17 December 2012

On blogging, sharing and commenting

This is not about code, but about something a fellow developer and blogger told me, which made me quite sad. It’s a kind of personal rant, so feel free to skip it if you are looking for code.

In 2007, after a frustrating search on the internet for a complete and working code sample for whatever it was, I was quite pissed off. And I decided “well if apparently people are too lazy or too much ‘look at me’ superior to post complete and working samples, I will start doing so myself”. I also could have gone to the blogs I visited posting comments like “you moron, this code is incomplete and/or wrong” or “why don’t you stop coding/blogging the cr*p you post is useless”. While technically I would have been right, I don’t think it would have helped me solve my problems. Starting blogging myself did not help me solve that problems either, but at least I had a place where I could dump my own solutions for later reference. Very handy. Apparently other people liked it too.

I was lucky enough to post a few good articles, and a few very dumb ones too, but those were met with “hey, that’s obsolete”, “hey, this is a better solution” or “I think you are missing a few steps” – with links and information. I either did take the articles down, or reworked them with the new information. I was lucky enough not to get lambasted, flamed or receive abusive comments or mails – no, my baby steps were encouraged by a few people – mostly MVPs by the way – who kind of nudged me along the rocky path of the beginning blogger.

That encouragement made me go on, becoming confident enough so that when the occasional abusive comment arrived, I was able to ignore the wording of the comment and fix the error, or challenge the commenter: “so if you are such a know-it-all, why don’t you blog about it - why do you leave me stumbling in the dark making stupid avoidable errors?”.

I recently talked to the beginning blogger I mentioned before, who was severely flamed in the beginning of his ‘career’, and he almost quit blogging of that. The wording I use in the second paragraph are more or less quotes of what he received.

This is really very counterproductive behavior. If you are someone who likes to demonstrate his/her knowledge on someone else’s blog by making demeaning remarks – realize what you are effectively doing is extinguishing enthusiasm that may have grown into the creation of a vast information resource. You are killing creativity, stomping out the sharing flame, making one of the very few willing to take time to share knowledge retreat into his/her shell, maybe never to come back again.

The very short version:

Flaming other people’s blog has never led to more examples and information. If you want more and better examples: stimulate and encourage where you can, correct if you feel you must, and try to behave like a civilized human being.

And above all, start blogging yourself. Don’t be a prick – share. Use your knowledge to improve people, not to tear them down. That’s community. That’s how it works.

Thank you.


@awsomedevisger said...

Hi Joost, this is behavior I have seen many times before. And its not fair. You've done the right thing here, and I really like it :) I am also here to help where I can.

@awsomedevisger said...

This is really a good thing you have done here. I help also where I can, and I don't tolerate bashing. Thank you for your statement.