Without boats, dreams dry up
One of the most famous anecdotes that forms the basis of the United States’ political self-identity is the story of an interaction between Benjamin Franklin and Elizabeth Willing Powel after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which established the United States’ present form of government. Powel asked Franklin what sort of government the U.S. was to have, to which he replied: “a republic, if you can keep it.”
Given the self-conscious references to “constitutions” and “checks and balances” in the Rust project’s recent governance RFC and the discourse around it, some further reflection on this quote and its implications about governance as such might now be appropriate for the project and its community.…
Evan Czaplicki, the creator and maintainer of the Elm project (a project that I love by the way) gave a great talk at Strange Loop last month called “The Hard Parts of Open Source.” I really enjoyed and valued this talk, and I encourage everyone who is involved in open source to watch it. You can find on YouTube here.
In particular, I got a lot of value out of his identification of three specific harmful patterns of behavior in the open source community, and of his geneological work tracing the origins of those behaviors through the history of the “hacker” subculture. I think I’m going to be utilising these patterns a lot when trying to understand unpleasant interactions I have in connection with my open source work.
In case some readers decide not to watch Evan’s talk, I want to highlight those three patterns here:
As I’ve said, I think Evan’s talk is quite good and worth watching, but I do have an objection, which is why I’ve written out this whole blog post. In the final segment of the talk, it shifts from disecting these social phenomena into a sketch of a proposed discussion platform designed with the goal of producing more positive discussions.…