When I went looking for data, the main source was GitHub contributors so I would count anyone who creates or improves comments, issues, code, or documentation. The reason I didn’t go with contributor in the original question is that it’s too broad of a term. A user of a platform, even a scraper is technically contributing something to the overall project but I want to hone in on people who help the Fediverse progress and develop. Perhaps it’s better to say “More contributors of issues, docs, designs, and code”.
I’m sorry to hear about this experience. On the one hand I like the word contributor here, as it’s presented in context rather than the attempt to redefine developer, and in that case I’d call developers contributors as well.
The real issue is this idea of being on equal footing with the programmer. I’ve seen this pattern before and it’s always disappointing when different peoples’ opinions carry weight that is based on the kind of work they do and I see it as counter-productive. A strong project needs everyone: testers, documenters, cheerleaders, coders, designers, and many others.
What we should foster is an environment where everyone is invited to bring their best. When conflict develops, it should have an outlet which helps the project move forward perhaps with independence rather than turning people off or sending them far away.
So I agree on the solidarity point and not just on a community operations standpoint but also in terms of goals. The shared goals that I’ve observed most commonly are defined in the negative, against tracking, protection against harassment, not-using big tech platforms and while I agree that those are important issues to deal with, I’d love to see a more principled construction. The FSF has the four freedoms. Maybe the fedi can have some universal human goods that it seeks.
If you want to pursue this solidarity problem, I’d recommend creating another thread. It would be interesting to explore any data around that problem and then invite more solutions than the universal human goods manifesto I’m alluding to.