Start a Dialogue: Be a Force for Positive Debate in Your Organization

June 1, 2017


Passionate debate is a hallmark of open-source software organizations and communities, where people are free to share their ideas and build on the publicly accessible work of others. On our best days, these debates are energetic and constructive — heated perhaps, yet moderated with humor and goodwill. All parties remain focused on facts and the shared purpose of collaborative problem-solving and driving continuous improvement. For many of us, these lively exchanges are just plain fun.

On our worst days, however, debates devolve into rehashing the same old arguments on the same old topics. Or we turn against one another, delivering insults — passive-aggressive or outright nasty, depending on our style — and eroding the passion, trust and productivity of our communities.

We’ve all been there, watching and feeling helpless as a community conversation takes a toxic turn. And yet, as DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer at open-source software provider Red Hat recently shared, there are many ways in which we can all be forces for good in our work communities.

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