We Have Fun Here
An Asshole is someone whose fixation on their own wounds outweighs their contributions to their community. This is the only definition of the term that matters. You are probably used to an Asshole being anyone who disagrees with you. You probably encounter a lot of people like this. I need you to be open to the possibility that You Might Be An Asshole.
Please don't disengage just yet. You are not an asshole of your own free will. Probably. You have been told to be independant your whole life, to ensure the security of your own requirements before attending to others. "Can't pour from an empty cup" and other quaint expressions which all translate to "You > Others" through the lense of consumption.
For many of you, Assholery is a survival mechanism. It is bared teeth and pointed claws, a bid to make yourself enough of a threat that predators victimize someone else. Everyone learns how to hurt through being hurt themselves. That becomes the default reaction for everything, normalizing a casual level of cruelty which poisons your every relationship with the world.
I'm not blaming you. I'm not judging you. I speak with the easy confidence of someone who has spent a lifetime doing this shit.
You Have To Cut It Out. If you're an asshole. If you're a non-confrontational normie, you have to stop letting assholes ruin your organizations. They will complain and inflict misery until they are given a level of control or agency that they will use to shift the acceptable window of acceptable behavior so far beyond the pale that every group becomes as toxic as a Linux convention.
I'm not saying Linus Torvaldus's unforgivable personality is the reason there are a billion and one Linux subgenres, but it is the reason they're all utterly unusable. If Linus possessed even the smallest capacity for human decency there'd be exactly one Linux, it would be named Linux, it would do everything in exactly two clicks, and Billy Gates would be drinking hobo soup in a unabomber shanty.
I am saying that. I'm saying that about you. All your exes are right.
People claim assholes are "productive," but their definition of productivity only measures singular contributions, and not the impact of that contributon on the group as a whole. It's a rat-race measurement applied to a collaborative exercise, it's not actually measuring productivity. Assholes excel at singular contributions, because it allows them to assert control. They don't want to have to collaborate, because that involves ceding power.
If you worry you're an asshole, all you have to do is recognize your impulse to dominate, and simply make space for others. Don't say everything you think as soon as it comes to mind, it's probably meaner and snarkier than you realize. Be a capybara, a big furry presence undisturbing to its fellow wildlife.
If you're normal, and you are part of an organization dominated by assholes, you have to refuse to let an asshole warp what is acceptable. You've got to make a stand for mutual respect as the norm, and simply refuse to compromise on that.
Every allowance, every compromise, becomes fuel for further weakening of norms. "You let X happen, why not Y?" "X used to be normal, but now it's not?" These are the weasel questions of a motherfucker trying to get away with murder. Someone who starts from the assumption that change is abnormal would 100% financially support a fascist coup. Don't listen to their bullshit. Don't even give them a fraction of a second.
Especially if they use Linux.
– Phiz Kalifa (@maltschlitzmann)