There has been a fair bit of discussion in the past in the Fedora community about how to deal with people who are projecting a community that some don’t find welcoming enough or are sending out negative energy (especially to newcomers) or are just creating a community thats not pleasant to be working in. Many of these discussions have talked about things like:

  • more rules to specifically ban or censure the behavior
  • removal of privileged or access for people “blamed” for something.
  • enforcing existing rules in a more rigid manner, banning people, moderating them or removing them from feeds.
  • establishing some kind of community committee to do all of the above

I would like to suggest another (hopefully better) way forward: Respond to negative energy with positive wherever possible.

Some examples:

  • A negative reply to someone on a mailing list: Reply to the orig poster with the positive answer you would have liked to have seen.
  • A poorly phrased, rude or condescending IRC reply to a question: Reply to the orig poster with the better, positive answer you would liked to have seen.
  • A post on the planet feed you find offensive, in poor taste or disagree with: Post your own blog post with a positive reply. How could this have been better? Whats something related that’s good?
  • A bugzilla bug with a rude or curt or bad reply on it. Add a comment with the correct answer phrased in a nice positive way.

Do I think this will solve all issues with negative people? No. But think about it: If someone is unwelcoming to a newcomer and your first reaction is to try and blame or punsh the unwelcoming community member, what is the newcomer to think? How about if you instead focus on being positive and helping the newcomer. I think you’ll find that in the first case the newcomer will leave in disgust that the community is so flamefilled, and in the second they will rightly realize the unwelcoming person is a outlyer and should be ignored.

How about giving it a try today? Instead of flaming, looking for someone to blame for something, or coming up with new rules you just simply lead by positive example?