I'm no longer surprised when I read about verbal abuse of other humans in my community. It makes me sad, both for the person who would say that to someone else, and for the person who gets the abuse. Worse, it makes me sad that the abusers don't care about the effects on their fellow human beings, or on the projects that they are representing.
Using technology in a community like ours is far more than just a choice of which code does more. Choosing to use a technology on a project is an investment. When you invest in a project, whether it's a language like Perl, or a module like DBIx::Class, you're not just investing in code. You're investing in the community that comes with it. There are at least two major Perl projects I will not invest any time in because of the communities that surround them. I'm not alone in my convictions and actions.
The other day I ran across an acronym, THINK, that gives questions to ask about what you're about to communicate, before you actually say it.
Is what I'm about to say:
Geeks in technical discussions are really good at the Intelligent, and usually Thoughtful. The Honest is just a given.
It's with Necessary and, especially, Kind where some fail, with damaging results.
I'd like to urge all of us to keep THINK in mind in all our interactions, whether in IRC, mailing lists or in person at user group meetings and conferences.
As an aside, I've always moderated Perlbuzz comments, and will continue to do so. THINK crystallizes my criteria perfectly.