Merit Isn't One Thing
I LOVE YOU ALL WITH A GREAT HUGE LOVE
It is my philosophical habit to look for words people are using in some particular way different from my own. It is trivial to see that a meritocracy requires a definition of "merit". I also notice that all communities are meritocracies. That is, a group tends to elevate those among them in which they see the greatest merit—according to the group's definition of merit. So, this is clearly not a distinguishing characteristic, nor any sort of explanation for the unfriendliness of (unfriendly) technical communities.
The truth is, of course, that programming skill is only one small facet of a person. It is important if programs need programming. It is unimportant if a friend needs friendship.
In times when our technical communities were smaller, and attracted people of a particular ilk who tolerated or even enjoyed the harsh style of social interaction they found, all was well. Today these communities are far larger and, more diverse, both in terms of types of people and of the interests of those people.
It's time for the definition of "merit" to change, to expand. Given the amount of time I spend in and around technical communities, if they were not as diverse as they actually are, I would be very unhappy. All sorts of people and all sorts of merit are needed to make a coherent, sustainable and enjoyable community. I love your code, thank you for working on it so hard and making it available, but, even if you didn't do that, I would want to be your friend.