Open Source, Thick Skin

Yesterday, Heather Arthur posted a well-written and sad account of how she felt after the open ridicule of one of the projects she had made available on GitHub.

This caused the battle lines to be lain between the Ruby and node.js communities. Friends of mine opened fire at one another. That made me sad.

Thanks to the internet some of my closest friends are Ruby developers. Some of my closest friends are also node developers. Seeing friends get pilloried by other friends based on a lapse of judgment that doesn’t represent them, at all, made me sad.

A few things.

First of all, let’s be clear that the kind of thing Steve and Corey did absolutely happens in the node community. There is no room for self-righteousness here. I know because it happened to me:

(My reaction to this was disappointment, because I had had a great time previously hanging out with Paolo at the AustinJS party at SXSW. Thanks Joe McCann! It stings to know someone you like personally thinks your work is sufficiently bad as to induce nausea.)

Sometimes I think the internet is unhealthy for us. When someone violates community norms, the reaction is vociferous and its intent seems to be to punish rather than to help. The Steve Klabnik I know is one of the most empathetic sweethearts I’ve ever met, and I can guarantee that he has already beat himself up over this; far worse than anything strangers on Twitter could do.

Similarly, despite Paolo’s ridicule of my work, I don’t bear any ill will for him. I suspect he was just in a cranky mood and took it out on my work as a way to help him feel better. It’s lazy, easy, and unproductive, but it works. I know because I do it all the time (cf. any of my tweets about Turbolinks or MongoDB).

So, takeaways:

I think eliminating misunderstandings is the key to getting the two communities to work together. I think we need each other more than we might realize.

But seriously, you node people really do want to reinvent everything. It’s exhausting trying to keep up.

Just kidding.

Bill and Ted: Be excellent to each other


My iOS 7 Wishlist

January 21st, 2013

Actually, it’s not a list at all. There’s just one thing I want from iOS 7.


Evergreen Browsers

May 24th, 2013

…Exponential growth is seductive, starting out slowly and virtually unnoticeably, but beyond the knee of the curve it turns explosive and profoundly transformative. The future is widely misunderstood…

Today, we anticipate continuous technological progress and the social repercussions that follow. But the future will be far more surprising than most people realize, because few observers have truly internalized the implications of the fact that the rate of change itself is accelerating.

—Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology