Disclaimer: This is mostly a (non-tech) meta post.
I just learned that the Rust moderation team resigned 3 weeks ago. While I have no insight into what happened there (and don't really want to inquire), I would like to give a short feedback on my personal experience within the Rust community, and within the tech-scene in general.
I marked this as “meta”, and I hope it's okay to post this. If not, I'd kindly ask the moderators to close this thread or remove my post (but I didn't recognize any rule why I shouldn't post it, so I'll just go ahead for now).
First some things about my background: When filling out the Rust survey 2021, I was asked if I belonged to a marginalized or underrepresented group. It's not been easy for me to answer that question. Being a white (cis) male, certainly doesn't qualify me as being marginalized or underrepresented, and a diverse sexual orientation is becoming more and more accepted, at least in the cultural area where I'm living (Germany). I never encountered evidently homophobic conduct, for example (neither in the Rust community, nor elsewhere in a tech-community). Side note: I don't want to imply that other people are same lucky, and I'm happy that there are efforts to maintain a Code of Conduct in that matter. I consider this to be absolutely necessary.
That said, I have often felt really sh*tty in tech-centered communities. I'm not talking about the Rust community in particular now, but more generally the hacking scene and other tech-related communities. You particularly often meet people who show off their (alledged) superiority (nothing wrong with that) while at the same time they are debasing others (and that's the part that's really bad). Sometimes this happens in a blunt fasion, or subtle, which doesn't make it much better (as it makes you feel like you can't even complain about it, or wonder if it's your own fault for being not welcome). Simply not feeling welcome can be a good reason to just leave a community (especially when you're a sensitive person).
When starting to chat here (on the Rust User Forum), it all felt very different, in a positive way! There was this huge number of people who'd be very helpful and interested in either abstract ideas or concrete problems. I sometimes even felt guilty for asking about something where people then spent hours to write well-thought responses to illuminate a certain technical aspect. I would like to express my explicit gratitude to everyone who's helping out on this forum – whether with outstanding expertise, personal encouragement, wild assumptions, creative ideas, bad shots, or painstaking accuracy. I'm trying my best to give something back to the community because you people really helped me out very often! A big thanks again!
Nontheless, I had bad moments on this forum too, and I think that's partially because I've been growing very sensitive from my experiences in the tech-scene, which sometimes might make me overreact when people respond in a harsh way or point out how wrong I am with something I do or attempt to do in Rust.
I think Rust is a very unusual language, and when you're new to Rust (like me), it can be very difficult to adapt to certain concepts. This sometimes leads to situations where you question yourself, “Is Rust just plain stupid, or am I just not getting how things are supposed to work in Rust?” I had more than one situation where I thought “Rust must be buggy, this can't be, Rust is wrong, this must be a compiler error, the standard library is flawed, etc.” Most of the times, I was wrong.
I see a lot of people who post on this forum questioning how things work in Rust, and I think – given how special Rust is in some regards – this isn't really a surprise. I can understand how this sometimes may become annoying to those people who are mastering Rust for many years to hear the same (wrong) ideas over and over again. But I think it's very important to be patient with newcomers and to understand their way of seeing and perceiving the language. Also, sometimes critique is well-founded, and let's admit: Rust isn't perfect! (even though it gets pretty close, IMHO)
Sometimes, wording really matters. I feel less bad when someone tells me “this is not the way it's usually done in Rust, for the following reasons: …” instead of “You're doing it wrong, you're having a wrong understanding in your mind about how Rust works, you should get used to how we do things in Rust!” The first is helpful, the latter makes me feel a bit… “wrong”. Nonetheless, I do believe that most (or even all) comments were well-meant, and I know I can sometimes be a bit sensitive and I'd like to apologize at this point once more if I sometimes overreacted in the past to some responses that made me feel unwelcome.
I would like to encourage everyone to keep an open mind to unusual (or exotic) ideas, to remember the trouble that newcomers go through, to not get mad when people ask “Why?”, and to bear in mind that the particular choice of words may really matter for some recipients.
From what I can see from the outside, the Rust team is doing very good work. Please keep up that good work, and please maintain a Code of Conduct to make everyone feel welcome. Rust is an amazing language!