Mario Peshev
Nov 1, 2015 · 13 min read
  • passive people that don’t take anything too personally
  • people who stick around if the whole idea makes sense, and leave if it doesn’t
  • folks that aren’t interested in confronting anyone for various reasons
  • people who genuinely believe in a community and try to selflessly do the best
  • people in the previous group that don’t quite take into account harming other people while reaching their goal
  • corporate interests’ representatives that try to get some marketing benefits or business network gains
  • political figures that have to serve the interests of their audience or management
  • general trolls

The Different Positive Attitudes Scenario

One of the most painful situations that I’ve seen online are heated discussions between people who want the best for a community.

Roadmap and Alternatives

And sometimes it stinks. And a potential democratic solution would be for WordPress to actually give some heads up to people within the community about upcoming features and long-term plans. Right now the future of WordPress is unclear, and many of us are not aware of what will happen in 6 months, a year, a couple of years or by 2020.

Drupal 8!

To provide an example — Drupal’s community is another great place with welcoming people, great community leaders, a solid technical team and a massive portfolio of impressive projects built on top of the platform. Since Drupal 8 is out in 20 days, the revolutionary update of the platform could be a viable solution for WordPress freelancers or firms, and they may feel deceived in terms of wasted time if WordPress takes a wrong term according to where they stand, instead of joining another community and investing in a different platform.

Diversity and All

Speaking of most countries, some don’t obey the law above all. Religion, for one, is a common example of the highest force in certain countries where religious norms stand higher than the common legal ones. Family morale is another example in other areas.

The Royal Family Syndrome

Additionally, opinions matter. But some opinions matter more than others.

Let’s Review a Hypothetical Conference

Let’s imagine that you’re attending a local .NET Conference and you’re a newbie user. Well, you’ll be super thrilled to get more Microsoft folks on stage since they are the main people behind the platform, right? You don’t know all of the other active contributors, library founders, or folks working on challenging .NET projects implemented for the X government.

Conclusions, Anyone?

And yet again, Microsoft are not the bad guys here. In fact I even like them ever since Satya Nadella became their CEO almost 2 years ago and he literally turned the company around — in a very positive way.

How Does Hierarchy Work?

I’ve been seeing that personality a few times and it’s not a pleasant feeling. Sometimes it’s involuntary, other times it’s bad manners or simply a cultural misunderstanding. But the higher that person is in a hierarchy, the more impactful a problem is.

  • Everyone may fork WordPress and start building a FreePress or something else
  • Community may split in groups, some backing Matt up, others forking the WordPress Core at the moment, and another group just joining another project

What About Reporting?

One of the other “gotchas” about being in a similar situation is the reporting case.

Calling For Help May Cost a Lot

Who will read that email? If there are a dozen organizers and there are friends of the bully among them, what would happen?

Have You Been Bullied?

If you happen to be in a higher community position, you have probably already built the “immunity” or live in an ecosystem that doesn’t deal with those problems. Or simply don’t care and prefer to spend your time elsewhere.

Taking an Action Against These People

Those scenarios are not a majority. However, following the Matt example from the alternate reality above, a single persona can cause a sufficient amount of damage.

  1. There is no global clear policy on what is the acceptable behavior.
  2. There are no sanctions against such behavior. Which means that bullies aren’t afraid and that may backfire in reporters’ faces.
  3. There are some people who rant in general. So whatever solves 1–3 needs to account for the “false positives”.
  4. There is the “friends and family” dodgy case where a reportee may have a certain level of immunity.
  5. There is no “roadmap” which means that each case is as vague as it could be interpret as.
  • a team/community leader who claims certain credentials and responsibilities over active contributors just by being a minority
  • a speaker from a reputable company who expects certain behavior
  • a representative from a reputable company who dictates the rules for a certain local community
  • a WordCamp organizer selecting speakers based on personal friendship (that’s a whole other story about what is the actual process for a WordCamp)
  • a team representative who keeps the contributing process closed or favors contributions from a limited, small number of people
  • a meetup organizer who rejects speaker application that violate with [insert a political/business reason here]

Mario Peshev

Written by

CEO at Engineer turned manager who gained marketing skills on the way. Consulting SMEs and fast-paced startups on growth and WordPress architecture.

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