As the future of Ruby progresses and discussion around Ruby 2.0 increases=
=2C I'd like to take a chance to warn of a potentially troubling trend that=
 could cause damage to our community. Emotion is a large part of open sourc=
e software development=2C yet many do not wish to acknowledge it. Software =
development is quite objective in nature. You put code in and it runs accor=
dingly unless you come across a bug. When compiling code=2C we don't have t=
o consider whether or not gcc is in a good mood or not. However open source=
 software development is not just about software development=2C it's also a=
bout communication within a community. This has the potential to foster pos=
itive intellectual conversations=2C but it also has the potential to lead h=
eated debates. Editor and OS wars are a solid example of this. With this in=
 mind I'd like to bring up a few items that we as the Ruby community (mysel=
f included) need to be careful of.

=3D Approaching Debate =3D

When approaching someone with a point of discussion=2C it's important to co=
nsider your frame of thought going in. There are two main ways discussion c=
an be approached. The first is to prove a point. In this case the objective=
 is to fight for what you believe in to the bitter end=2C and often leads t=
o long winded=2C and in some cases=2C heated arguments. There is also the p=
otential of one sided arguments which in the end lead to nothing more than =
personal attacks.=20

Another approach is that of obtaining an alternative viewpoint. You go in w=
ith the perspective of trying to reach agreement with the opponent's viewpo=
int. I believe this approach is more productive=2C as it will either lead t=
o an agreement=2C or possibly a compromise.=20

=3D Passion =3D

Open source software is often developed with a goal in mind that the develo=
per is very passionate about. This has the benefit of motivating developmen=
t and further progressing the evolution of the software. On the other hand=
=2C passion also has the potential to foster excessive emotion=2C causing t=
hings to appear to have far deeper meaning than they actually have. If you =
find yourself replying to something or posting something in an extremely st=
ate of mind=2C please just walk away from the keyboard and take a break. Co=
me back and state your point when you're able to articulate things in a cal=
m and composed manner.=20

=3D Loaded Words =3D

There is often cases where discussion are laced with borderline passive-agg=
ressive comments or "getting the last word in." These are unnecessary to pr=
oving a point and cloud the logic of the discussion with aggression. The po=
int of a discussion should be to foster ideas and state logic=2C not to att=
ack the other side. Continuation of this just leads to a point to where mea=
ningful discussions no longer occur because those taking part don't want to=
 deal with the baggage that comes with it.

=3D Comparison =3D

I've seen a tendency of different projects to compare themselves to each ot=
her=2C creating a never-ending "my software is better than yours" debate. F=
ocus on improving your software. If it's good=2C people will come. If you a=
ttempt to constantly compare your project to others=2C people will come und=
er the mentality of "Oh this is just another X". Drawing users to a project=
 is a lot about creating identity. Without this identity it is extremely di=
fficult to pull more users in.

The "my software is better than yours" debate also creates an environment o=
f tension between projects. This can lead to a lack of collaboration betwee=
n great minds=2C preventing potentially great ideas from solidifying.=20


I'll leave my points here so as not to create to long a post. My hope is th=
at it will build awareness that open source is more than just software deve=
lopment=2C it's also about community. Destroy the community part and all yo=
u have is code.

- Chris ( @cwgem )
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