🏆 I provide private lessons on Emacs, Linux, and Life in general: https://protesilaos.com/coach/. Lessons continue throughout the year.

Open letter to Drew DeVault against the haters

I just read Drew DeVault’s blog post titled “bleh” and decided to email them about it. What follows is the message I sent. A verbatim copy of the Emacs buffer:

From: Protesilaos Stavrou <public@protesilaos.com>
To: Drew DeVault <sir@cmpwn.com>
Subject: Thank you!
Fcc: pub/Sent
User-Agent: Notmuch/0.36 (https://notmuchmail.org) Emacs/29.0.50 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)
Hello Drew,

We do not know each other: I have been following your blog for ~4 years
and consider you a force for good in the free software space.

Recently, I moved all my Emacs-related projects to SourceHut and became
a paying customer.  I picked the cheapest tier because I could not
afford more, though I plan/hope to contribute more financially in the
future.  I encouraged others via my blog to support SourceHut as well.

I am writing this as a public letter in response to your blog post
titled "bleh": <https://drewdevault.com/2022/05/30/bleh.html>.  By
"public letter", I mean that I will post this on my website for others
to read.

You mention that you have to deal with haters and admit you are mentally
affected by their toxicity.  I cannot know how you feel and will not
pretend to have solutions to your predicament.  All I can note is that I
expect there to be more people like me who (i) appreciate you as a
person based on what you have shared online, (ii) respect your
contributions, and (iii) are not openly stating their support towards
you on mailing lists or other fora.

Your task is that of creativity: it is the difficult one, because it has
to make something out of nothing; it has to challenge the status quo and
open new ways for people like me to follow in your footsteps.   As such,
it is difficult, yet noble and inspiring.

In a sense, the haters have it easy: they just need to attack you in
person, without making any effort to engage in a meaningful exchange.
The hater cannot lead by example: if we all become haters, we will
revert to a chaotic state where everyone is pitted against everybody
else and no-one works towards our betterment.  The hater's world is a
race to the bottom.

I do not want to live in a milieu where creative folks---leaders---like
you are overwhelmed by the inane nay-saying of what likely is a loud

There is no need to grow an even thicker skin.  Hardness is not
sufficient, no matter its degree.  You will never be unbreakable.
Resilience also requires flexibility.  You are already doing that by
publicly admitting your feelings in the aforementioned blog post: you
state what should be obvious, i.e. the fact you have feelings.  The next
step is to acknowledge that haters are a fact of life: annoying, yes;
unwelcome, yes; but a fact nonetheless.  You might want to win them
over, though you will eventually realise they are a lost cause.  History
remembers those who have something to give.  We, in present time,
benefit from such contributions and are inspired to do the same.

Thank you for everything, Drew!

All the best,
Protesilaos (or simply "Prot")

Protesilaos Stavrou