Some days ago I left the following comment at Chris Hartjes’ article “Trusting Magic Methods”:
Personally, I don’t trust CakePHP, because a) tests are missing, and b) some existing tests fail (at the moment I get 11 failures and 3 exceptions with rev. 5568). But as I trust my own tests it doesn’t matter much whether the underlying framework is trustworthy or not…
It caused some reactions behind the scenes in the form of: “How could you write such a comment as a CakePHP contributor?! It puts CakePHP and the team in a bad light!”
Sure, being affiliated with a certain group comes with some responsibilities and implies you have to be more careful in what you say in public. Most of the time it is obvious whether you can say something or not. But in some cases like the comment above it is more difficult. Should you say what you think and indirectly criticize people in the group, or not? Is it even criticizing if you mention some (negative?) facts everyone else can easily verify? As you see, it is a tightrope walk… for some it is ok to write such a comment whereas others would never write such a comment.
If a comment takes this inner hurdle and gets effectively written, you loose the control about it. You don’t have any control about how the readers will interpret it. Everyone interprets it in the way he wants. Some see it negative, others neutral, and the last ones interpret it in a positive way. Even though everyone reads the same, the message they get can be completely different. For the comment above the messages could be:
“A guy bitching about missing and failing tests” (negative)
“A guy who writes his own tests because some tests in CakePHP are missing resp. failing” (neutral)
“A guy who inspires me to write my own tests” (positive)
Can you do something against that? I doubt it. You simply have to live with it (and its potential consequences).
To sum up, I can say you have to say what is ok for you to say, and to accept that not everyone will get the same message of what you are saying.