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#1 gregwhitworth  Icon User is offline

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Why I love the developer community

Post icon  Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:11 PM

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This past week I was having a discussion with a friend about their work and how they're tired of people ripping other people's ideas off for their own selfish gain and how he had asked a simple question and was ridiculed for his views by people that found their own far more superior.

I realized that this is why I love the development community so much. Sure you have some code snobs here or there and your fan-boys, but most of the time you have people that are willing to give their time and efforts to help lift other people up. There are hundreds (if not thousands, I'm too lazy to get facts on the exact count) of very popular sites that will teach you how to do just about anything on the internet using tutorials, snippets, e-books, blogs, even screen casts. And, if what you're looking for isn't there there are also numerous successful sites, such as the one you're on, where you can ask the question and get free help from experts in the field.

Now you will of course have bad apples that just gloat, or look down on questions that they deem too elementary to be asking. But what's great, is you will usually see the community knock that person down for being so smug.

I wouldn't be where I am in this profession if it wasn't for the hundreds of strangers that took their time to answer my newby questions and point me in the right direction and I am very grateful for that.

I would love to know your thoughts on the strengths and even the weaknesses of the developer community (DIC, StackOverflow, Geeklist, Git).

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Replies To: Why I love the developer community

#2 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why I love the developer community

Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:41 AM

Ya, I love the community, truly. There's a...culture to it almost.

I mean, a lot of it is just thinking like machines, right? That's what we do. If A then B else C end if, or A = B ? C : D.

We're very logical, most of the time. Not that we can't get emotional, but I think there's a certain thing that leads us all to the same state of mind: logic. Unlike in other logic-focused communities though, such as Philosophy, we don't have an emotional investment in defending our position. Debaters, philosophers, etc, all tend to be emotionally invested - often due to the amount of thought and work they put in to their position. We less so.

Contrariwise, our culture focuses on efficiency, best practice, inter-personal communication, and refactoring. We know that even when we're writing at our best, there may be a way to do it better - and we're not emotionally invested in our code (most of the time). When we see something that works better, we're able to analyze it and learn from it, and rather than argue about it we integrate it. We know that just because code works, doesn't mean that it's good code.

We also strive to be better than we are. We reach out to others for review in a very, very academic fashion. At least I do. I'll post code snippets and ask people to pick it apart so I can learn from it. Others do as well. I doubt a single person here started their education in code at school, I'll bet every single one of us had dabbled and self-taught to at least a small degree, and every one of us knows how valuable it is to have this information available so others can do just that. Some may look at it as "paying it forward" - I look at it as a way to keep myself thinking and focused, to exercise my mind. I don't get the opportunity to help as often as I would like, I'm still a fresh journeyman, but I try where I can.

In helping others grow, we grow ourselves.

TL:DR We're awesome because the way we think and grow leads us towards community-focused frames of mind.
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#3 magius96  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why I love the developer community

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:03 PM

I never considered philosophy to be a logic based thing...Sure some of it can be attributed to logic, but some of it lies outside the realm of logic and can only be attributed to emotional or spiritual ties.

As programmers we are a creative bunch, but that's because what we work with is so black and white. Your code either works or it doesn't, the value of the register is either on or off, and so forth. In our work there is no real in-between, it either is, or it isn't. That doesn't take much creativity, because of that we have learned to take our knowledge of computer logic and be creative with how it's used to solve problems.

This creative logic mind-set is a mind-set that all programmers share, regardless of what language they work in. This universal mind-set helps to unify us all into one common goal, the continued advancement of our trade through self exploration and external aid giving.

Sure there are jerks that want to put others down, but those are usually new programmers trying to make themselves look big, or old programmers that are starting to feel like technology is leaving them behind. Of course there are a few that are just plain arse hats who don't care about giving back to the community that gave so much to them, and there's nothing we can do about that except fight back when they rear their ugly heads.

I've worked in a few other professional sectors, and I do have to admit that I have never felt such a feeling of community as I do in the programming community. My post count may be a bit low compared to other members, but I've still been here a long time, lurking around in the corners watching and learning.

When I first came here, it was because I needed help. I was relatively new to the language I was working with, and am still working with. I've now come to the point where I can help others, and I do because someone else was willing to help me. Even when I asked nearly impossible questions, someone was willing to try and help, or at least admit that the question was too complex for anyone to really help. But even when the question was too complex, they were still willing to try and point me in the right directions.
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