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The Thing about Volunteers and Civility

Apr 22, 2010, 19:04 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chromatic)

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"The thing about volunteers is that they don't have to do what they're doing. If you're getting paid to hang out in an IRC channel and answer questions all day, that's one thing. If you're hanging out on an IRC channel all day because you want to, that's another.

"The thing about volunteers writing software is that they don't have to do it. The same goes for volunteers writing documentation or reporting bugs or asking questions about how to use or install or configure that software.

"The thing about the Perl community is that almost no one gets paid solely for participating in the Perl community. Sure, you can volunteer for a while to earn the cachet and the right to apply for a TPF grant at a fraction of the going consulting rate to justify continuing to work on the unpleasant parts of a project, but you're still effectively a volunteer.

"The thing about volunteers is if it's not worth their time or energy or health or sanity or happiness to keep volunteering, they can walk away whenever they want. They have no obligation to continue to do what they do. Not even their sense of devotion or duty or guilt or community camaraderie should compel them to continue on projects that aren't worth their investment of time, and that's more than okay."

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