Last night I got a Facebook message from a comrade regarding yesterday’s post defending the Occupy Money project. I want to take a quick moment to clarify a few things based on what was said to me in that message.
I’ve got no beef with Suzahn, I think they have a very important voice and their piece in Tidal brought up some very good points. Perhaps it was a little hyperbolic for my taste, but then again I would prefer that all text be written in a emotionless pit of logic… Suzahn didn’t just write some rhetoric attack, it is a valid critique which I can fully respect while also critiquing parts of it (meta critique). The piece is important to me because even though I disagreed it helped me understand why and how. It informed and strengthened my opinion.
I’ve heard rumors that other groups and individuals have been attacking Suzahn and others for being “against the movement” for their critiques of Occupy Money. This is extremely troubling, especially from a movement based on descent. I hate to think that I appear to fall into that category!
A divergent opinion, criticism, or question is never a bad thing. Unless it is intentionally misrepresenting facts. In my last post I advocated for compassion for the project you lay criticism upon. The same should be true for the one speaking their mind.
Open and honest dissent and debate is crucial for any organization. Solidarity doesn’t mean sticking with the party line or pretending that everything is okay. It most certainly doesn’t mean silencing opposition. It is not our right or our job to be protecting or shielding others from valid criticism.
The only thing worse for your project than negative reviews in no reviews. When someone feels strongly enough to critique your work that is always a good thing. You want to know what people think about your project. You want to respond to these comments even if they are hyperbolic, off base, or rude. Try to separate the emotion from the substance.
Naturally we must distinguish the trolls from those that are honestly being critical, which is sometimes difficult.
So let’s continue to be honest and compassionate with each other. Let us celebrate the rabble rousers, especially when they are within the movement because an act of dissent is also an act of collaboration*.
* In the computer world we often attack our own systems to ensure that they are prepared for a real adversary. Breaking projects down, asking tough questions, and playing devils advocate can all function to make a project stronger.