Jacob Kaplan-Moss

To my friends in the Node community

I wrote this post in 2013, more than 10 years ago. It may be very out of date, partially or totally incorrect. I may even no longer agree with this, or might approach things differently if I wrote this post today. I rarely edit posts after writing them, but if I have there'll be a note at the bottom about what I changed and why. If something in this post is actively harmful or dangerous please get in touch and I'll fix it.

Dear friends in the Node community,

I’m excited and inspired by the work that you’re doing. Being new is exciting: you get to re-invent the world, and shape it to suit your purposes. You’re not bound by the mistakes other environments have accrued over the years.

This has paid huge dividends. You’ve come up with a way to make asynchronous programming accessible to a much wider pool of programmers. You’re creating a set of tools that put developer experience first, proving that developer tools don’t have to have terrible user interfaces. NPM levels up our expectations around dependency management. And so on – like I said, I’m excited and inspired watching you work.

I’m writing this because I want you to also remember that as a new community you also get to invent your own culture. I’m hoping you’ll take this opportunity to invent a culture where shit like this isn’t considered OK.

You have the opportunity to create and define new community norms, ones that welcome diversity and eschew the domination by white men. You have the chance to establish strong community standards that create a culture of inclusiveness. It’s early days: just as the technical choices you make now will shape the face of your software for years to come, the community steps you take now will define your culture far into the future.

I hope you’ll see this opportunity for what it is, and take steps to eliminate the shitty male-dominated culture that’s spread, virus-like, through open source. You have an opportunity to do something truly great, something that will have an impact far beyond the technical. I hope you’ll choose to do so.

With love,