youve been warned, this is a long post. if you dont like those, just turn right around... thanks.
freshly inspired by darthlukans post about "true meritocracy" at the top of this thread: https://bbs.linuxdistrocommunity.com/discussion/2536/future-of-linux
i have some thoughts on the subject.
True Meritocracy: This one may seem unnecessary, but our overall community can be a toxic place (case and point, been in #archlinux lately and not read through the Arch Wiki before asking a question?) and that carries over into the various "cliques" of developers writing software for Linux and other *nix-based systems. It's not necessarily the best ideas being implemented based on merit, it's ideas with enough push by people with strong opinions making maintainers feel the need to go with the idea or face more headache than they can deal with (see the systemd and devuan debacle). That's not how a meritocracy works, that's damn near the definition of bullying. Systemd was an idea, was its implementation the best idea? Maybe, but the whole thing looked more like a bullying tactic than the debate of a meritocracy which shrouded most of the positives that systemd provides. Note: I'm using systemd as an example because as Linux users, it's fresh in our minds, but the very same could be said regarding, for example, clang vs gcc and many others.
first of all, i want to applaud his post because i think its sincere and has potential for usefulness. im generally very wary of "anti-bullying" initiatives and things like jono bacons "openrespect"
what i really liked was the part about "cliques." one of the reasons that i dont care for ubuntu anything is that if you scratch the surface of what passes for community there, you will find a group of cliques that you can annoy, misstep or inadvertently rouse into teaming up on you.
most "anti-bullying" goes like this:
this sort of thing happens with different players at different levels of seniority-- but ive seen it at every "nice" forum online at one time or another.
the easy way around it is dont have a code of conduct, allow people to flame the heck out of each other, and let people leave when theyre sick of it.
im old fashioned and think of the net as a place for speech, so basically im ok with that.
but if anti-bullying were thought about in terms of groups and cliques instead of individual behavior, it would be a lot more interesting.
first of all, it wouldnt be a very good tool for singling anyone out.
instead, it would be a tool for allowing people their differences and deescalating conflicts.
if two groups (any size) were seen escalating things, people could give them a moment before (as a group) stepping in and breaking things up.
the usual dynamics are mods vs peons (even when the mod/peon relations are pretty good) or seniority vs noobs, (sure we like new blood as long as it knows its place) or "good guys" vs "trolls" (where everyone has characteristics of both and roles/labels/credit are assigned based on things like seniority or clique size and rank.)
i think its useful to start with the assumption that this isnt 100% solveable.
but a better meritocracy, where cliques had less power (sort of like the shift of groups like the ira to political parties) it might look like this:
- differing opinions are generally recognized as either a boon or a necessary evil to a healthy community
- lively debates are allowed
- the community monitors escalation (it has to learn to recognize it)
- cliques become "teams" that notice when two groups (any size) are escalating and step in to "break it up" without singling anyone out
this isnt a utopian model, its what different groups do when they dont want things to get out of hand without a good reason.
on the internet, things get hot so quickly that people are ready to go to war over it. people that are tired of that sort of thing, rather than relying on 3-strikes models or everyone-is-happy-now whitewashing, could do what cliques do when they want to avoid a war--
spot it, have their own people step in, and break it up.
in other words, acknowledge that clique dynamics are fundamental (or at least unavoidable) and put them to use for some slightly higher purpose: serving the forum.
the part where people dont agree and arent expected to is vital, though. thats one of the things that makes "linux" work. but of course, you may not agree.
this forum may have no need for such an idea, and if so thats fantastic. like darthlukans post, i offer these ideas not necessarily for this forum, but for other places online that you may have influence (or someday have influence) in.