, and now I think it doesn't really matter. You read it. Just keep it in mind.

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