Volunteering for an open source project has been a learning experience.
I have experienced the kindness of strangers
I have been thanked for helping others
I have had the privilege to meet a wide variety of people scattered around this world. This shows me that people have an intense drive to communicate and build.
I have also experienced the cruelty of those protected by their keyboards. This has been the most difficult experience to face. You do something routine, send an off line message you hope to clear things up and then you and others who have spent countless unpaid hours get accused of lying, deception and other random falsehoods from someone who makes money and benefits from your and countless others contributions.
This is the most difficult part of volunteering in an online community. Realizing that those with an ax to grind, an agenda, a fear will lash out and slander you in an attempt to justify their fears and desire for some goal or desire or power. It is even more difficult when these accusations come from someone whom you have provided help and trust in the past but has not been active for the last year suddenly do this.
It is particularly difficult when people use rhetorical devices to cloak their attack. When challenged, they accuse others of falsehoods and consistently ignore questions but answer with oblique mis-directions. It is much like the tactics made famous by Karl Rove.
It makes continuing to contribute difficult, but perhaps that is the goal, to drive out, poison collaboration, distort and cause confusion. That seems to paranoid. Perhaps that is the goal. I don’t know, it’s hard dealing with people’s fears and cruelty.
I am going to try and ignore the attacks and the cruelty but am not sure I will succeed. I don't know that I have that much patience and understanding.