Alain Schlesser on the Cost of Contribution

I’ve never really been someone who contributed to WordPress in a disciplined and direct way. (Which is to say, I’ve never had code I’ve written pulled into the WordPress project.) As a result, I can’t really say what the cognitive landscape of doing that is like. Which is precisely why I found this article from Alain Schlesser (best known to me for his work on WP-CLI) so interesting.

Here’s the crux what he’s writing about:

It’s a community full of passionate and inspiring people, and when you come into contact with it for the first time, it can be very intoxicating – I was hooked right away!

But with time, I noticed more and more that this highly inspiring and addicting environment did have a negative long-term effect on some community members.

I witnessed stress, anxiety, and burn-outs amongst the contributors, and a lot of churn in general. So I wondered why such a seemingly positive environment and noble common cause could have such a bad outcome for some people.

I believe that all of this can be traced back to a very simple root cause: Cost.

That is a short and inadequate summary of his good piece. I also found Heather Burns’s comment insightful (though I’m holding back from endorsing it).

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