##computer-enthusiasm, an experiment in liking things again

I hang out a lot in ##computer, the IRC channel for Computer Anonymous. I like the people there, I think the code of conduct is good, and I genuinely think it’s a great channel which I am glad exists.


It turns out that when a bunch of people band together as a refuge against how terrible everything is, a lot of the conversation centers around how terrible everything is. There’s frequent linking to examples of things being terrible, a massive amount of snark in response to various events, etc.

Which is fine. That’s a large part of what the channel is for. But given what a large percentage of my IRC time it is, and given that I’m currently living in a city where I’m pretty isolated from everyone in the tech community who isn’t one of my flatmates, it’s making my exposure to the world of tech very unbalanced. There’s a lot of stuff in tech that is terrible, but not everything in tech is terrible, and a picture which makes it looks like it is is proving very bad for my mental health.

So I would like to try an experiment to offset it. A place to talk about things being actually pretty good! And this is where the new sister channel, ##computer-enthusiasm (Note: Two hashes at the front. It’s a freenode thing) comes in.

Here are the rules of ##computer-enthusiasm:

  1. The code of conduct of Computer Anonymous still applies. This is an inclusive space, and isms of all stripes are unwelcome.
  2. No starting conversations about things being bad. In particular no hate-linking to things to show how terrible they are. Note: “Here is this great idea someone had for fixing thing that is bad” is totally allowed and actively encouraged.
  3. If you think something that someone else has brought up is bad, you’re entirely welcome to say so, but please explain why. If possible, try to do so non-judgementally. “I had a bad experience with that software” is fine. “Oh god that software is terrible” is not. “When people do X it tends to exclude people like me who are Y” is fine (and super encouraged) but “Only assholes do X” is not.
  4. Sarcasm and snark are discouraged. This is super hard to police, so we’re not going to, but I would like you to self regulate, and give people gentle nudges if you think they’re doing a bad job of it. If this proves insufficient we can try to come up with something more concrete.
  5. Mentioning or linking to things you think are neat is a great idea. Do as much of that as you want. It doesn’t even have to be tech related.
  6. There is no such thing as off topic as long as it adheres to the above rules.

I wouldn’t want these norms to be in place everywhere – that would be pure cult of positive thinking, which is legit terrible – but I’d like a place where they hold. Tech can be terrible, but it also can be pretty amazing when it goes well, and I’d like somewhere that we can focus on that.

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