life happens

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life happens is a summary expression of numerous things that people experience in their actual physical lives that suddenly take higher priority than nearly anything else (like participation in volunteer-based communities), and the IndieWeb community is here to acknowledge, accept, and be supportive of community members experiencing this.


This page is here to acknowledge that yes, life happens, and that the IndieWeb community believes in mutual care-taking as a form of community resiliency.

This page is here to let you know that if and when "life happens" to you that:

  • we want you to take care of what you need to take care of
  • you are encouraged to prioritize those things most important to you, and that the IndieWeb community will not judge or shame you in any way
  • you should not feel guilty about being absent, or abruptly having to stop participating
  • it is ok to ask for help in the community with any of your community projects or areas of participation, no matter what size or importance
  • the community will be here for you when you’re able to and want to return

This page may be imperfect, but we'd like to capture that we have some consensus about community mutual care-taking.


How life happens

How life happens: a short list of things that folks have experienced (or expect to experience) in the IndieWeb community that has (often unexpectedly) made them have to take a break (sometimes for years or indeterminately), from the community, their projects, their website, or all the above.

In no particular order:

  • starting a new job (e.g. that takes up all your time, and/or polices what you can say online, or where you may participate)
  • having a child (acknowledging that there are lots of family shapes, without judgment about any)
  • going through a bad breakup / divorce
  • becoming an essential caregiver to a parent or other family member (e.g. caring for aging / sick / critically ill people)
  • buying a house (often associated with a shift in focus of personal project time)
  • home repairs or renovations (similar to "new house" project time, or urgent repairs)
  • death of a family member, friend, pet
  • getting married
  • eviction and/or moving
  • dealing with a major injury or illness
  • job loss
  • needing to focus on school work or other major work projects (exams, final exams, theses, etc.)
  • holiday & religious commitments (especially during the months of December and Ramadan)
  • changes in other social activities or hobbies
  • ... not a complete list!

If you have experienced similar things (or know of community members who have), please add, and please do not cite individuals or provide any individually identifiable details in the list.

Naming and listing these things as being both expected and ok helps to normalize them, and remove any silent shame or guilt that anyone might feel when "life happens" to them.

This list is not meant to be comprehensive by any measure. For a much longer life changes stress list, see: (no need to replicate that here).

How to help

If you notice someone active in the community is missing, if you feel you know them well enough, you’re encouraged to reach out and unobtrusively check on them, and ask (within your capacity) if there’s anything you can do to help out with any community projects or areas of participation.

Keep in mind that on top of these life changes and stresses, the need to make changes to social activities (like decreasing or ceasing participation in the IndieWeb community) can be an added additional compounding stress on top of the others. Our goal should be to mitigate this additional stress as much as possible.

How to repair

You might notice that one or more projects, wiki pages, or sections appear to be abandoned or in disrepair. This could be for any number of reasons, so it’s best to ask about it in a discussion channel to see if anyone knows what’s going on. If it appears someone is missing (for any reason), you may do kind and respectful repairs on related pages (wikifying), in a manner that attempts to minimize or avoid any guilt or shame, and ideally makes it clear they are welcome back any time.

If you come across an IndieWeb Examples section on a page where the links either don’t work (404, broken in some other way, or support appears to have been dropped), move that specific IndieWeb Example to a "Past Examples" section, and fix the links with Internet Archive versions, perhaps at a point in time of when the links were published (e.g. permalinks with dates in their paths), or by viewing history on the wiki page and determining when the broken links were added.

Other Examples

We have not seen any other OSS or other similar open communities capture such a sentiment and hope the IndieWeb community can set a good example here for making a community more humane and caring (rather than the "just work harder" capitalist default, or quiet unemotional detached neglect).

That being said, we’re definitely interested in knowing about any other communities with any similar explicit sentiments / statements of community care, especially those that acknowledge that members of a community may experience things which are more important to them than their participation in that community, and being supportive of that.

Posts About

Posts and tweets about "Life Happens"

See Also