liberty vs. hospitality

when I came back to work, I felt like a fish who had taken a three-month break from the water she swims in, and wow, it was demoralizing. It is – we have demoralizing people in the Wikimedia community, and we have some demoralizing processes in places, and some of us have gotten used to it, but then there’s the people who are leaving or who are thinking of leaving, or who never even come in. It’s super demoralizing to be in a world where some people seem to follow the opposite of those four social rules, like those are the key tactics in how they relate to others.

I was able to able to articulate this to myself as the spectrum of liberty versus hospitality. The Wikimedia movement really privileges liberty, way over hospitality. And for many people in the Wikimedia movement, free speech, as John Scalzi put it, is the ability to be a dick in every possible circumstance. Criticize others in any words we like, change each other’s words, and do anything that is not legally prohibited.

Hospitality, on the other hand, is thinking more about right speech, just speech, useful speech, and compassion. We only say and do things that help each other. The first responsibility of every citizen is to help each other achieve our goals, and make each other happy.

I think these two views exist on a spectrum, and we are way over to one side, and moving closer to the middle would help everyone learn better and would help us keep and grow our contributor base.

– Exertpted from Hospitality, Jerks, and What I Learned by Sumana Harihareswara.

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