This long article at Medium.com is strictly about the author’s perception that Twitter is dying and about his reasons for it. But really it is about what he sees as a growing problem of Internet [social] abuse:
The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization. It is a problem of staggering magnitude and epic scale, and worse still, it is expensive: it is a problem that can’t be fixed with the cheap, simple fixes beloved by tech: patching up code, pushing out updates.
To explain, let me be clear what I mean by abuse. I don’t just mean the obvious: violent threats. I also mean the endless bickering, the predictable snark, the general atmosphere of little violences that permeate the social web … and the fact that the average person can’t do anything about it.
I think it’s so vital, I’ll say it again, more simply: build a platform rife with abuse, and then turn a blind eye to it, treat it as a non-issue, and you’re already on tomorrow’s list of has-beens…you just don’t know it yet.
Although I seriously doubt that PM is about to be a has-been (although some snark that it has been for some time), I do think that it has become an abusive place ... and that this is definitely not a good thing for furthering the site’s core mission. We do not know how many people feel that they dare not post here. We do see threads opened-up by newbies with an opening request ... even before they state their business ... of please don’t pillory me for asking. A perfect stranger finally screws-up enough nerve to open a new thread, and begins his conversation by saying this. How many others never get that far?
I say this only as ... food for thought, for all of us. This web site should be a social place, as well as the Go-To Site for information about Perl. This site, not StackExchange or any of the others, ought to be the place that people automatically come to, knowing that they will be welcomed here in addition to speedily getting the best possible technical answer. People with thousands of posts should continue to feel welcome, too. This site does not rely on Moderators, although it does have a system of self-moderation (which is quite unique). The gods exist, and although they clean up a lot of spam every day (thank you), they don’t throw lightning-bolts. But this status-quo therefore also relies heavily on how we publicly treat one another ... which is seen by all who come, and by those who decide not to. Our behavior is part of the site’s vast permanent record, unless actually expunged.
The above-linked article goes on for many pages, and although it wanders a bit, I think that it is significant that it continues, quite passionately in places, for so many pages, and that it touches upon many things (specifically including software development). This should be an important take-away for all of us, not only in the immediate context of PM but in everything else that we do professionally.