Nerd Culture

A post entitled “Nerds, we need to have a talk” has been one of the top items on Hacker News all day today. You can find the article here. The author says:

My fellow nerds, geeks, hackers, designers, makers, builders, and DIYers, there is something very very wrong with our culture right now.

We’re jackasses to one another.

No we’re not! Right? Geeks help each other out! Well, sometimes we do, but most of the time, we’re the most abrasive, critical, non-cooperative community of people I’ve ever encountered. How many websites are there like the daily wtf? Or clients from hell? Or photoshop disasters?

How many blog posts have been written about how everybody is doing everything WRONG! Stop using comic sans, GOD DAMNIT! What are you, illiterate? “Grammar nazis” are engrained into our culture, and disregarding something somebody has sed because of of minor misspelling is a common, accepted, and even expected practice.

I agree with this in part – but I don’t think that destructive commentary the only kind of crticisim the hacker community produces. Granted, when we first launched FavoriteThing.Me we were hammered all day long by people trying to hack it after we put it on Hacker News. People tried MySQL injection to make us lose our database records, and they inserted javascript into our pages to make them forward to outside URLs. Some of it was borderline malicious, and definitely annoying. It can be enough to make you not want to ask the developer community what they think of your app again.

But on the other side, in my opinion, the developer community fosters some of the most helpful and selfless individuals anywhere. When WhereMyFriends.Be got some attention we got numerous emails from people offering us help and advice. And they didn’t want anything in return. It was unbelievable. In no other industry will your “competitors” (I mean it in the loose sense of the word) willingly come to your rescue, and impart their hard won knowledge to keep your endeavour from sinking. 

So yes, there is a group of people in the developer community that likes to rip apart everything they see. But let’s not let them color the vast majority of coders out there who contribute knowledge, wisdom and insight on a daily basis without asking for a cent. They are the glue that holds us together. And they shouldn’t be overlooked.

15 Mar 2011, 7:32am | 1 comment


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