I hesitated to write this post. I want to discuss what I believe is a cultural problem in the LÖVE community. As an ardent fan and supporter of LÖVE, I want to see the project grow more popular and successful. But I have had had a festering, growing concern that one aspect of the community that is hurting LÖVE, and today I want to talk about that.
An Important Note
The last thing I want is for this post to come across as some kind of witch hunt. I am not pretending to be some ‘White Knight With The Answers‘ seeking to exert my opinions about what is ‘Right’ on the community out of a misplaced assumption that what I am going to say is inherently and objectively better. That is far from the truth; that said, I will be providing suggestions about which I feel strongly. My own participation in the community has contributed to the problem I will discuss, out of my own failure to speak up at the very least.
I will be mentioning some specific projects but I have no intentions of personally calling out the authors. Nothing positive would come of it and it would not fester a fruitful discussion.
That said, allow me to begin.
Today I read this in a message about a new game
[It] Uses middleclass, ATL, hardoncollider, cock, hump, quickie, and love2d-assets-loader, so thanks to the authors of those. Yous [guys] made my job much simpler….
The author is naming popular libraries in the LÖVE world. But take a pause to look at the names, especially in the post above where the author lists them in quick succession:
Here are some others I see used in LÖVE games:
- Simple Educative Class System (i.e. ‘SECS’)
A lot of you can guess where I’m about to go with this.
Reputations and Perceptions
The LÖVE community nurtures this idea that it is acceptable to name useful libraries as if they were a series of pre-teen sex jokes. I stress the word ‘useful’ because I would like to use these libraries. But when people are writing sentences such as…
[It] uses middleclass, ATL, HardonCollider, cock, hump, quickie…
…then I simply cannot do it. It is creates an atmosphere of a juvenile boys-club that feels they are being funny without seriously considering the types of people they turn away because of this. One year ago—to the day—this discussion happened. Focus on the results from users with old ‘Join’ dates and high amounts of posts, because they are influential in the community.
And for the most part I don’t think they see this as a problem at all. I mean, the first response is:
Period. That’s it.
Is this the best way to handle this?
How This Hurts the Community
Going back to the original forum post I quoted, the way the author rattles off a bunch of library names related to penises and sexual intercourse seriously dissuades me from recommending LÖVE to people in the future. The ready acceptance of such names—not to mention their adamant defense by stalwarts of the community—erode what confidence I have in suggesting LÖVE to other developers. There is a place for joking around and having fun, and then there is flat-out unprofessionalism. LÖVE’s freedoms of use and free price does not justify the childish naming of suggestion of so many genuinely useful libraries. Some of these libraries I want to use on my own game, but honestly am I not going to do that if it means I have to credit ‘Cock’ and ‘AnAL‘ in the credits (because I’m not using a library without crediting the authors). And so I end up reimplementing things because the immature nature of these libraries can reflect poorly on my own professionalism—how many people in the tech industry, regardless of gender, want to work with a developer who writes about how nice ‘AnAL’ is? Seriously.
A Way Forward
The LÖVE community is full of smart people and I know they could come up with less socially awkward/confrontational names if they tried. I hope they try; I would be willing to help. Because the more I see such names and see them emphatically defended, the more confidence I lose when it comes to recommended LÖVE to anyone in the future.
Update (11 February 2014): People pointed out that most libraries mentioned in this article use licenses which allow renaming them.