Tom MacWright

Polite Technology, Open Review

Today I’m publishing the first draft of Polite Technology, the short book I’ve been writing since May.

This is the idea that started with How to Report a Bug. I saw a pattern in conversations: one person trying to tell another what’s wrong, and that conversation failing in several common ways. Often the person reporting the problem wouldn’t give enough detail. Often the person reporting a problem would report it angrily, or the person receiving the bug report would be ungrateful.

I’ve been on both sides of that conversation. These conversations are part of my job when I maintain open source software for Mapbox, and part of a hobby when I maintain my own projects, like documentation.js, simple-statistics, and big. And I’ve made all the mistakes, mistakes that make an interaction unpleasant and unproductive when it could be better.

Polite Technology is an attempt to improve these conversations, to improve the way that people interact online when they’re talking about technology.

Today I’m putting it out into the world for open review. This is an early draft, here for you to read, comment on, and hopefully enjoy. I’ve been working on it in brief gasps over the course of months and integrated some early feedback, but for the past few weeks, it’s been looming in my mind: why didn’t I publish it yet? When I publish it, will it be good?

So, it’s time to publish, move forward, and make the leap. This is a first public draft, and I’m using to accept inline annotations and discussions: please try that out by clicking the bar on the right-hand side of the page.

Polite Technology First Draft: Open Review

December 4, 2016  @tmcw