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    A well written post. Detailed, clear and a timeline/collection of links as a retrospective. I particularly liked the non-violent communication part at the end, I hadn’t heard of this and it seems like a communication approach that I could use.

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      Thanks! I really want to write more about NVC. I’ve got a draft of some other experiences I’ve had trying to apply it as a mod of /r/ruby but I’m not sure how to get it over the line https://gist.github.com/schneems/0971dee46066439742de800ef38d25b6.

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        This is an absolutely great post. I don’t honestly know what you’re not happy about with it as-is, but I’d be happy to spitball. I’ve tried and failed multiple times to cover NVC in a management context, and, honestly, your post, even if it’s nominally about subreddit moderation, does a good job covering NVC that’d be just as applicable there.

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          The feedback I got from a beta reader was that it felt like perhaps it was two separate posts. One just on NVC and one on the “active moderation” examples with reddit. I agreed. It’s a bit of a jumble as-is. However, when I revisited the topic it was hard to pull the two threads apart. I’m very comfortable talking about technical topics, I’m less comforable with essay-ish writing.

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            I think you did a pretty good job writing it, personally. It’s about how people work, and you explicitly observe how that effects you as a person.

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              I reread it a few times. My unsolicited advice is as follows, and please emphasize the “leave” in “take it or leave it”:

              I think the reason you’re struggling is that some “separate” stories necessarily are actually two intertwined stories. If you were writing fiction, I’d point you to read something about “framing”, which isn’t quite a thing in nonfiction, but which pops up anyway. In this particular case, the reason you’re having trouble separating the blog post is they’re just too tightly intertwined: you’ve got a post on what NVC is, and then examples of how to apply it. That’s what you’re highlighting. But those honestly shouldn’t be separate: you’re showing how to apply what you’ve learned.

              So my two credits: if you’re really bothered by the dual plots, then separate them in flow, but still publish the single blog post. You’d have a section on theory, and a section on practice. You already almost have this; you almost need to just yank the first paragraph of each section out, and make that collection of paragraphs its own section. The rest would then be straight examples, and you’d have a chance to reference back to the overarching points.

              Again, that is very much just my opinion, and you should leave it before you take it, but I said I’d do my best to offer you some thoughts if you wanted, so there they are.

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        Later I got a private message from a Rails Core member (and Basecamp employee) saying that my behavior was not okay and that I shouldn’t go around/over/behind a decision from Rails Core

        So it wasn’t clear what the rules are and you got lectured off-site

        it’s not written down who-owns-what

        And thus which buy-in is required and who you have to ask (further complicating the other points)

        and if that would be a “large” enough project to merit a nomination

        Will my commit access be revoked if I share what’s on my mind

        So it’s sucking up to some arbitrary convention and bosses.

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          This is exactly why I left my last job. First day on the job, I was told I was senior, look for work. Second (or at most maybe third?) day on the job, literally, I was told that I’d stuck in my neck into places it didn’t belong, and to ask first. I then asked where there was an org chart or something so I could know who to ask, and my boss said none existed. So I went into some team chat rooms to ask who owned what, and was then told to stay in my team’s chat room. All of this in the first week or perhaps two, absolute tops.

          Zoom forward six months, and my boss gave me feedback that that I wasn’t showing the kind of initiative they were expecting based on my past. I had just taken paternity leave, so I tried to stick around to “pay them back,” but I ultimately just gave up and left the company for good after barely a year total.

          Anyway, I don’t work there now, but those parts of this blog post you highlighted gave me PTSD flashbacks.

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            <insert bad joke about Schrödinger’s responsibility>.

            “You’re not showing the amount of independent work spirit we had hoped and I’m also micromanaging you 7 out of 8 hours per day. You’re not proactive enough in finding solutions but I also hate every single thing you suggest. You’re just putting lipstick on a pig instead of solving it the correct way but we won’t ever give you time or authority to do anything the correct way”.

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              Edit: I Realized I didn’t acknowledge your post. That sounds awful. I’m glad you got out.

              Your story reminds me of when I was a co-op. One of my buddies’ dad was a journalist for a TV station and he had a huge clothing allowance. The dad was my size and so I got a massive trove of free really high-quality clothes including like 30 ties (top brand names think Brookes Brothers, Burberry, etc.) when he replaced his wardrobe one year.

              I started wearing some of it into my engineering co-op and a full-time engineer cornered me in the hallway and very seriously (but very quietly) told me to “cut it out” and I was “making them look bad” by wearing a tie into work. It wasn’t a playful comment, it was a deadpan, 100% serious “stop this or else” comment.

              That same engineer later in the semester came in to ask if I had billable work (so he could take it from me). Looking back, maybe that wasn’t a very healthy place to work.

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                I have seen versions of your story play out, too. All I can say is, I’m sorry, and I’m glad you’re not there now.

                Great post, incidentally. I wasn’t trying to derail the threads here whatsoever, but the sections I was responding to really did hit a nerve. Maybe on good thing that can come out of this whole kerfuffle is that some of those implicit rules could be codified a bit better.

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                  Maybe on good thing that can come out of this whole kerfuffle is that some of those implicit rules could be codified a bit better.

                  My first instinct when this all went down was “I need to find some way to fix it” and I did consider proposing some “governance.md” or something. Then I got too lost and unsure of myself and basically, I found that I wanted to write all the stuff in my head down to sort it out.

                  I think going forward something like that might help, but I’m also interested to take a step back and hear from others. It’s helpful feedback hearing that this experience I shared is triggering and that clarity might help the situation. I don’t think your comment derailed anything, I’m happy you shared. I also updated my response to add an acknowledgment. That totally sucks as an experience. Also congrats on the kiddo!

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              Can people tell me why they mark this as “unkind” ? This is the impression I get from this process. In the same way @gecko mentioned. I’ll call out abusive systems when I see them.

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              Not surprised and a little sad that the politics and non-explicitness seems to be just as bad as in other big projects. Also maybe a relief that they’re not doing it better than the rest of us…

              Great post though!

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                See also The Tyranny of Structurelessness, originally written about 1960s anarcho-feminist collectives but very applicable to open source projects. Skip down to ‘Formal and Informal Structures’ if you want to go straight to the relevant parts. TLDR: groups of people seeking to do things will always develop hierarchies and rules, so you’d better make them explicit if you want to keep them from being harmful.

                Github’s explicit permissions help avoid some of the structureless pitfalls - you either have the ability to merge a commit or you don’t - but not all of them. Schneems thought he could ignore an objection to a merge from a particular person, but it turns out there were unwritten rules about whose opinions counted and what ownership of a particular piece meant.

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                  It involves people, so politics is not far away :)

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                    What I meant was mostly under-the-radar inofficial structures and not, for example, “to be eligible to join the core group, someone inside must champion your entry and then we will vote. 2/3 yes -> in. Also the core members currently are x,y,z and these are their responsibilites and sole privileges: a,b,c”

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                  Thanks for taking the time to write this post. I was surprised by some parts about you flying under the radar. I am more of a maintain-rails-apps than write-rails-apps person, but your name/handle are pretty familiar to me. The post makes it feel like rails is a pretty divided community. I’ve kind of felt that way for a while, as it seems to me like Ruby OSS author-type folks often go on to write in other languages, (go, elixir, etc), and the users are more likely to file bugs than PRs, or just use some kind of a local mixin. I feel like RoR is moving to the unpleasant part of the maturity spectrum unfortunately. This is just my perspective. I really liked the NVC bits, and hope to use them as I go forward. Keep it up, you are doing the important work.