Defensiveness and kindness

Hi all,

As always I'd like to thank the many people who help out in this forum, giving advice and help. You contribute enormously to making Let's Encrypt easy to use and friendly. We rarely have unkind posts here, but I've noticed an occasional pattern: sometimes, when a new user shows up and criticizes Let's Encrypt policies or documentation, folks get defensive and wind up being rude to to the new user, essentially saying "Let's Encrypt is fine; it's you who have the problem!" I understand this impulse; sometimes I feel defensive too! But I'd like to ask everyone to try and take a moment away from the keyboard when you feel that way, see if you can come to a deeper understanding of the other person's problem, and try to come up the kindest reply possible. If you can't find such a reply, ignoring the post is a good option.

Being empathic is the right thing to do in its own right, but it's especially valuable in encrypting the web. One of the many reasons we don't have more encryption on the web today is that the skills required are too arcane. If we can help people learn those skills, or if we can get feedback from people that helps us make things clearer, we further the mission of encrypting the web.

All that said, we don't have to confuse criticism and rudeness. If someone shows up and is violating our Community Guidelines by being a jerk, don't hesitate to flag their post. With enough flags, or if a moderator sees your flag, the post will be hidden. Usually this is better than telling them on-thread to stop being a jerk, since this can just create a cycle of escalation.

Creating a welcoming, friendly community is definitely a learning process for all of us, so I hope sharing this observation is helpful. And I say this with the awareness that this is one of the kindest and most helpful security-related communities I've participated in.



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