I’m not usually one for talking about how criticism affects people: either on Twitter, at conferences or elsewhere.

I am of course talking about the community’s reaction to a few of us getting together in London yesterday for the Responsive Summit. Yes, yes. Stupid name.

But today, I’ve had enough.

  • Repeatedly attacking someone, or a group of people, for trying to do the right thing is not cool.
  • Inferring that a bunch of friends and peers are elitist simply because they decided to get together to talk about something is not cool.
  • Expecting said people to ignore personal and professional attacks is not cool.
  • Expecting said people to ‘not be defensive’ is not cool. How would you feel?
  • Think. Would you really say some of those things to people’s faces?

Attacking someone on Twitter is like a verbal drive-by: it’s at a distance and you don’t stick around to see the consequences.

I’d like to ask you how you would feel? Personally, I attended yesterday’s meeting leaving a sick family in Cardiff – who could really have done with me being there. I went because I felt it was important: not for me, my business, but for this period in time of web design. People have said it before, it feels like just before Web Standards happened. I was there for that, but wasn’t directly involved. I have a chance to be involved in this, and I’m trying any way I can to help. I ask those people: what are you doing?

This isn’t really about me feeling sorry for myself. For once, I’m reacting to being attacked. The notion of ‘not feeding the trolls’ is equivalent to saying to a victim of bullying: ‘oh, just ignore them’. At some point, you have to stand up for who you are, what you believe and defend yourself. Because if you don’t, who’s going to?

To answer some of the concerns that come up again and again about yesterday:

  • ‘Summit’: Yes, we know it was a dumb name, and we’re sorry.
  • ‘Elitist wankers’: It wasn’t invite only, people asked to attend and they did.
  • ‘Why wasn’t I invited?’: It was a small room, so the whole internet couldn’t fit. It was pulled together very quickly.
  • ‘What did you talk about?’: We’re going to blog about what we discussed.
  • We’re collaborating on techniques and tools.
  • We’re not telling anyone how to do stuff and deciding your fate (how could we even do that?)

I’m finishing off a long blog post about yesterday covering some of the things we discussed about workflow, and talking about how we work here at Mark Boulton Design. I’ll post that later today.