The Toxicity Dance

Sun 14 April 2024 by R.L. Dane

There's been some kerfuffle today on the fediverse over the issue of toxicity in the Linux and Open Source community. "Toxic" is one of those trigger words that immediately gets fingers a-pointing. The great irony is that just to mention the word "toxic" can in itself be a toxic statement, and it can be very tricky to distinguish the difference between a genuine and warranted complaint of toxicity in others from a false one, or even a "crybully" tactic of purposely besmirching someone's viewpoint by labeling them toxic as an attempt to shut down meaningful discourse.

I have no interest in assigning labels (regarding the above) on the specific interlocutors I've heard from today, but I do hope to send everyone a "cool off" signal and hopefully bring some perspective to the discussion.

Given the subject at hand, I'm going to label this post Part III of "Don't use what's good for you." You may wish to read Part I and Part II, but they're not necessary to read before this one.

So, what qualifies as a toxic reply, and how do we deal with it? Let's try a matching game. I'm going to give some examples of hypothetical posts/toots and hypothetical replies, in no particular order. Let's see what we can learn from them:

  • Original posts:

    • "Man, these ads in Windows are getting ridiculous."
    • "Why is my MacBook so slow all of a sudden?"
    • "How do I disable these new start menu ads?"
    • "Man, I just don't have time to learn Linux. I've got a life, already."
  • Replies:

    • "Dude, why are you putting up with that enshittified OS? Linux is so much better, lol!"
    • "Windoze drools, Linux rules!"
    • "Man, I'm sorry to hear what you're dealing with there. I know not everyone is ready to try something new, but running Linux has really changed things for me, and I'd love to help you learn more about it if you think you're ready to invest some time into it."
    • "FREEEDOOOOOMMMM!!! Join the revolution, lol! Whooo!"
  • Replies to the replies:

    • "What?!? Get away, nerd!"
    • "Sounds interesting, but man, I've got way too many irons in the fire already. Enjoy your RevolutionOS. ;)"
    • "Do you even have a job? Some of us have more to worry about than re-compiling our kernels and posting neofetch screenshots."
    • "Man, I hear so many people on here talking about it, but I'm not sure I'm ready to jump into all that. Can you tell me some more?"

You can read the above in any random order, and experiment with mixing and matching replies. What story do they tell? What is the attitude of the original poster, and of the replier? How does your view of the original poster change when you add on the final reply? Are all of the original posters good guys? Are all of the repliers toxic? Is everyone toxic? Is everyone trying to seek the betterment of something bigger than themselves? Is anyone? Are they all just haphazardly throwing out opinions from an egotistical place, or is there any genuine cry for help / attempt to help in these hypotheical dialogues?

There's obviously no right answer, but I hope it's useful to give some fodder for circumspect consideration.

When in doubt, look upon your interlocuter as someone who slogged through mud and razor wire to deposit a word of wisdom on your thread, and who probably failed to do so well for a multitude of reasons.

So maybe let's all chill out a tad and celebrate one another, instead.

Note: This article has a Part IV !


Sat 13 April 2024 by R.L. Dane

I was chilling out at the parking lot of In-N-Out after having lunch there (because the weather is pretty nice today), but decided to go to a local library to have a nice desk in front of me and do some reading/writing.

I asked the Oracle at Googlii (via …

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Six Months a Mourner

Thu 11 April 2024 by R.L. Dane

Content Warning: This post deals with the loss of a pet. Also, Christian themes.

This will probably be my last post on this subject for a while. I do not wish to labor the point, but today marks the sixth month of my cat passing, and I felt that I …

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The unfolding horrors of Toxic Masculinity

Tue 02 April 2024 by R.L. Dane

Content Warning: This post deals with the issue of toxic masculinity. If that (or the discussion thereof) is upsetting to you, please skip this one. Also, a minor bible reference is included.

I thought I had a pretty fair grasp on the idea and archetypes of toxic masculinity. I am …

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How did we *survive*?!?

Sun 31 March 2024 by R.L. Dane

About an hour ago, I was catching up with an old friend from the 90s that I've kept in touch with through the years and visited several times (even though I moved to a different state at the end of that decade). We were part of a wonderfully tight-knit group …

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Amiga: My Alternate History

Sat 30 March 2024 by R.L. Dane

Just a few days before Christmas Day, 1989, I excitedly carried home one of the greatest Christmas gifts I have ever received. I vaguely remember going with my stepdad to the university computer store (The "MicroCentre," it was called; no relation to the large, currently-extant computer store chain) to pick …

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A Breath of Fresh Air

Thu 25 January 2024 by R.L. Dane

It's funny to me how simple, practical changes can produce lasting effects. It's also funny how something can seem so insurmountable when you're stuck in a certain mindset, only to realize that it's just a matter of a simple change of thinking and habits.

When I was younger (read: thirties …

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Thu 18 January 2024 by R.L. Dane

Content Warning: this is all coming from a fairly Christian worldview, and so may seem a bit like proselyting to those from other traditions and beliefs. I'm just putting out what I'm mulling over, so as always, you're welcome to read it, or wait for another nerdy UNIXy post a …

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Fun Chance Meetings

Thu 28 December 2023 by R.L. Dane

A couple days ago, I was discussing with my counselor the importance of in-person relationships. I commented on how incredibly easy it is to open a computer and drop into a meaningful and enjoyable conversation within a few minutes (especially on the Fediverse!), but that it felt nearly impossible to …

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Two months later

Mon 11 December 2023 by R.L. Dane

Content warning: This post deals with loss

As I have alluded to before, there is a certain process of effacing that time does to loss and grief, as well as the memory of the departed.

I'm staring at the two month mark, and while I've had some truly dark moments …

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