A mixed dialog

When radicals collide.

Let’s face it. Changing the world is extremely hard; extreme change requires extreme perspectives; extreme perspectives require extreme experiences; and extreme experiences require extreme people.

Radicals don't act like everyone. They see the status quo and smash it down, not by a chisel, but by a sledge hammer attached to a rocket ship. They face a situation, and instead of going the extra mile, they go a hundred and fifty one more than anyone else. They show us what is possible. They widen our horizons. They widen our imagination. They redefine the ordinary.

Chad is an extreme person. He’s the founder of Gittip, and is changing the world for the better. He does this through his radical openness, with a focus on transparency. He conducts everything in the open, so we can all understand the complexities of a situation, learn from it, and add to it. While one can take offense to his style at times, no one can deny it’s effectiveness. It appears when he conducts himself, everyone learns from it.

Shanley is an extreme person. She’s the founder of Model View Media, and is changing the world for the better. She does this through her radical openness, with a focus on illumination. She points outs out problems with our culture, and makes them known to the world. While one can take offense to her style at times, no one can deny its effectiveness. It appears when she voices a concern, the world learns about it.

Recently, a series of events unfolded.

Chad’s radical transparency policy collided with Shanley’s radical illumination policy.

The radical transparency policy used by Chad and consequently his different initiatives (Gittip, Open-Company, etc.) came under public critique by Shanley, when she attempted to explain over Twitter that transparency only works for those in a privileged status, but for minorities who are often harassed even for just voicing an opinion (often any opinion even), such transparency can be detrimental to having equal representation within a discussion, as the minorities may just avoid participating within a transparent environment for fear of harassment.

This criticism was posted publicly, and perhaps if only due to fault of the particular medium, could come across as a bit curt. Due to the public nature of the discourse that unfolded and the public policy of implemented by Chad and Gittip, Chad replied publicly and called for the public’s opinion of the situation on a public issue on the Gittip Issue Tracker of what could be done.

This exploded things a bit further, as it called for transparent feedback on the issue of transparency, which ironically, caused further criticism as it may exclude the voices of the people whose opinion may matter most in such a discussion.

The fire was then furthered by the polarisation of the two view-points of “pro — leading the way of how things should be” versus “pro — leading the way of how things are”.

Then for a while, things quieted down, but not without repercussions it seems.

Chad yesterday posted a public post on how the events have affected his well-being, albeit publicly, and arguably too open and too personal.

This is where this post comes in.

Given these recent events, it’s important to put it all in context given the radical nature of the individuals involved.

Chad’s radical transparency expands our boundaries of what we consider good open information, and through Shanley’s radical illumination, it also makes us aware of the darker side that such radical transparency can have on marginalising minorities.

Shanley’s radical illumination expands our boundaries of what we consider good culture, and through Chad’s radical transparency, it also makes us aware of the darker side that such radical illumination can have on one’s well being.

Now while I do understand that both extreme outlooks have their issues, coupled with their benefits, it’s important that we don't lose sight of what they are fighting for.

Which ironically, appears to be the same thing; a world where we can all express ourselves freely, openly, and transparently, without harassment, and without harassing others.

Chad appears to be fighting the good fight by showing us what the end result’s climate could be like by living it today.

Shanley appears to be fighting the good fight by showing us how we can get to the end result by considering today’s climate.

One can request that Chad dial down the radical transparency, to become just ordinary transparency. One can request that Shanley dial down the radical illumination, to become just ordinary illumination. But where does that leave us?

We need radicals to show us what is possible. We need radicals to push the boundaries showing us the pros and cons. We need radicals to show us how to become better people as a whole.

If a radical were to stop being just that, we lose this advantage, this insight, and this ability to evolve who we are.

Radicals, while at times I may disagree with you, I always deeply respect you.

It’s hard, I know. But please keep it up.