I used to be participate in the punk and hardcore music scene in the pacific northwest and there were a lot of the same politics at work. There is sort of this elephant in the room in punk rock that all your friends’ bands are more or less terrible (ssshhhhh)! But of course you support them! You come to the shows and dance and have a good time and sing along, because that’s what you do. You’re a community and a family. You support each other.
But then of course you always get the people in the scene that hate on the bands or trash talk them on message boards or spread fake rumors about people. Or maybe you’re cool to the bands from your area, but when a touring band comes in from out-of-state you just sit outside and talk to your friends instead of supporting them. It all leads to the same feelings you describe in your article: burnout, bad feelings, frustration and anger.
At the end of the day people contribute to open source for a lot of the same reasons people choose to play music: they want to share their passion with other people. It’s not about trying to get famous or making money it’s putting their energy and intellect out there and making something cool with it for themselves and their friends.
One of my favorite bands is this band called Bane and they have this song Can We Start Again? which kind talks about getting into the punk rock scene and why it was so appealing.
I was a 15 year old kid
With nowhere to fit in
I just wanted to skate
Listen to my Suicidal tape
When someone told me about a place
Where the strange were accepted
And judged by what’s inside
A scene of truly open minds
But then inevitably it turns toward the sort of frustration that comes from things not actually being as open and awesome as they appear.
Somewhere, somehow, everything has changed
Look at what we’ve gotten ourselves caught up in
The same mindless clicks
The same high school shit
All the walls you scream about breaking down
I’ve watched you build them up brick by brick
Reading your article I remember when I used to run the Northwest Hardcore message board and would get so much flak from people about everything. I put so much into it to help my friends bands and it really takes its toll to get trolled and threatened and bullied. At some points it stops being fun to participate in a scene like that.
Do you still believe? I do!
Look beyond the 3 chords that fill your lives
Look beyond the gossip and the lies
Beyond the dullest of outsides
To see what’s inside
I hope we can learn to treat each other with respect. In the early days the node community had such a reputation for respect and low drama, but of course at that point it was a small group of people who mostly knew each other. As things get bigger it’s harder to think of the person on the other side of that pull request as a real human. Which of course we are all are.
Here’s to hoping to we can make this community inclusive and keep building rad stuff without burning each other out.
p.s. thanks for all of your contributions James! Whether you keep up the same frantic pace or not, it doesn’t really matter. The work you’ve done has impacted thousands and remains appreciated!