I had a bit of a confrontation today.
On the CouchDB list Noah Slater sent an emailing outlining what he described later as the “CouchBase problem.” In short, CouchBase recently confused the shit out of people about CouchDB. My reply drove to what I thought was the heart of the matter, that there is no clear vision for CouchDB which is why people are easily confused.
On IRC this escalated, a lot.
For some time now Noah and a few others consider much of my input as being less related to the problem at hand and more related to my view of Apache since my article gained traction. That’s fair, if I was them I would do the same. He viewed my comments are derailing his thread, I viewed them as constructive and trying to get at the heart of the matter.
On IRC we argued until finally Noah accused me of being uninvested in the project. He said that while I might complain about things I have no stake and put no tangible work in to improving them. I got incredibly upset, more than I’ve been in years, my heart was pounding and I was trying to hold back from the IRC version of screaming but couldn’t.
Now that I’ve had some time to calm down I realized that Noah was right. I’m not invested and I haven’t been for some time.
I realized a long time ago that the problems the CouchDB project has, some of which are related to Apache and some of which are unique to CouchDB, aren’t really fixable. The culture isn’t productive anymore, at least by the standards I’ve come to hold working in other communities, the most productive of which is node.js.
You might think my email reply was right, that the problems were deeper, and I still think that it was, but where I’m flat out wrong is in thinking that anyone in the project should actually care about what I think because I don’t really care myself.
What I have is a lingering emotional investment in the project. I put so much time in to it, I spent a year convincing other people to care about it as much as I do, that doesn’t just go away overnight but it’s not enough to justify the entitlement I have about my input.
If I don’t care about the future of Apache CouchDB, or think it’s issues are fixable, then why am I still commenting on email list threads?
The answer is: “because I always have” and that’s not good enough.
As Noah put it, I don’t have any skin in the game, and he’s right.
I unsubscribed from the mailing lists and removed the auto-join from IRC.
I feel now the same way I felt about the commonjs list last year and Python a few years before that. What am I fighting? I’ve moved on and whatever problems the project might have they are their problems, not mine. Some of the things I don’t like they might actually appreciate and I shouldn’t be telling them how things should work if I don’t really care.
It’s time to let go of the emotional investment I have in the project. Hopefully I can figure this out faster the next time it happens.
Thank you Noah, you were quite right and I appreciate that you called me on it. I'm sorry it took me until after you went to sleep to realize it :)