Summary on Civility

Peace, love, and Linux by flickr user amayita
The LKML thread where I stood up against verbal abuse has been winding down. I’ve posted a summary of my position. As I noted, I have been listening and learning from the arguments on the thread. In the course of the thread, my personal viewpoints have changed subtly, and I’ve chosen to push for change in areas where I think I might actually make headway. It wouldn’t be a discussion if no one changed their mind.

Nothing is going to change overnight in the Linux kernel community. As Casey Schaufler pointed out, I cannot force or demand change. I’m merely asking to discuss the possibly of change at the Linux Kernel Summit.

Thank you for listening and debating on this subject. Open discussion can only improve our community.

7 thoughts on “Summary on Civility

  1. Thank you!

    Excellent analysis of the insider-outsider dilemma. Yes, FLOSS mailing lists need to be (mostly) world-viewable and yes, newcomers/lurkers are likely to misunderstand relationship dynamics between “oldies”. Yet people who have known each other for years or decades cannot easily communicate in a style/tone that is unnatural for that relationship, even when there is an audience – especially when that audience is invisible.

    I don’t think there exists a simple solution, or even _a_ solution – any actually working solution will likely be an evolving patchwork of many partial solutions. Best of luck with that!

    I hope that the Linux kernel community continues to discuss these things also openly, at least at times. Reading a post like this is inspiring, especially for someone who is interested in leadership, team work and (dis)organizational culture within FLOSS communities.

  2. I read parts of this impressive debate with fascination. It has generated a huge response because it touches something fundamental about how people behave on Internet. People somehow think that, because they are communicating thru a keyboard and a monitor, normal rules of human interaction cease to exist. What are the consequence for calling someone a moron, abusing them and in so doing, inciting others to do the same? If it’s only a problem for the person being insulted, why would I bother? It’s not a problem for ME.
    That is the only logic. It has nothing to do with Linux, open source, programming or rocket science. I haven’t read any comment explaining exactly how insults generate productivity, in any organization. Bullying is bullying, however you wrap it, and it only stops when someone pushes back.
    And it takes guts to do it.

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