Community Principles of Columnal

The community around a tool is just as important as the design of the tool itself. These are the community principles that we wish to promote.


We should aim to be constructive, not destructive. It takes a little more effort, but it's possible to promote the advantages of one tool without demeaning other tools or pouring scorn on their use. Avoid general assertions like "X is rubbish" in favour of specific personal statements "I find X hard to use and prefer Y".


Everyone should feel safe to ask questions and get help without being scorned or harassed. It can be difficult to learn new software and new techniques -- and the double whammy of being a beginner is that you don't know what you're doing and you also don't know what to ask. Have patience with people asking questions, in the same way you would hope for them to be patient with you.


Everyone will come to Columnal with a different background, and different set of needs. There is no gain in bashing tools that people may be happily using. We will grow by playing nicely with existing tools and being useful, not by sneering at other tools. Remember that people frequently identify strongly with their tools, so a slight on their tool is often taken by them as an implied personal slight.

Historically, computing has been full of dismissive attitudes like RTFM (read the flipping manual) or endless arguing about which tool is best. Tools only exist for use by people, and helping people to use the tools successfully is where the challenge lies. In the Internet age, tools are most effective when there is a critical mass who understand how to use it, and that can only be achieved if we all help each other to learn along the way. These principles should apply to all of computing, but we particularly want to espouse them for Columnal.