These days, an online magazine I follow wrote about a topic I love researching. I saw some fallacious, poisonous comments and inadvertedly tried to reason with the individual that wrote those things.
Worst thing I could possibly have done.
Of course it didn’t work out. Of course the individual tried to use every single mean she or he had to make me feel bad, to make me think I’m worthless, my arguments are a piece of crap, I’m a stupid teenager trying to reason with a god-like creature that she or he is.
That made me think about how we usually run conversations through internet. Because I work with GNOME, a thick skin naturally grew. I eventually have people yelling me “y u keep breaking stuff?” or “stop making this piece of crap” or even “ur product is bad, u offend me by releasing it” (and yes, they’re all real comments). After some time, this kind of thing becomes just background noise which we have to work with every day. I can only think that other contributors faced the same kind of top-notch treatment.
It makes me wonder how did we get in this rotten state where people try to push you down for nothing but a few seconds of selfish, ego-driven pleasure.
Is there anything I can do, right here and right now, to improve this situation? How can I encourage people to have non-violent conversations? How can I create meaningful dialogs in this chaotic place where people exchange bad words as part of their routines?
Extending this to the GNOME community, what can I do individually to make our community an even warmer place where people can develop themselves and find use for their skills? What can I do to make our community the role model of how a tech community should be?