There’s been a lot of drama in the web development community lately. Most of it is centered around JavaScript, and more specifically React. That’s not unusual, but what seems different right now is the amount of toxicity that’s been injected into the discourse.

I don’t really want to name names, because I’m not trying to shame anyone in particular. But all the examples I’m about to bring up are from prominent voices in the community. You’ve seen their faces. You’ve gotten their hot takes in your feeds.

One developer wrote a reasonable blog post saying, essentially, that developers are trying to make the best tradeoffs they can, in response to another post sharply criticizing React. The author of the original post — another prominent developer — found the response and accused its author of “white knighting” for Facebook and Vercel.

Another developer wrote a post about how most of the web actually runs on Wordpress and not the JavaScript frameworks that dominate the conversation. Fair enough! Except they also went out of their way to call the fact that only 4% of the top ten million sites use React pathetic (emphasis theirs).

When called out on using that word, they justified it by saying that React has been overhyped by unpleasant people. Earlier the same day, they’d posted on Mastodon about a “weird Mormon dude” and his take on TypeScript. Who’s supposed to be unpleasant here?

A popular React influencer told someone they were trying to make themselves feel better about being left behind. It’s like a crypto bro telling someone who won’t get on board to “have fun staying poor”. We don’t need to import that attitude into the web development community.

Most alarmingly, someone said in a discussion that a member of the React team contacted their boss over a critical tweet they made. I don’t even have words for how not okay that is. What the actual fuck.

Can we just… not?

Something is very wrong when your feelings about a JavaScript framework lead you to insult someone’s religion, or to contact their boss.

Again, these aren’t random trolls on Twitter. They’re influential accounts who have hundreds of thousands of followers between them. They’re the “thought leaders” of our community. And right now, they’re causing a ton of toxicity.

You know what will hurt web development the most? What will discourage beginners and prevent us all from building better things? This right here. No one wants to feel like they’re doing something morally wrong by choosing a framework, or like they’re being left behind if they don’t.

I don’t really have a conclusion. Be good to each other, I suppose. We’re all just out here trying our best.