Six Seasons and a Movie: Reflections on Community
Communities come in an enormous variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of values and way of operating. In general, a community should be an inclusive space where everyone involved feels a sense of belonging and is working together towards common goals. However, building a thriving community is no easy task, and in today's episode, we discuss some of the main challenges that can arise when a group of people joins forces, as well as some of the ways by which these challenges can be overcome. We also throw in some good Netflix recommendations! Shoutout to the Vue community which, of course, is near and dear to all our hearts!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Everyone shares the qualities that they believe make up a thriving community.
- Communities that we have been a part of, and the roles that we have played in building them.
- The challenges that come with forming a community.
- The benefits of having a very clear code of conduct.
- Code of conduct styles that we think will contribute to the creation of unhealthy communities.
- Advice for people who are in a position where they need to enforce a code of conduct.
- Ari shares her experience of misconduct and the aftermath within the Vue community.
- The importance of openly communicating the values that your community stands for.
- How communities should handle issues that arise.
- An unsettling trend that we’ve noticed taking place recently in the virtual world.
- Appreciation for the Vue community.
- Picks for the week, including K-dramas and weighted eye pillows.
“What I want to feel out of a community is that everyone here belongs, we’re all in this together.” — Oscar [0:02:05]
“Not everyone has the same values and not everyone has the same experiences to understand how their actions will impact somebody else.” — Ari [0:07:52]
“I believe in second chances for people, but people have to want to try.” — Oscar [0:09:13]
“As a community, for sure, you need to be able to very quickly publicly acknowledge if something is going wrong, and decrease whatever issue is happening.” — Alex [0:39:51]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
- Ruby Mailing List incident recap thread, Brandon Weaver
- Recurse Center Social Rules
- After Years of Abusive E-mails, the Creator of Linux Steps Aside, Noam Cohen (The New Yorker)
- The Sneetches, supposedly by Dr. Seuss
[00:00:10] AC: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Enjoy the Vue. I am Ari. Today on our panel, we have Tessa.
[00:00:18] T: Hello.
[00:00:20] AC: Alex.
[00:00:23] AR: Hello.
[00:00:25] AC: And special guest panelist, Oscar.
[00:00:28] O: Hello, hello.
[00:00:29] T: No, you had to have the longest hello, because you're getting longer and longer.
[00:00:32] AR: You’re getting the double there.
[00:00:37] AC: Today, we're going to talk about the broader concept of community. Specifically, what makes good one? What makes a bad one? How do you successfully build one? Let's sta rt with a roundtable question of what is one thing that you think makes a good community? Let's start with Alex.
[00:00:58] AR: Generally speaking, I would say, one thing that makes a really good community is being welcoming. Any community where I walk in, people go like, “Hi. Welcome.”
[00:01:15] T: Like this podcast?
[00:01:17] AR: Yeah. I don't want to be there, right? I want a community where people go and they go, “Oh, my God. You're here. Hi. Welcome. Come do the things.” Maybe not that excited.
[00:01:27] T: It was really not nice having you on the show.
[00:01:33] AR: Yeah. I like, feel being welcoming and not excluding people, or just being rude to people upfront is probably a pretty good thing. I really like that in a community.
[00:01:47] AC: All right. Oscar.
[00:01:49] O: Yeah, I definitely second that. I think, mine is related. I think, it's the feeling inclusive, and feeling like everyone is really together. We're all in this together in this community. Really, when I want to feel a lot of a community is that everyone here belongs. We're all in this together. We really want to be working together to build that bigger, better, stronger community. We haven't achieved everything we've achieved so far by just pushing folks away. Yeah. I think, that's where it is for me.
[00:02:25] AC: By default, up next is Tessa.
[00:02:28] T: For me, I think what's really important in a community is structure. This can mean structure in terms of activities, structure in terms of your community’s social hierarchy, structure in terms of who you want to welcome and include in your community, versus who you want to exclude for the sake of protecting the community.
I've seen a lot of communities and community organizers that really like the idea of having a spontaneous and improvised community. I think, there are perfect storm type situations where that happens to work out with no additional planning or structure. In general, in my experience, in order to really have that fun and safe and welcoming feeling of impromptuness, or anything can happenness, you do need underlying structure that maybe is invisible to community members, but that community organizers’ often put a lot of work into.
An example maybe the type of feeling I'm talking about trying to avoid is you're in a group of five friends, everybody has been hungry for 30 minutes, and you still can't decide what restaurant to eat at. That kind of feeling.
[00:03:40] AC: Okay. I guess, that means it's my turn. For me, one of the hallmarks of a good community is a helpful community. Part of what makes a helpful community is creating a safe space to ask questions, no matter how “dumb” that question might be. I don't ever want to feel afraid that if I say, or ask something that is contrary to someone else's opinion, that they're going to make me feel I'm stupid for it. That's a big thing for me.
Also, I guess, I'm curious what everyone else is – how other people here have helped build communities and what that looked like? Anyone, feel free to jump in on that one.
[00:04:24] O: Yeah. I feel like, I end up talking about it a lot, of course. One of the projects I work on outside of Vue and other things like that is a programming language. In terms of building a community, it's probably going to be one of those things that you're going to end up having a community around. I really do think that how you build that community, how you set that example is going to show what kinds of people are going to participate in your community.
You can't really have a lax approach to it. You can't really have that spontaneous feeling. You have to be pretty active with the kinds of people that you're seeking out to join your community. You have to regulate, “Hey, are we making sure that our public presence,” so for newcomers like, “Are we being welcoming to everyone that comes in? Do people feel like they can come in and ask a dumb question and not get ridiculed for it?” That's how you end up building one of those communities, like when you look at the Vue community, of course. It's super-duper welcoming. There's not really any such thing as a dumb question. Someone's there to help you. Everyone's in it together. Everyone's learning together. That's amazing, right?
When I look at communities like that, and I look at communities, even the Python community. Python really could have been a really terrible community. Let's be honest, right? Everyone's trying to be super clever about how they're dealing with all their data. Instead, it's like, yeah, Python really has this sense of, “Hey, yeah. This is really friendly for beginners.” Let's try and make Python super-duper welcoming to anyone who wants to come to the community.
That's awesome. I really wish that we had that out of every single community. It's not quite like that, unfortunately. Yeah, definitely the experience of trying to build a community. It's a lot of work. That's the main thing I'd say. It's a lot of work. It's your baby, and you got to take care of it. when things do go south.
[00:06:21] T: When I entered the tech world, I started attending and running meetups. I guess, that was one of my big forays into the community. I don't remember if there was another part to this question that I'm missing. Yeah.
[00:06:36] AR: I've never really built a community I've had communities foisted upon me sometimes and trying to go, “Okay. Well, let's get some infrastructure put in place here.” We don't have a code of conduct. We should probably have one of those, right? A lot of them were very small communities that were trying to get bigger and not really having anything. I was like, we need these, and hope that we never have to use them. That's the goal of you have a code of conduct and then hope that it never needs to be used.
[00:07:13] T: Okay, but why? I know everybody hates the devil's advocate, but I think it's an important question to ask. Why can't we just trust everybody to be adults and be nice and be awesome, or whatever the villain TED quote is?
[00:07:26] AC: Have you met people?
[00:07:31] T: I've met the people that have asked this question.
[00:07:34] AC: Because people suck. I mean, that's the sad, short answer. Despite best of intentions, people will also sometimes unwittingly do things that are really messed up and hurt other people. Then, that's not even to speak to the people who will intentionally do things to hurt other people. Yeah. Not everyone has the same values and not everyone has the same experiences to understand how their actions will impact someone else.
[00:08:02] O: Yeah. It can be really difficult, too. Because a lot of the time, you might think, “Well, ah, it's just an education problem.” If someone does something wrong, we can try and educate them and say, “Hey, this is what was wrong with what you did, and we hope that you don't do it again.” Some people are open to that. I've seen situations where you actually sit down with someone and talk to them and explain what happened, and they change, and they get better.
Then, there's also those cohort of folks who sometimes, maybe they do hear what you're saying, but it's not something they process. Or some people take great offense to it. If you're telling them, “Hey, you did something wrong.” Oh, boy.
[00:08:46] AC: How dare you tell a white man he did something wrong. The nerve.
[00:08:51] O: Exactly. That's what a lot of it boils down to, is unfortunately, I know for me, the thing that I love about a code of conduct is I can very easily point to this document and say, “These rules were explicitly outlined and you agreed to them, and you did not follow them.” There's not much conversation to be had there, to explain upfront. I believe in second chances for people, but people have to want to try. It's the same thing with participating in a community and learning. You have to want to learn. You're not just going to come in and just participate and just magically absorb knowledge.
You have to really get in and say, “I want to learn. I want to be better at whatever it is I'm doing. Maybe it's not just some technical thing, but maybe I want to get better as a person. I want to get better at communicating as part of this community.” As long as you have that attitude, you're probably going to be all right. You're going to learn about these things. You're going to see other situations that happen that you're not a part of, and you'll learn from those situations and say, “Wow, I'm never going to do that, because that's terrible.” That's the mentality that you have to have, and not everyone has that mentality.
[00:09:58] T: I think, it's also okay to say that you don't always have to be alerting. Just, if you're not learning, don't violate the code of conduct. For me personally, I often find it comforting to know what the rules, or expectations are in advance. I'm sure, there are a lot of people that maybe are not going to be able to pick up on social cues if they do exist. A code of conduct, or something like that can also be really helpful for those types of situations. I had another thought there, but now it's completely gone.
[00:10:29] AR: Well, and then also, to go along with the code of conduct, or as part of the code of conduct, you also have to specify what action – If there is a violation, what are the actions that are taken, right? It's nice to have a list of rules, but if there's also not a list of like, “Hey, if you violate one of these, here's how we're going to handle that.” Like, “First, we'll talk to you and then we'll do this.” You need to also have that in place. Because if you don't, then it's nice that you have this list of rules, but it can be wielded in weird and terrible ways if somebody wants to use them that way. Making it clear that you're the people who are handling this, and here's how it will be handled, and is also really important to go along with that.
[00:11:14] T: Yeah. It's also okay to include a clause, like we can also remove you for reasons that are not listed in the code of conduct. The thing I was going to say earlier, which ties into what you were saying is it's also really important that the rules are very clear and specific. Because otherwise, that can lead to really uneven, well, more instances of uneven application of the code of conduct. A popular one in many art communities is no politics. You talk about politics, you might get banned.
Because art is political, so what does that mean? If I'm talking about trying to grapple with some recent racist debacle in a piece of art, is that talking about politics? Or are we using some definition where it's like, if it involves politicians? Everyone comes with a different background, so it's important to try to be explicit about what you mean, and maybe give examples.
[00:12:03] AC: I know. I personally was involved in writing the code of conduct for a community. We did struggle a bit with clearly defining the steps that would be taken in the event of a violation of the code of conduct, partly because behavior is a spectrum, especially bad behavior and trying to explicitly address that spectrum in making rules about what will happen is difficult, because if we say, “Okay, your first offense, blah, blah, blah.” If your first offense is really egregious, I want you gone immediately.
If your first offense is, like let's just use the example of sexual harassment. If it's a situation where someone is hitting on you, and you are not into that at all, that sucks, but that is very different than sending someone say, a dick pic off the bat. If you're sending a dick pic to someone in a predominantly female community, you're not welcome there, period. I'm sorry.
[00:13:09] T: I mean, if you're sending an unsolicited dick pic anywhere, let's say that you're probably not welcome there. 99.9999% of the time.
[00:13:18] AC: Instance, I would imagine that our listenership is majority male. If any of you have done that, stop. Just don't do it. I’m going to throw that right out there. Stop listening if you continue to do that. You're not welcome here.
[00:13:29] T: I guess, this would be a really bad time to make an @gloomylumi joke.
[00:13:32] AC: Oh, my God. Please, Tessa. No. No.
[00:13:37] AR: I mean, rules like that are a bit like, the good example of communities doing this. It's a good-bad example is – no, it's a good-good example, is in the 80s with the punk rock scene. If a neo-Nazi, or a skinhead tried to show up to the show, they would beat them and kick them out of the club. They would literally go, “You are not welcome here.” Get out and just be absolutely horrible to them to get them to leave, because they were like, “You are not welcome in this community. We don't want you around.” That was very much part of the punk scene back in the day is my understanding. Yeah. No. Back in my day, right?
[00:14:22] AC: We are not that old, okay?
[00:14:23] AR: No, we're not. We’re really not. Well, I mean real clear.
[00:14:28] T: You missed last episode when Ben was calling us a bunch of youngsters.
[00:14:33] AR: I mean, that's it's one of those things where the punk community at the time had very strong opinions about that. It was a problem that they were dealing with by being very adamant about it. That's an example of – very clear lines of you are not welcome if you are spouting this type of thing.
[00:14:53] T: It sounds like, what you're saying is not beat your fellow community members and be really mean to them, but draw really clear boundaries about what behavior is not welcome, because in the effort to be inclusive to everyone, you will end up within an inclusive and discriminatory community.
[00:15:10] AR: Correct. Yeah. I mean, only beat up your fellow Vue community members, if you're also forming a fight club at the same time, which we don't talk about.
[00:15:17] AC: I think, another really good example is when I had a Twitch channel that was active in whatever the profile area. I very clearly stated that –
[00:15:29] T: Oh, were you like a pro gamer, or something?
[00:15:31] AC: Something like that. It was very clearly stated that if you mention the band Nickelback, you would get a soft ban. If you mentioned them again, hard ban.
[00:15:41] T: This is a great example.
[00:15:43] AC: I set really clear boundaries, and people loved to just disrespect them. No, that is a partly true story. The one that really, if you said MILF, if you called me a MILF, especially since I have no children, that was a hard ban off the bat.
[00:16:01] T: I like, have a Nickelback, one was partially true. It actually wasn't Nickelback, it was Coldplay or something. You actually like Nickelback.
[00:16:07] AC: I'm not sure if the Nickelback one was explicitly the rules. I can't remember at this point. Yes, you were put on timeout if you said Nickelback. Of course, it was one of those that was mostly a joke. Even my own moderators would do it from time to time.
[00:16:22] T: I think, that's one of the hard things about tech communities is that they're inherently, at least, semi-professional. A lot of people also have friends at work and/or community friends. The way that you behave amongst your friends might not necessarily be a circle and the Venn diagram with the way that you behave in the community. For example, maybe amongst your friends, jokes that involve sexual innuendos are okay. Then, maybe they're not okay in your community. I would say, most communities from my observation, but I'm sure there's somewhere that's fine. That's another place that understanding the rules are really important. Also, stating these things, if you observe that it's a problem, updating your rules for people who maybe can't or won't read the room is also important.
[00:17:07] AC: Now, I'm curious what everyone's thoughts on this is. Do you think that there are certain styles of code of conduct that actually produce an unhealthy community?
[00:17:23] T: No – rule. I hate that one. That's my least favorite.
[00:17:26] O: Yeah. I was going to say the exact same.
[00:17:28] T: The villains had one is also not good, but yeah.
[00:17:31] AR: There was actually, I think today, there was an amendment to the Ruby code of conduct, I think, that stemmed from some form of sexist joke on the mailing list. People started defending it. They amended their code of conduct on GitHub and said, because there was some paragraph where it was like, “Try not to piss people off.” They amended it and they said, and they changed that completely, so that it was much clearer what they meant.
[00:18:08] T: Yeah. I'm not a fan of try not to piss people off, because that could easily be like “Hey, this guy was making a lot of really misogynistic comments in his talk and I felt unsafe.” They're like, “Wow. Now I feel upset.”
[00:18:22] O: Yeah. I mean, overall, the big problem that we see with those, it's like, yeah, it's just that the rules are not clearly defined. It's just open to complete interpretation on, maybe I don't think I'm being an –. That's just all me. That's just how I am. Or, I can get away with whatever I want, as long as I say that I'm not being an – about it. It's just like, yeah, you just took it that way. It's like, yeah.
[00:18:48] T: Sorry, if I offended you.
[00:18:49] O: Yeah. Sorry, if I offended you, but –
[00:18:51] AC: Sorry, not sorry.
[00:18:55] T: We should title this episode, the one where we cancel Oscar.
[00:19:01] O: Oh, man. Yeah. I mean, that's always going to be the case. You just have to be super-duper clear about it. At that point, too, it's up to you as a community leader to be able to clearly define exactly what that is. Ari, like you're saying, it's really hard. It's really, really hard to come up with this. To figure out, “Hey. Well, actually, how do I succinctly define everything in the world that I don't want to allow in my community? How can I make it also short enough that folks are actually going to read it?” Because ultimately, I want people to read my code of conduct. I want you to understand what I expect from you when you participate in my community. It's really hard.
Actually, I was actually just wondering this. I wonder if there are services out there that can help you – Obviously, you can do things, like grab existing codes of conduct, but are there people you can get that you can pay to help you write your code of conduct in great ways? I imagine there are. It's definitely something that I want to take a look at.
[00:20:04] T: I mean, I feel like I just saw a dangerous nerds night twinkle in Alex's eye, but it could just be the sun. Yeah. I think one of the problems with something the no – rule is this whole idea of identity versus behavior. I think that something that really drives people to not want to learn and change and respond in a constructive and non-defensive way to the code of conduct, because it's essentially attacking their identity. It's like, you're a bad person. No, I'm not a bad person. Therefore, what I did must not be wrong.
I think that that is also a tricky area to navigate, especially as long as we're talking about tech communities on tech Twitter, or maybe Twitter in general. I'm increasingly ambivalent about the Recurse Center Community Guidelines, or whatever they're called. One thing that I do like about them is that they do give specific examples of times that somebody might bring up a concern with a specific action that somebody took, and talking about how you might respond to that in a constructive way, and how to not take it as an attack on your entire being. I think, that's something that is important to remind people of and to be reminded of.
I also think that sometimes, you just can't predict a – and maybe you don't need to amend your code of conduct for things, like I heard about an incident that I was not present at. Where, it was at a location that has microphones that are embedded inside pillows, so they're fairly soft. There was a Q&A period, and someone on the stage pelted a pillow at an audience member’s head, and they did not like it at all, which I think was extremely understandable.
Also, maybe from the speaker's point of view, they were just trying to be playful, and it was an accident. My impression was that the read of that specific room was quite different. Speaking out of context, you might have situations like that, where nobody really expected things to happen. Maybe the most advisable thing to do is for the speaker to apologize, and everybody just moves past it. I don't think that necessarily, a don't-throw-pillow-microphones-at-people rule needs to specifically be added to the code of conduct, unless it becomes a recurring problem.
[00:22:24] AC: Yeah, if you add that to a code of conduct, you're literally just inviting people to ask about what prompted that. Then it just never ends, having to retell the story, which doesn't help the person who was upset by it.
[00:22:40] T: Yeah. I can't throw a pillow microphone. Can I just throw a pillow that's not a microphone? What about a t-shirt? Now I'm thinking about the – subreddit. There's such a spectrum of human behavior that you'll never be able to account for.
[00:22:55] AR: Well, I guess that ties into your comment earlier, Tessa, two of the things not specified by the code of conduct, we can admonish you, punish you, kick you out for. because there are things where it's like, yeah, it may not be said in this code of conduct, but if it's a thing, then if you hurt somebody, it doesn't matter what you were doing. It needs to be addressed.
[00:23:22] T: Yeah. I mean, speaking of addressing things, I thankfully have not been in a situation where I've personally had to oversee this yet. One piece of advice that I see recommended regularly is, if you're in a position where you have to enforce a code of conduct, let's say one person harass another person somehow, don't feel there is an obligation to facilitate some reconciliation between the two people.
Not everybody has to like and get along with everybody else, even though everybody has to like and get along with me, because that's the law. If two people don't get along, but they are leaving each other alone, then sometimes that's good enough. Definitely, don't tell the victim to assume good intent.
[00:24:06] O: Yeah, for sure. I was going to say, I just think that that's absolutely excellent advice. Because I think so often, when there's an incident, or something happens, we feel that we have to do absolutely everything in our power to resolve it to protect the community. Sometimes that might involve, yes, trying to be a part of the process of, “Oh, you to have to make up.” Yeah, I think you're exactly right. I think, there's going to be a ton of situations where especially as a victim, it's like, “Sorry, but I don't want to make up with you. I don't forgive you for it. I have no obligation to forgive you for what you did. I don't want to make up with you.”
As long as appropriate actions have been taken, it's like, yeah. We can coexist. You go be in your corner. I'll be in my corner and we'll be perfectly okay. I mean, yeah. That definitely can be good enough. Of course, that doesn't mean that we're not going to make sure that everything stays okay. We're going to make sure that people are appropriately staying in their corners. We're not going to allow any bad behavior to continue. We're not spreading it to more corners.
[00:25:13] AC: Speaking of spreading it, I know that sometimes when you do enforce the code of conduct, you also have to figure out how to balance the transparency of what was done, what the repercussions were, etc. Because sometimes people will think that something happened in a silo, and they'll victim blame. Not that I've ever had that problem, or anything in the Vue community specifically.
[00:25:41] T: That doesn't sound like sarcasm.
[00:25:46] AC: I did have a situation in the Vue community, where due to an interaction with someone, they were asked to step down from the Vue core team. A lot of people decided to pile on to me for that. It got to the point that I asked if somebody could make an actual statement regarding it, so that a little more context was given behind it, and people would maybe lay off. Yeah, it's a hard line to tell, I understand. Because, obviously, you want to respect someone's privacy. But when it starts to affect the person who was not doing the wrong thing –
[00:26:25] O: Yeah. I have a question for you. In your opinion, after you ask for the statement to be put out, did you feel that people did actually lay off after that? Or, was it more or less the same?
[00:26:37] AC: I felt like, people laid off more. I mean, yes, of course, there were still those people who are just going to have their opinion no matter what.
[00:26:46] O: Yeah, of course.
[00:26:47] AC: I think that, because yeah, in this particular instance, it was not the first time that this person had made statements that were unbecoming of the community. It's not the first time that they had made people in the community feel uncomfortable. The vast majority of the community didn't have that context, so they just saw that, oh, it was this one thing they said. They made one mistake and they were punished for this one thing, but that wasn't the picture – the reality of it. I think, once people understood that it wasn't just because, “Oh, I complained about this one thing,” that they understood it was a pattern of behavior, then people were – it makes it a whole lot harder to defend that.
[00:27:30] O: Yeah, it's definitely interesting. Because I believe I remember the situation that you're talking about, and I remember my perspective on it. I remember seeing like, hey, this person has been removed from the community. I remember, initially seeing that and going like, “What?” Saying, what's up with that? Then I do remember there being a statement afterwards. I was like, “Oh. Well, yeah. Now that I know, I'm perfectly fine with this. I'm glad that action was taken.”
From my perspective, it looked like, “Oh, hey. There was a problem. This was actually addressed pretty well. Nothing was really exposed. Enough information was given that I felt at ease with what was going on.” I guess, from a community person's perspective, who I didn't see it all play out at the same time. At the end, I was like, “Oh. Well, I'm glad that something was said.” I have to say, thank you for making sure that it was communicated to everyone appropriately.
Then, I think you're exactly right. It's going to be a hard line to tow in terms of how you actually communicate these things to the community. Because, yeah, the community should know, especially if they feel there's someone in the community that they like and enjoy. Right to privacy is obviously important to a certain extent, in my opinion. Beyond that, yeah, you do want the community to also see like, “Hey, yeah. We do take our code of conduct very seriously. We're going to act on it. We're going to make sure that we're protecting the community and that we're upholding the community that we want to have.” I think, that's leading by example. Just like, hey, yeah. You do something like this, this is going to happen to you, too. Maybe everyone in the community really likes you. Yeah, if you're going to be that way, sorry, but you can't participate in our community.
[00:29:09] T: I also found that to be an unfortunately interesting incident, and that from my perspective, I observed the backlash starting before any action was taken. When I saw this uneven, invalidating response fomenting, I alerted several of the Vue community members, “Hey, I think this thing is happening that you're going to have to handle.”
If I'm remembering correctly, I feel like, Evan might have been the first to respond. Up until that point, I think the Vue team hadn't had to make any kinds of public statements on community issues before. That certainly did not – It was, in my opinion, the right step to have taken to take swift action and make a clear statement. I think that the community also was not really prepped in a way to know how to respond beyond perhaps what their initial instincts would have been, because it wasn't a conversation that we as a community had had before.
[00:30:13] O: Which, as a quick aside there, I think one of the really important takeaways from that is, yeah, if you see something, say something. If you see something going on in the community, even if you're unsure. Maybe you're not sure, like, “Hey, is this a violation? Is this not great?” Reporting it to community leaders is an excellent step. Because, yeah, it's not always easy for folks to come forward with things like this.
Especially, I know, and the way I've been really happy, which I'm not particularly shy. If I see something, I'm going to say like, “Oh, hey. I don't think that this was okay. That's up to y'all if you all want to decide that that is okay or not. But to me, it's not okay, and I'd like to see something done about this personally.” Yeah. I mean, just reporting to people early and often, I think is the best way. Just let people know, so that way, the sooner people get in front of things, the sooner they can have a response to it. You can help maybe prevent some of the community backlash of saying like, “Oh, what's going on here?” If you can get out ahead of it, I think that's definitely the way to go.
[00:31:14] AC: It was unfolding very publicly in real time.
[00:31:18] AR: Also, it's one of those things where the response to how you respond to an event like this in the community really varies, based on what the infraction is, right? The Vue community encompasses the Vueland Discord as well. You don't see the Vue.js Twitter account going like, “We banned another spammer today in the Discord.” The person who reports the spammer, the Discord people go and they go, “Oh, yeah. Hey, we took care of it.”
Sometimes it's just getting back to the person who reported the thing and saying, “Hey, we took care of it,” and that's enough. When you get into cases like this, it's not just the person who reported it that you need to say, “Hey, we took care of this.” You need to make a statement saying, “Hey, this thing happened. We are now rectifying it.” That is a thing that you have to do. I think that knowing what – This ties back into, what are the steps that have to be taken when somebody reports something? What are the steps that you need to do? You need to be aware of what's happening in your community in order to be able to moderate it.
[00:32:32] T: Yeah. It's like the classic example of, let's say that Ari was in a meeting. Every time she tried to speak, Chad talked over her and stole all her ideas. Then afterwards, Alex just spoke privately to Ari, and was like, “Oh, I can't believe that Chad kept on speaking over you like that.” But he didn't say anything in the meeting, or to Chad, or anything like that. Then the only person that people see that's on the line and speaking up about this is Ari. If you don't make it clear that this is a community value, then people – there are people who will see it as somebody stirring the pot and trying to cause a problem, rather than somebody trying to enforce and protect community values and well-being.
Even with Vueland, which it came up, I mean, we talked towards the beginning of the episode about responses to stupid questions. I have knowingly, and lampshadingly asked many stupid questions on the Vueland Discord like, “Hey, I want to do this really bad idea, but it's for a talk. It’s a deliberately bad idea for a talk. I'm stuck on this bug, and I can't figure it out, and I need to do this specific idea. Because again, it's a toy example for a talk. How can I resolve this bug?” I will not get an answer on how to resolve the bug. This response is certainly not unique to the Vue community. I will get a lot of replies being like, “Oh, that's really unoptimal.” Or, “That's a really bad idea. Why would you design it that way? You should do this other thing instead. I can't believe that you would do this specific thing.”
I'm like, again, it's a deliberately bad idea for a talk. Nobody wants to help me, because they're so offended and so concerned about my bad idea, and that I'm going to create this not perfect Vue application. That can be a really frustrating and off-putting experience.
[00:34:22] AR: I've actually had similar experiences in the Vueland Discord, where I've seen other people going, “Hey, I'm trying to sprinkle Vue in on a page. How do I do this thing?” The answer is, “Well, you really need a build process in order to be able to do that. You need to use single-file components.” I'm the person who speaks up and goes like, “You don't. Here's how you do that.”
[00:34:46] T: I mean, you are the king purveyor of bad ideas. That's why we met.
[00:34:53] AR: I am the king purveyor of that. I've been in that situation where it's like, I can't do a build process. What do I do? Sometimes there are constraints where yeah, there's a perfect world where everybody has a perfect build step. We all start with the Vue CLI, and we make a app. It's just a single-page application. Great. Done. Tada. It's like, yeah, but the real world doesn't always work like that. Sometimes you're going to do some weird things. People are going to ask questions about how to do weird things. Sometimes, you need to be able to answer that and not just go, “Well, actually, you should do it the right way.”
[00:35:31] T: Even on our own show, I asked a question at some point about testing or something, like what if you have a bunch of nested stores? The discussion veered into like, well, that's a really suboptimal design for your store. Don't do that. I'm like, okay. If I'm at the bottom of the hierarchy and have no power, well, what do you want me to do with that?
[00:35:52] AC: I will say, in my experience in the Vue community, yeah, I don't really ever go to the Vueland Discord. I will say, I've had generally pretty decent experiences in the Vue forums. I think, maybe part of that, simply the nature of that type of communication, where you're having to put a little more thought into it before hitting send, because you're having to give a more complete response. It is also, I think, better moderated.
[00:36:23] T: Sorry. I thought the Vue forums was just Thorsten’s blog? Because literally, anytime I look at something, and if you form result, it’s just Thorsten giving some really long and really thorough response.
[00:36:36] AC: It's not always Thorsten, but yes.
[00:36:38] AR: Yeah, the number of times that I've –
[00:36:39] AC: Often is.
[00:36:39] AR: Yeah. He's always there.
[00:36:42] T: I know, there's a lot of initiatives to create more of an inclusive space. I think, there's new channels and things that Jess and some others are spearheading. I just haven't gone back, because I think, partially because of my experiences, partially because I don't currently have any big Vue things that I need help with. Partially, because I just really find the Discord UI very interestingly designed. I think, going back to responding to reports, it sometimes can feel challenging to strike a balance between trying to make sure that your wording is perfect, which I can completely understand, because everything that I say is written down in advance, and I have a whole little flowchart of which responses I'm going to say in this episode so I can get it right the first time. Just kidding.
[00:37:38] AR: She’s not. She has a whole flowchart behind her that y'all can't see right now. It's really impressive.
[00:37:44] T: Alex, you’re not supposed to tell them that. Yeah, sometimes you have to balance out having time to get the perfect message, versus taking care of something in a timely fashion. We've all been there when a company has a huge misstep. Then there's a month of silence, and then they'll put out a black square, or something, and you’re like, this is not –
[00:38:04] AC: What? That didn't make up for it?
[00:38:06] T: An effective response.
[00:38:09] AR: Also, you do need to give organizations a little bit of time sometimes to respond to things. There are people who I know, I've harped on companies where it's like, they pushed something to production on Friday, it broke everything. They had it fixed by midday Saturday, but then they didn't put out a message until Monday about it. It's like, yeah, because it's the weekend.
[00:38:32] T: I mean, I think they should also let the fix wait till Monday, but –
[00:38:36] AR: Right. It's one of those where it's like, I think that there is a balance that can be struck there, where it's like, you do need to acknowledge it fast. Where you say, “Hey, we are aware of this, and we're working on it right.” Be able to acknowledge it. You don't necessarily need to give the official, “Oops.” Business message of like, “Oops. We didn't know we were being terrible people. Sorry.” You don't have to give it within 24 hours.
[00:39:08] T: Now, I'm just thinking about the Amazon dogs page, when they can't find the product you're looking for. I wonder if it is important in those instances, though, to also put out some reminder like, “Oh, we are dealing with this incident. Remember, our community believes da, da, da. We do not condone certain kinds of behavior, or whatever.”
[00:39:33] AR: It's good. I'm not expecting you to have a full post mortem write-up within an hour of something happening. That shows me that you actually don't care, because you're copying and pasting out of a form letter for whatever the thing is, which means that you're dealing with this a lot.
[00:39:51] T: I mean, we all know that some people in the Vue team have a time turner, so maybe that's not completely fair.
[00:39:57] AR: As a community for sure. You need to very quickly publicly acknowledge if something is going wrong, and decrease whatever issue is happening.
[00:40:09] AC: One trend that I've been seeing lately that falls into a gray area, I think, is when, let's say, leaders of your community are tweeting things that maybe aren't super inclusive. I don't necessarily know how other leaders of the community are supposed to handle that. Because it's subtle. When you're like, if someone on your, for example, core team is tweeting something saying, “If you do this, you're stupid, or I guess, maybe you're wrong.” I don't think that that helps build an inclusive community, but also, it's a tweet on their own account.
[00:40:53] AR: I don't know what you're talking about. The Linux community does that all the time. They're perfectly fine. They're not toxic at all.
[00:40:59] AC: So healthy. Oh, man. Linux kernel developers.
[00:41:04] T: Also, Alex already apologized profusely for posting all those cat pics to Enjoy the Vue Cats. I mean, let it go.
[00:41:10] AR: I mean, that was the whole thing with the Linux community, was that they introduced their code of conduct. There was a whole series of events that happen there, where for years, years and years and years, Linus Torvalds was super abusive in emails. If somebody submitted something that he didn't like, he would just lay into them in an email, on the mailing list. It was very public that how toxic and abusive Linus Torvalds is. In his mind, he was just wanting the code to be good. That was what he was doing in his mind. He's just being a – person doing it.
The language that he was used, and that he would use to talk about these sorts of things was very much in-line with some other groups of people who are not viewed in a very positive light. The New Yorker, I think, was working on an article, basically writing about this and going like, “This is why women don't want to be involved with the Linux community.” Just all of these things. They got him in an interview and they were like, “So what about this incident? What about this incident?” He was like, “Oh, this is bad.” He stepped down. He stepped down for several months and was like, “I'm going to go get some help with this, and deal with this, and figure out a better way to do this thing.”
He stepped back for six months. I haven't heard of as many explosive, bad emails from him as of late. He realized like, “Oh, people are associating me with these groups that I absolutely disagree with. I 100% disagree with.” He was like, “This is going to be a problem. I need to step down for a while.” He did. After that, they actually started introducing contributor code of conducts for the Linux kernel, because of that incident. Now, should that have happened sooner? Yes. There is an instance of a benevolent dictator for life.
[00:43:37] T: Benevolent sounds not benevolent.
[00:43:39] AR: That's true. Dictator for life called out on their behavior, and taking a step back in order to figure out what needs to happen.
[00:43:52] AC: How many years too late was that? Because I mean, that was literally years.
[00:43:57] AR: I mean, it was about, how old is Linux? Linux is the – It was probably about that many too years too late.
[00:44:03] T: I mean, he literally named his version control after
[00:44:05] AR: Yeah.
[00:44:06] T: My understanding is that community did not want him to return so soon. I feel like, I'm ambivalent about that. I do think people should be allowed to redeem themselves. At the same time, there is often too much of a focus on the redemption of the perpetrator, rather than making the victim feel welcome and included and safe.
[00:44:30] AC: I think, we also need to look at the fact that he did not operate in a vacuum, that there's very much a culture amongst kernel developers. I feel qualified to comment on this, considering I used to work with a lot of them. That culture ends up permeating further than just that community over.
[00:44:50] T: Yeah. I'm sure, not knowing the specifics of the Torvalds situation, that we can all think of at least one, if not more high-profile examples of – I don't like this word, but for lack of a better term, thought leaders in the tech community, who behaved in similar ways. When confronted with similar concerns, just said, “No, you're wrong. I'm not one of those people who are not behaving in that way,” and then continued on not changing their behavior, and having lots of supporters.
[00:45:22] O: Yeah. Overall, I think those situations are tough, because obviously, you want to communicate to the leaders. Like, “Hey, this isn't inclusive, or this isn't quite right. Or this is violating your own code of conduct that you apparently believe in.” It's tough, how do you get through to those people? Obviously, in the line of situations, it’s yeah, that was very public. It's like, can you do it privately? Is it possible?
Because I know for me, with my team, I would want my team to get together and come to me and say, “Hey, what you did there is not great.” I understand when that happens, everyone's going to have that immediate reaction of, “Oh, I'm being attacked,” or whatever. For me, I know, it's like, okay, yeah. I want to take that information, step back for a minute, go think about it, and figure out like, “Hey, yeah. Obviously, if they had the courage to come to me with this, it probably is something I should probably think about and figure out,” and take it from there.
I don't know how other people, or other community leaders are going to feel about that, whether they're open to receiving that feedback. I mean, I think for me, it's a matter of I want to constantly learn and get better, because I understand, yeah, we're not all perfect. I'm going to make mistakes. Everyone's going to make mistakes. The way that we move forward is through learning, and having folks bring these things to our attention. I definitely hope leaders are open to their communities and their teams coming in and letting them know when they mess up and holding them accountable. BDFL situations is obviously very, very difficult.
[00:47:01] T: Yeah. It's funny, because when you said, “I'm being attacked,” my mind immediately went to the equivalent Twitter typical reply, which is, “I'm in this picture, and I don't like it.” Then I started to wonder seriously, if that was our initial response instead of the other like, “I'm being attacked.” I wonder if that would help us take these kinds of concerns less defensively, because it's not that we don't like being attacked. It’s that we don't like being in that picture. We don't like our behavior in that situation. That might help refocus our minds and our emotions on the issue, rather than the attacking feeling, but I don't know. Just something I thought of now.
[00:47:40] O: Yeah. I actually think that's really interesting. Because yeah, you're exactly right. Because it's like, someone's coming to you and telling you, “Hey, you're being like those people.”
[00:47:51] T: Oh, no. Not those people.
[00:47:52] O: Exactly. It's like, “Oh, no. Not those. I'm not one of those.” Your initial reaction to that might be like, “No, you're wrong. How dare you say I am one of those.” I'm just now, just thinking of Spongebob holding up all the different photos and pointing out all the different ways that you are this way.
[00:48:13] T: I'm thinking of sneetches.
[00:48:17] O: I think, yeah. You're, you're exactly right about that. If we can just take it as, yeah, hey, you're being like these people. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, then we would be a lot better.
[00:48:30] T: And those around you.
[00:48:31] O: And those around you.
[00:48:32] T: You got to wreck yourself before you can wreck others.
[00:48:35] AC: I think a lot of times, yeah, we phrase things as building a community. I think a lot of people then forget to maintain the community.
[00:48:43] O: Absolutely.
[00:48:44] T: I mean, that's the boring part where everybody complains to you non-stop, and you have too much work to do, and you're not getting any support, or recognition, and you're burning out.
[00:48:52] AC: Wow, Tessa. That felt personal.
[00:48:57] T: I was actually thinking of our open-source maintainer episodes, which I have not had experience maintaining open-source projects. Going back to your initial thought, Ari, I feel like, it's hard when you have a lot of followers, because I think especially on Twitter, and these other online spaces, a lot of people like to operate along these heuristics, or rules of behavior. I'm going to name a few as examples, just so we all understand what I'm talking about, and not as a criticism, or denigration of any of these ideas. For example, believe women. Put the victim first, or focus on the most marginalized.
Even with that one, it's like, how do you know who is the most marginalized? If somebody with a 1,000 followers, who is a person of color is in an argument with somebody else who has 800 followers who is a woman in tech. How do we bounce these things? I think, when we're just trying to make and follow a rigid set of rules and apply those and use these to shut down any constructive discussion, which admittedly is hard to have, especially because I don't think this is a skill that we're taught in school or at home. Generally speaking, I could go on a whole rant about this.
We're not equipped to have these conversations. It can be harder in text conversations. I don't know that there's really a good answer, because I certainly understand that if you are in a position of power, and/or if you can potentially deliberately, or accidentally mobilize a large group of people, that comes with certain restrictions, as Uncle Ben would say. At the same time, those people are also humans, and they maybe have real issues and concerns that would also need to be addressed.
We haven't wanted to come up with new models for how to think about and participate in social media, as opposed to physical conversations, which are very limited by at minimum, space. That makes it hard to find new ways of dealing with these kinds of situations.
Overall, I would say, of all the communities I've been a part of, or help steward, I've been the most involved in the Vue community. I think, we're all talking about these problems, because it's a community that we appreciate and are a part of, and want to help continue to grow. Yeah, I've had a lot of good experiences and met a lot of interesting and kind. Those are both spectrums, people in the community. I am ambivalent about some things, but overall, glad to be a part of it. Also, we have puns.
[00:51:54] AC: All right. I think that was extremely well said. Yeah. I think, that the reason we have this conversation is because we all care. Just keep that in mind, everyone, before you start hating us too much for this episode. Thanks.
[00:52:06] T: If you want to, you know I'm kidding.
[00:52:09] AC: Yes. If you want to direct any hate, @gloomylumi, please feel free. I will just ignore you. If it helps you feel better to get it out of your system, ho ahead. It'll just go in my unread box. Anyway, with that, with all of our love for the Vue community, let's move on to picks. Oscar, would you like to go first?
[00:52:33] O: Sure. I will go first. My pick for this week is Squid Game from Netflix. It's an absolutely awesome K-drama. I highly recommend. It's essentially about a group of people down on their luck, competing in childhood games to earn money. That's as much as I –
[00:52:56] T: Wait. It’s about us.
[00:52:59] O: Not quite.
[00:53:01] AC: Based on the trailer, Tessa. No. No. I do not want to be associated with that.
[00:53:07] O: Yeah. No. No. No, you don't. I would say, the storytelling is absolutely fantastic. I just highly recommend it. I can't recommend it enough. It's the thing that I saw most recently that was just really, really well done. I saw in one of those captivate elevators, that Squid Game is on pace to be a record holder for a foreign show, as being as popular as it is on US Netflix, which is awesome.
[00:53:34] T: Wow. Awesome.
[00:53:36] O: Definitely go check it out. It's truly amazing.
[00:53:39] AC: Okay, I have a question about it.
[00:53:40] O: Sure.
[00:53:40] AC: If you're someone who's say, squeamish, would you still recommend it? Say, someone who is easily haunted by images?
[00:53:50] O: Got you.
[00:53:51] AC: That's my one hesitation.
[00:53:53] O: Yeah. No, I definitely hear that. I think, watching the first episode, I was like, “Huh, I don't know that I would watch this show.” After that, yeah, there is a little bit of – very, very small amount. I think, it's manageable, because the storytelling is so good. Just don't let the first episode scare you too much, is what I would say.
[00:54:20] T: I do feel like, that's a pattern I've noticed with horror, light K-dramas. Not that I've seen that many, but I feel they really try to make a big impact on the first episode and then they lighten up a lot from the second on. Yeah.
[00:54:31] O: Yeah, definitely.
[00:54:32] T: A couple weeks ago, Netflix messaged me like, “Hey, Squid Game is on Netflix.” I was like, “Great. I have no idea what this is.” I wasn't waiting months for it. What? Then Kyle Shuck tweeted triangle, square, circle, or something. Someone was like, “Squid Game.” I was like, “What is happening?”
[00:54:48] O: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
[00:54:50] T: They’re like that. “Mm, I know exactly what that means.” I'm like, “Good for you.”
[00:54:55] AC: Well, Tessa. Would you like to go next?
[00:54:58] T: Sure. I also have a K-drama recommendation, because of what we talked about today. It's a show called Hello My 20s. There's a season one and season two. Just like in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, there is an actor change between season one and season two. Unlike Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I found it so distracting that I just never got over it. Warning there. It was recommended to me by a co-worker that likes Korean dramas. They personally found it comforting. I did not, because I was just – It's one of those shows where I'm watching and I’m like, “Why did they behave that way?”
For example, somebody ate all of somebody else's mom's homemade jam without asking them. Then the person was like, “You eat all my jam.” She was like, “You said I could try it.” I was like, “Why would you do that? I just don't understand.” It's a show that has a lot of themes around who is in your home – What's the word I'm looking for? Found family group. Who do you choose to let in? Who do you choose to let out? What are the consequences of not keeping those boundaries and not watching out for your own well-being, because you want to feel cool, or you want to feel laid back, or something else?
I think, that if you're interested in the things we talked about in this show, you might find it interesting. I mean, yeah, in this show, you might find it interesting to watch that show. I was like, this is not a show. I was like, yes, it is a show.
My other pick is this thing called a reverse pillow. I think it's pronounced, Lev. It's a weighted pillow that you put over your eyes when you go to sleep. I assigned it to a friend of mine, and she thought it was the top and bottom pillows were one thing. You just stick your head in this pocket. It's not that. It's just a pillow that lays over your eyes, which is often how I like to sleep, because my room is usually bright, because my neighbors have a light that stays on all night.
Sometimes I find that pressure comforting. I've read that it might be helpful for people who have migraines. Yeah. I feel like, sleeping with a pillow over your eyes, also is recommended to not sleep with this stuff – with things covering your nose, because that can apparently affect both your mental capacity and your quality of sleep. Then maybe, check out the live pillow and after I've used it for a few months, I'll update with them why it was great, or not great. We'll see.
[00:57:17] AR: That looks like something I have a smaller version of, that I use specifically for headaches. That is fascinating. I might have to get one.
[00:57:25] AC: Well, you're up next, Alex.
[00:57:28] AR: All right. Well, so this past week, I got a new phone. I am now the proud owner and total shill for the Pixel 5a. I upgraded from Pixel 3a. It's quite the noticeable jump for me. Much better cameras, much better battery life, better processor.
[00:57:53] T: Better speaker.
[00:57:54] AR: Yeah. My speaker works again. I actually have ring tones again. It's amazing. The speakers on my Pixel 3a had died a couple years ago now, I guess, really. Because it died before the pandemic started. Yeah, I've been running with no ring tones for quite a while now. I'm happy to report, I have ringtones again. I am also unhappy to report that I'm now getting Slack notifications all the time.
[00:58:23] T: Banana phone.
[00:58:24] AR: Yeah, trade-offs. I'm happy to have the Pixel 5a. If you have a Pixel 3a like I did, I can highly recommend, now's a good time to upgrade.
[00:58:36] T: Very specific. Wait, you changed your Slack sound though, right? What did you change it to?
[00:58:41] AR: I did change my Slack. Now I got to open enough Slack.
[00:58:45] T: He felt too basic after we talked about it, Ari.
[00:58:47] AR: I did. We talked about this in a previous episode. I ended up feeling super basic about my Slack noise, so I changed my slack noise. My Slack noise is now – I think, it's the doodle-doodle-doo, or something like that. It's some sort of obnoxious.
[00:59:03] AC: Too long. Too long.
[00:59:05] AR: It's probably going to get changed a few more times.
[00:59:08] T: I hope people can take that clip and assign it to a custom ringtone on all their work Slacks.
[00:59:14] AR: Here, I'll make a clean edit for y'all. Hold on. Doodle-doodle-doo. There you go. Alex special for your phone.
[00:59:25] T: Oh, we got to save that for our Patreon subscribers.
[00:59:31] AC: Hey, I guess that means it's my turn. This week, I'm going to pick a show on Netflix. Oh, my God. Shocking. I know. Most of you have probably watched this already, because it's been super popular. Sex Education is really good. It is raunchy. If that bothers you, don't watch it. Also, I feel there's a lot of valuable information for people in there that are bothered by things that are raunchy. Not saying you shouldn't be, but –
[01:00:03] T: Well, I mean, even if you're say, asexual or something, I mean, there's a lot of good story points and stuff that aren't completely revolving around sex, right?
[01:00:12] AC: Yes. Yeah. No, it's really more about finding identity more than anything. Whether that be wherever you happen to fall on the spectrum of sexuality, which I think is something that at least Millennials started to talk about, but I think we could talk about more. If we have to do that through the guise of watching a show about Gen Z, so be it. At least, the conversations might happen. Yeah. I highly recommend it. I'm also extremely liberal and do firmly believe in comprehensive sex education. Take that how you will.
Anyway, that is all for this week's episode. If you aren't following us on Twitter, why aren't you? Please, go do that. You can find us @enjoythevuecast. Or if you like cats, you can also find us @enjoythevuecats. Be sure to subscribe to the show on whatever podcast app you are using. Leave a review, because then people can find us, which makes people happy, because obviously, we make people happy. That's what we're here for, right?
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