Do love and spread kindness, don't hate and spread anger

Hi to everyone coming to read this thread.

Few important remarks before I continue writing these words:

  1. They do not refer to something/someone in particular. Are just based upon the “experience” I have been having on such platform, which I acknowledge is very, very limited with respect to most of You all. So, to anyone, please do not take this personally, because this would be far, but very far from their real purpose.
  2. It is actually some time that I had in mind writing them. Here I am now. Don’t ask me why, and why exactly now. I don’t even know the answer myself.
  3. I am nobody in all possible senses, professional as well as personals, etc. I am not here to judge anyone, because I do know myself sometimes doing exactly the mistakes I hate see being done. So, I am the first to which I address these words. And I am the first which tries to become a better version of myself, day by day, by learning from these errors.
  4. Last but not least, I am simply thinking out loud, like we would have been (virtually) in the same room. I am not looking for any visibility/acceptance/approval/[whatever adjective you might think]. Again, I am simply thinking out loud, and if you are wondering why I am doing this, go to point 2.

Most of the reasoning of all this lies already on how I discovered this community. Before, I was mostly (if not uniquely) using StackOverflow. At the beginning it was looking ok. Years passed, and at some point, with the (personal) experience grown, I started noticing few changes/facts that led me to start questioning about the people before the (valuable) content itself.
At that moment I started looking for something else, and landed here.
And I was happy, for two reasons:

  1. Found a place of people passionate of Fotran which was (and is) my main coding language.
  2. Kind of looked more like a real Community, of people sharing a common interest/passion among everything else.

But, of course, as for everything else, time will provide us with all the needed answers.
And, unfortunately, it came out that also here what I hoped, for myself and for everyone else, not to happen, was actually occasionally happening. To a much less degree, but still…

NOTE: to those who forgot the initial points, I recall: I am not referring to anything/anyone specifically.

Now, is this totally wrong? Of course, no. It is totally normal of having a different advise, to not agree on some decisions, etc. Otherwise, this platform would not have the reason to exist in the first place.

But. Sometimes, it looks like we forget some important tiny details, which might lead us on the wrong path when relating ourselves towards others.
Everyone comes from its own different path. Different education. Different (life and working) experiences. Different everything. Like I think of myself, starting as a structural engineer, and now ended up doing software development, knowing nothing about anything related to it. Like, Nothing. Zero. Still, by will, dedication, CONSTRUCTIVE HELP/ADVICE, here I am now after few years, feeling now more a software rather than a structural engineering. Of course, it will never be at the same level of those which dealt with it since their beginning.
But, I also think that is the real beauty of what we all do, exactly this (sometimes even very tiny) difference of background, which creates millions of shades and points of views, of the same base thing. Which then, finally creates the thing itself.

That’s why Boards and Committees exist in the first place, isn’t it? Or, at least this what I like to think… then I am not part of any, so I am only guessing. Don’t blame me for this.

And then, next question I ask myself is, why did this Community arise in the first place? It’s a real question, because I was not part of those who firstly conceived it.
In the meantime, I searched the meaning of “community”, and the second definition given by Oxford Language states “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”. There, I instantly remark two important words: sharing and attitudes (interests as third).
I am more than sure that everyone of You all knew it. Even though spelled in English language, its concept dates centuries back in history. And, anyone of us can relate to it, to some extent in its personal sphere. So, I’m not here to tell you what it meant.
Just, to point out that sometimes, we might forget about those tiny words which make the definition of Community.
What if we take those words out? Still on Oxford Language, “a group of people regularly attending a particular place of worship” is one of the definition of Congregation. So, I think this is what we make (implicitly) happen: we let the Community feel more like a Congregation.
Is this really what we, nobody excluded, want? I (like to) think not. Otherwise, to be coherent with ourselves, we should not even call it Community, if we don’t make it effectively as such.

I could continue, but I think I alreay wrote too much.

The only take away that I really hope everyone us would take, if we really want to make this Community different from many others, is simply that we should never forget.
Never forget that before everything, this wants to be a Community of human beings having feelings, not of avatars.
Never forget that writing/reading through the screen does not speak/sound as we would do by letting our vocal chords/eardrums vibrating. So, misinterpretation risks are right behind the corner.
Never forget that even though we might be right on something, this does not grant us the right to go off-the-words, even though we are being related/spoken like that. Even worse if we start ourselves doing that. Again, behind the screen, on the other side, there’s a real person which we don’t know, so we don’t know how it would take our offensive. Which is wrong in the first place.

Imagine it like “teaching” to a child. Shouting and being aggressive will for sure not make him/her wanting to revive it again. That’s the same for newcomers in particular, but also for the veterans in some cases. By acklowledging, they would never feel the will to be full part of it. And this is also a way to limit the Fortran Community grow. Which would be a pity, because I really do think this Community has a great potential.


Thank you for writing this @mEm, I agree with everything.

@mEm ,

Per my contrarian’s views, I earnestly request refraining from this, it makes little sense truly even if it all sounds well and good.

Keep in mind a fairly recent cliche (considering the annals of literature), one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

And this means you or I or the moderators on this Discourse or anyone else are nobody to decide what is “love” and “kindness” and “hate” and “anger”, especially the latter two.

And please don’t get into anything with “majority” or “collective conscious”: the history of “Communities” (e.g., almost all of Europe) is clear that they fail, and fail miserably.

Simply stating things as they are or pointing out cons can have someone labeling them as one or more of the nouns in your title and things get very “tricky”.

So sorry, I don’t agree with your post: it’s long and vague and what it is getting at is unworkable and also detrimental to proper Discourse.


@mEm Thank you for your post. I agree with that.

The hard part is how to make it happen to feel like a community and less like a congregation and to make sure that people are friendly to each other.

The way I personally try to do this is to lead by example. But I am just a human and make mistakes. The other tool we have at our disposal is moderation. I personally try to use it only very lightly. I think a good approach is to initially let almost anything through, but if it is a repeated pattern, then I like to have a phone or video conversation and to discuss.

The other part that you didn’t mention, and perhaps the most important, is the people who just read but didn’t join because they don’t like to deal with such personal attacks. We don’t have many of these here, but we have some and it’s not helping us.

I can answer that. We worked really hard to bootstrap this community, because Fortran needed a community and a webpage. Now we are at the stage where we need the community itself to embrace our initial approach, we each need to do our part. So I am very happy you posted this.

Thank you.


@mEm , thanks for taking the time and having the courage to post this. It is timely and I very much agree. I wasn’t there on day 1, but was an early contributor and can tell you that we did intentionally try to make this community a welcoming and friendly one. I worry your post is a sign that we are slipping. I’m hopeful this is something we can correct course on, but I don’t quite know how. If you have thoughts, please by all means let us know.


For people interested by the history of the Fortran-lang community:


One difficulty with global (i.e. worldwide) “communities” comes from the cultural differences. What is perceived as aggressive in some cultures sometimes looks perfectly normal in some other cultures. I have experienced that even in physical conferences (mainly in the past, 20-25 years ago, probably less today as there tends to be some uniformization): I could see some people talking quite aggressively (in my opinion) to some speakers during Q&A after some presentations, and I was thinking “wow, these guys won’t spend the night together!”… and later on in the conference I could see the same ones talking completely normally and joking together. For them, talking this way was completely normal.


I joined the Fortran Discourse on the 15th May 2020, ten days after Milan’s original post. This community is an enormous success as we are more than 1150 registered users on the Discourse! (In fact only ~420 users have read at least one post this last Quarter).

Of course, things have changed in three years as the community was growing. To resume my experience I would say that:

  • the first year I was eagerly reading all messages,
  • the second year it became impossible to read all messages in a topic,
  • during the third year I began to read only the topics whose title interested me (and I often have no time to read each post even there). It is partly due to the amount of posts, but also due to the fact that a lot of experts have now joined the Discourse and some topics are hard for me to follow because of their very high technical level on certain aspects of the language or other subjects. Well, that is a success for the community!

But that scale change probably impact the way we interact. My experience is that friendly discussions are now occurring more on the private message (PM) side. In PM you can digress in many directions, and talk more directly from human being to human being (telling who you really are beyond your avatar, joking, etc.). In a populated public Discourse, it becomes a problem because people interested by the main topic may be naturally annoyed by long digressions or friendly discussions between two people. Finally, we more often censor ourselves to avoid polluting a discussion thread… That is a drawback of success!

Concerning digressions, we can do something: if we begin to digress from the main subject of a topic, we should think about opening a new topic and redirect people there.

Maybe we could also add an “Introduce myself” (“Presentation”, “Who am I”…) post category where new members could introduce themselves (if they desire). That is generally considered a good practice in a forum to present oneself before asking a question. Then you appear to be more than an avatar. But don’t forget you can also present yourself quickly in your Discourse profile (it will be shown when one clicks on your avatar).

Finally, consider also that the community is not restricted to the Discourse. It is really great to see people collaborating on GitHub on new Fortran tools or writing Fortran papers together, or working on translations or documentation, etc. Each collaboration can be a pleasure. There is so much to do, whatever your level! Working together can help creating human links and more friendly relationships. Building commons together brings a great satisfaction.

Long live the Fortran-lang community!


I think the terms “love” and “hate” don’t really fit here. This is the main reason I disagree with the initial post.

This is an online community (a very specialized one, sure, but still an online community.) As such, most people involved don’t really know each other, but rather rely on their opinions to “like” or “dislike” them. All this is happening in written form and in a language that’s not necessarily their native language. Can you really judge someone that way?
And there is more: people have different opinions and that can sometimes lead to “conflicts”. This is unavoidable. This is expected. It can and already does happen here too. As long it keeps being “civilized”, it is ok, if you ask me.

I am involved in the development of two GNU/Linux distributions and other projects mainly done online. Several of the people involved there are even living in the same country and in 99.9% of the cases, we never met each other in person. How can I “hate” them or “love” them? How can I “hate” someone here? I don’t, even when I disagree with them.

I am well aware that the terms “love” and “hate” are used in a more relaxed way in some cultures, but in my culture, we don’t do that. This is one of the reasons some posts do seem “aggressive” to me (and others, I bet.) This is also one of the reasons others might say the same about my posts. As @PierU already pointed out, cultural differences can be a major difficulty sometimes. What is “aggressive” or “abrasive” and what’s not may vary a lot depending on the culture. Even in similar cultures I noticed some shocking differences. In communities like this one, with people all around the globe involved, this is determined to happen.

I joined this discourse thanks to @vmagnin who introduced it to me in another platform. I immediately liked it. Admittedly, I like some people here more than others, and in a few cases I found some people flat-out annoying. I am sure others will say the exact same thing for me. That’s perfectly fine. I do not hate anyone here - I couldn’t hate them even if I wanted to, because I don’t really know them. As long conflicts are kept civilized, and they don’t fall in the Twitter/Facebook (or other similar “social” media) category, they can be productive. I would be very bored if everyone was agreeing with everyone else in perfect harmony.


I post this reply simply to remark, in few lines, what the intent of the original post really was, and avoid it going far away from that.

Some of you pointed out the possibly improper use of some words. And it might be right. So, I do apologise with them if they felt somewhat “attacked” or whatever, by this misuse.
However, I think if one went a simple step further, might have got the real meaning. Which I maybe should have said out loud since the beginning, to avoid such misunderstandings (which by the way, are one of the reasons this post exists). With “love and spread kindness” (note the full sentence altogether, not just half of it), I was simply meaning “Do make people feel comfortable, regardless”. Regardless. And, if they are wrong, they are wrong. This does not change. What can change is the way one can try to explain why one might be (or is) wrong.

So, I think nobody here has even ever thought about this. Anyone, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Then, cultural differences have been mentioned. Having hopefully already clarified my misleading use of some words, which indeed have different ideological as well as practical meaning, but which in this case they were not directly referred. And I already apologised for that. They were also brought up because, rightly enough, any culture percieve almost anything in its way, which might be sometimes the opposite of some others. I totally understand this, and I am not in any way here to say which culture is better than which, etc. I’m not here for this kind of BS, pardon my French.
But, these, have been used to “justify” some “acts”, saying “this is pretty normal in my culture”. While I understand this, I also think it carries its own answer with itself: while it might be normal in your culture, it is automatically not for all the others not of your same culture. Now, how’s the deal? Everyone says whatever it wants in the ways it wants, just because “in my culture it’s normal, we do it like that”?
Then, no wonder why communities did and will always fail.
But, don’t forget that everytime we act “normally” based on our culture/whatever, there are plenty of people out there reading/listening/etc. which are percieving the same “normal to you” thing in plenty of different ways, some of which really bad (for whatever context it might be).
Does the fact that it is “normal for my culture” justify the thing itself? No. And you proved yourselves by, rightly, pointing out your opinions to this post, by saying, “oh, in my culture we don’t joke about those words”.
So, if it has to be like that, be consistent, and be always like this specially when you are on the other side of the fence (on the “a la “normal to me”” one).

Because, if everyone of us, nobody excluded, started to put aside this BS of justifying acts because “I always did like that” in place of “ok, it might be ok for me because of whatever, but what about others, which I don’t know, so I don’t know how they might react”, this

this, would (I add almost, outliers are always present) never happen again.

But, I get it, too much effort, right?
A: Why should I change, as long as I am fine with myself.
B: The others?
A: Who else?

Thanks for pointing this out, it’s exactly what I was about to add.
Glad we share the same view here.

About cultural differences, I read that in the paper FreeBSD at 30 Years: Its Secrets to Success about communication problems in their community:

And for projects like FreeBSD that have developers worldwide, it can be difficult to find rules that work in the large diversity of cultures of its developers. The problem is never solved; ultimately there needs to be an ever-evolving methodology on how to keep the project moving forward on an even keel.

And also:

A frequent issue with mailing lists, especially when most folks on them have never met, is that discussion can get off-track and distinctly nasty.

See the Communication section of the paper, it is interesting, as the same problems occur everywhere.

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I’m afraid it’s not all that simple.

The usual “intercultural awareness” that is professed in global companies with employees from many parts of the world are kind of “be not offensive towards other cultures”. Looks good at first, but this has also adverse effects:

  • risk of ending up on a least common set of acceptable behaviors, somehow impowerishing the interactions
  • convergence to what is actually acceptable to the dominant culture of the company. In others words, employees from other cultures are implicitly (and often unconciously) expected to conform to the dominant culture.

Note that I’m not bringing this as a potential excuse for any kind of behavior. Some people may act in a way that would also be upsetting in their own culture (which makes things even more complex, actually).

Concerning cultural/geographical differences, I have a personal light and fun example: my project being released every six months, I thought I could call one release a Spring release :blossom: and the other one an Autumn release :fallen_leaf:. It sounds poetic and gives time information without too much precision.

Wait… It took me a few days to realize that in an international community with people everywhere on Earth, it was nonsensical. Not only seasons of the two hemispheres are inverted, but even in the same hemisphere the seasons may be different. Maybe you have only two seasons for example?

Even with good will, it is not so easy to avoid being culturally/geographically centered… :earth_africa: :upside_down_face:


Perhaps. On the other hand, in certain countries everyone knows that there are six seasons.

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Thanks @mecej4, six seasons sounds fantastic to my ears!

I have just realized that “Google Summer of Code is a global, online program” sounds weird, like an oxymoron…

I have a solution to this. Just use your local time and season, so if it is Spring for you, use it. For example, I use my local time (Mountain Time) and others can do the conversion. And my time is not even the dominant one, in the U.S. that would be Pacific and Eastern. Same with names, I use my name that I was given and is on my birth certificate, Ondřej, but you don’t have to type it like that or pronounce it correctly. So if I release at 9am, I could call it a 9am release, even though it only applies to me. And if you move to the South Hemisphere, and your Spring becomes your Fall, just call it a Fall release.

What I am offering is not the only approach and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it. But if you like it, it’s not necessarily offending to use your local culture and geography. It’s a fine line to walk, I agree, but I think it is worth walking it.

P.S. Regarding the globe, when I lived in Europe, I centered it on Europe (in my mind), now I center it at the U.S. So if you live in India, center it at India. I think that makes perfect sense to me. Always locally.


You make a sticker great again - just 4 words! … think globally, act locally

On the topic of cultural centrism - I was recently in Switzerland and showed one of the locals the Fortran logo we have now adopted. His first thought was not Fortran, but the Swiss Feminist movement, which obviously shares the initial letter F, but also the color:

(Source: Striking Swiss women sum up European laggard’s gender dilemma | Financial Times)

Using the Fortran logo in Switzerland might be misinterpreted as support of the feminist movement.


Well, why not if it is conscious and self-assumed. Else you could believe you convey a timing information about your project, and in fact you rather convey a space/geographical information about yourself.

You can locally teach Fortran to your students or locally attend a Fortran conference. But as soon as you push something on GitHub or post on the Discourse, I don’t know what acting locally means.

Although the servers are local. In the mid-90’s, it was quite common to think that what we called the Cyberspace was nowhere (out of space and therefore out of laws), until the governments understood far latter what was happening and national laws were finally applied to the servers.