We value our community like a family, and have put loads of energy into the Drupal world. But we have some problems, and it's probably time for some discussion about our community manners and approach to problem-solving. We have the excellent Drupal Code of Conduct (copied from Ubuntu's model) but it doesn't yet address a number of specifics (especially conflict resolution). So I'd like to throw some ideas into the wild.
First of all, Controversy is not a bad thing. It's not a problem when people disagree on issues, even if they permanently disagree. It is a bad thing, though, when people start campaigns (on Twitter or otherwise) without understanding the problem or trying to resolve it directly. Feelings can be hurt, the community can be divided, contributor energy can be sapped, and it's mostly not the most likely way to resolve the situation anyway. Why do that?
Name Calling, Personal Attacks, and Twitter Pile-ons are not the way to resolve problems in the community. They just create new problems. I recently wrote and spoke about Burnout in the community and many people responded favorably - it seemed to strike a chord with the community, because everybody knows how dispiriting it is to get worn down with responsibilities. But if we add to that hurt feelings (and worse) due to misunderstandings, rudeness, and the like, we end up with something perhaps worse than burnout.
I propose that we discuss some additions to the Drupal Code of Conduct, either formally or informally.
- When you see something that you think is wrong (or that you otherwise disagree with), approach the party responsible directly rather than making an immediate public statement.
- Try to understand and resolve the situation directly with the parties directly involved. A discussion may help to
- Understand the actual issue.
- Understand the history behind the issue.
- Have a complete understanding of the facts involved.
- Understand how each party understands those facts
- Understand the emotions involved involving each party.
- Figure out a course of action to resolve the problem.
- If direct communication fails, pursue formal or informal community conflict resolution channels. Let's establish a conflict resolution methodology. For starters, we have a number of trusted and level-headed community members who might be willing to serve as moderators or arbitrators.
I don't think that Twitter and related fast-communication techniques are bad for general discussion or notification, but they're really lousy for actually solving (or even understanding) real problems. Let's tone down the public pile-on (and related public attacks) and find more successful ways to actually get something done. And let's all just review the DCOC, especially Be Considerate, Be Repectful, Be Collaborative, When We Disagree We Consult Others. Oh, that's almost the whole thing, isn't it :-)
I'll write soon proposing some first ideas with an actual conflict resolution technique.