If anyone out there wonder why Aaron Seigo's blog is down, the reason is pretty simple... Its author got burnt out because of some of the poisonous people in our project. The story started several weeks ago (probably even months ago) with constant bashing of some of the decisions taken in the Plasma project (which is not a one person project by the way). It culminated last week with very rude and useless mail threads on kde-devel, and yesterday on the dot with personal attacks.
That's why Aaron decided to retire from the public and do what he truely loves: code. No more blogs, minimal involvement on lists and IRC to ensure coordination with the other developers. That's what we obtained after those weeks of angry poisonous mobs. You might think: "well you can ignore them". Really? Could you? Such people can bring a lot of stop energy. Really a lot of it, and that worries me. It seems that the project I love is not a nice place to live in anymore.
When we are able to turn down one of our public face, someone very active and energetic, we really crossed a line. Of course, we could shake head, and think "tsss, those poisonous people, they've no idea what they're doing". That's even probably what we did during those weeks of bashing... and still we let it happen. I think that's the most frightening side of the issue: nobody stepped up, and no actions are taken to make KDE a better place again. Oh, and don't worry, I have my share of guilt in this story... I didn't step up either.
Worse than the stop energy carried by poisonous people, there's the apathy of your peers. I don't want that anymore! We have to end it!
Of course, I'd like to propose a way out, but I've not much to propose. Here are my attempts at bringing some improvements proposing some actions which could be taken (in no particular order):
- Recruit more editors for the dot, as far as I know they're overbooked and can hardly moderate it;
- To help the dot editors, we have to improve it's engine with a real moderation system (how come most news site I know have one but not the dot?);
- Write a code of conduct (probably something for the e.V. membership), and publish it as soon as possible;
- Enforce it, especially on mailing lists and on bugzilla, mediating as necessary, and banning people in the most extreme cases.
That's definitely not much, but that's a start... More ideas are welcome, but most of all: acts are needed. We must stop this kind of behavior.
PS: I'm not linking any thread, bugreport or mails on purpose. I don't want to point finger. Aaron's reaction is a symptom of something broken in our community (in the broad sense, all contributors and users included) it's just an example (and not the first case). If you want specifics, do your homework and dig our archives it's all public anyway.