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The Cult of The Free

Peter-Paul Koch:

I find I Love MDN demeaning to technical writers. It reminds me of breaking into spontaneous applause for our courageous health workers instead of funding them properly, so they can do their jobs.

It pretends technical writing is something that can be done by ‘the community’, i.e. random people, instead of being a job that requires very specialized skills. If you deny these skills exist by pretending anyone can do it, you’re demeaning the people who have actually taken the time and trouble to build up those skills.

In addition, I see the ‘I Love MDN’ initiative as an example of the cult of the free, of everything that’s wrong with the web development community today. The co-signers unthinkingly assume they are entitled to free content.

Unthinking is the keyword here. I do not doubt that the intentions of the organizers and co-signers are good, and that they did not mean to bring across any of the nasty things I said above and will say below. They just want to show MDN contributors that their work is being valued.

That’s nice. But it’s not enough. Far from it.

PPK knows a thing or two about the work that goes into compiling and checking technical information about web development.

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