Console Culture: Considered discussion

Console Culture: Considered discussion

There’s a reason why scientific peer-review and RFCs are important - ideas are improved through debate and disagreement!

Console’s mission is to help developers find the best tools. As part of that mission, we spent time thinking about what kind of culture would best help us achieve it.

We came up with four values:

Our values are linked in the posts above. This blog post explains the final one: considered discussion.

Considered discussion

There’s a reason why scientific peer-review and RFCs are important - ideas are improved through debate and disagreement! This is not about being difficult or confrontational, but by challenging in a friendly way and always giving people the benefit of the doubt, we can improve how we do things.

We will

  • Debate the idea, not the person.
  • Actively encourage everyone to provide feedback without fear.

We will not

  • Use an aggressive or overly adversarial approach to debating.

Examples

Our focus on transparency means that when we debate ideas, everyone has the same level of information about the problem or situation we're discussing. This is crucial to ensure that we can make the most of our various skills. We achieve this mainly through writing.

Firstly, we share a monthly status update on this blog based on weekly internal status updates, so everyone is on the same page about the business status, metrics, challenges and successes.

Secondly, we don't really use group chat. Instead, we use group messages through discussion threads in Basecamp. This means there is time to read, think, and draft a considered response. We often continue the discussion in a video call knowing everyone has at least read the context, then post notes from the call so we can record decisions and refer to them.

Group chat is the best way to stress out your team. We do not expect an immediate response (to chat or messages) and you can choose when and whether to participate in any discussions. If it will matter after today, don’t put it in chat - create a message instead.

Finally, we make special effort to allow dissenting views about how we approach things. For example, in April we participated in DevX Conf which made good use of Discord for the conference, so we debated whether we should change our approach to chat. Even though we know the drawbacks of having always-on chat, a lot of our audience and community use Discord. We decided against it for now, but this is an example of where we might change our opinion in the future through a considered discussion.

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