How one engages with another (ie: communicates) is the fundamental skill needed to organize, plan, and inform others the intent and purpose of a project, what quality of code is needed, what steps are necessary to ensure the code measures up to that quality, etc.
If your claim that communication as a "social skill" should not be discussed in a programming project because it's a distraction, then I think you've failed to grasp just how different each person communicates.
Yes, right now, I am communicating to you via text, but that is the medium by which we communicate. I am striving to press onto you that the tone, context, syntax, and other variables factor into how a message is constructed by the originator, but once that message is sent, the originator has no control over how the receiver(s) interprets it.
If the receiver is insulted, then you may chalk them up as a "SJW" (whatever that is) and ignore them. But you may have unwittingly used words and/or arranged the words so that your original tone and intention is lost and can instead be read as demeaning.
In my own career, I struggle with expressing my thoughts off the cuff. I tend to do well when I can take the time to write, review, and refactor my message. Perhaps remove sections related to a separate topic. We are not created nor grow with the same skills as anyone else at communicating let alone anything else.
In my last project of over 2 years, our team of 10+ individuals had to build up a common terminology for our project. Between the technical teams, the business folks, and our designers, we needed to ensure we were talking about the same thing and able to express, sometimes with diagrams or drawings, what we were saying. Eventually, we got on the same foot. But communication had to be a topic of conversation because that was one area where we had a problem, not a big problem, but a problem just the same.
And we were professional enough to be able to communicate our confusion and misunderstandings without being insulting. Though one person did leave after two months because he joined the project under the mistaken belief that he was the only backend engineer when, in fact, he joined our existing backend team. That misunderstanding caused him to feel insulted that "non-backend engineers" (ie: the lead backend engineer and the two other backend engineers) were giving him feedback, critiques, or expressing doubts about the work he wanted to do.
I believe communication is important whether at your job or on side projects hosted online. I would even say it is more important when everyone is just online, because that limits the means by which to communicate and no one shares the same corporate culture or direction.
If you want to excel at getting your point across, you have to be able to understand the limitations of the medium by which you communicate, your own limitations at communicating, how your initial message may be mis-read and refactor it to reduce confusion, so the core message is imparted.
This. Being toxic to coworkers doesn't produce better work. Sure, don't hand hold them, but being professional and encouraging doesn't mean you're bowing down to all the precious snowflakes out there, it means you are not a sociopath.
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