Paul Albrecht

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Open source projects survive on freedom of communication. Such projects are diminished when a community member can no longer participate, as the project no longer benefits from their opinions and insight. However, one of the few things worse than this loss of participation is to have a hostile environment where people are afraid to voice opinions. If we cannot discuss ideas – even radical ones –
openly and freely without fear of recrimination, then we are dead as an open source project.

In the Asterisk Developer Community, we often have disagreements about technical decisions and the direction of the project. Sometimes those disagreements are quite passionate. That’s a good thing. We are all only human, and sometimes we all make mistakes. The only way we can keep the project moving forward in the best manner possible is if we allow for disagreements and conversation.

However, there is an acceptable way to disagree with each other, and an unacceptable way. Repeatedly denigrating others in the community, refusing to listen to their opinions and explanations, and continuing to attack those who disagree with you creates a hostile environment where productive conversation is impossible. Paul Albrecht repeatedly chose to communicate in this fashion and refused to change his behaviour.

In light of his recent e-mails, which came after I privately warned Paul that he was in violation of the community code of conduct [1], I
felt Paul had no desire to change his rhetoric or his language and have thus removed him from the Asterisk project e-mail lists and other project resources.

This was not a decision taken lightly. This is the first time I’ve had to do this as the lead of the Asterisk project, and I sincerely hope it is the last.

I’m sure this decision will not sit easily with everyone. I understand that, and my desire is not to create a place where passionate opinions cannot be expressed. What I do hope, however, is that we can have a community where we all have a basic level of respect for one another, such that when we do disagree, we can do so without resorting to insults and derogatory comments.

To quote Jeff Atwood [2]:

β€œAt the risk of sounding aspirational, here’s one thing I know to be true, and I advise every community to take to heart: I expect you to act like a group of friends who care about each other, no matter how dumb some of us might be, no matter what political opinions some of us hold, no matter what things some of us like or dislike.”

Hopefully, we can move past this as a community and continue to support and improve the Asterisk project.

Matt

[1] https://wiki.asterisk.org/wiki/display/AST/Asterisk+Community+Code+of+Conduct
[2] http://blog.codinghorror.com/what-if-we-could-weaponize-empathy/


Matthew Jordan Digium, Inc. | Engineering Manager
445 Jan Davis Drive NW – Huntsville, AL 35806 – USA
Check us out at: http://digium.com & http://asterisk.org