I’ve been on the outside looking in these last few weeks. Siobhan McKeown’s post on some of the latest community drama resonated with me.
Write your posts. Wring your hands. Join comment mobs. But the sheer number of posts of late that are overly critical and snarky and angry gives the wrong impression. When all we have are posts about the bad things, it’s easy for the good to get lost. Every community is both, and we should celebrate the good as much, if not more, as we bemoan the bad. Otherwise we misrepresent ourselves, we misrepresent this community, and we misrepresent those that we care about.
This community is far from perfect, yes. Nothing is perfect.
I used to call WordPress people my “internet friends.” I no longer do. They are just my friends. I’ve developed relationships for over five years now, and how much this community means to me has been more evident than ever the last few weeks.
Some of these friends, I’ve still never met in real life. Others I see every year, or more. Nationality doesn’t matter. Differences in race, gender, and religion don’t matter. We are bonded by human decency and a mutual interest in web publishing.
I’ve received notes, gifts, encouraging words, advice, and more from my friends these last few weeks as we welcomed my son to the world, and subsequently dealt with a small scare and subsequent visit to the hospital. Thankfully, he’s fine and it wasn’t much to worry about.
My “real life” friends and my family are amazed by this community. They joke about my constant swag deliveries. They’re surprised that such a thriving ecosystem exists within a broad profession like ours. They’re astonished by how much we all chat with each other. They’re inspired how we help each other out in hard times. They’re amused that we enjoy going to conferences. They’re impressed by how much we love our work.
We have much to be thankful for, and I’m glad Siobhan reminded everyone of that.