Tim Hordern

I ♥ building amazing products and teams. QA + Product + DevOps + Fast = Awesome.

Building Not Bullying

Do you want to help build a better software community? Do you want to encourage up and coming developers? Encourage others to get involved in a new language?

A slightly different way of looking at other’s people’s work can help dramatically.

Here’s a simple suggestion for how you can improve your interaction with other people who are also building things.

Don’t be a bully, instead help them build it.

When somebody has written some code to solve a problem they have, don’t automatically say:

“Why did you bother? This thing over here already does that!”

This is particularly a problem in the Ruby and Rails communities, which have a large established code base with many many unique gems (you often hear “There’s a gem for that” as experienced Ruby developers belittle junior developers). But it happens in lots of places, particularly the horrible Hacker News echo chamber.

Try something like this instead:

“That’s awesome, looks like you’re solving a similar problem as {software} does. You might want to check that out for inspiration and see how they solved it. Do you need any help with solving {problem}?”

Look at the difference. You’ve celebrated at how far they’ve got, recognised the parallels in the problem they’re solving, given them somewhere else to research and learn, and offered your help.

Don’t nag them as though they have wasted time. Celebrate that they have learnt something, show them how others have tread that path, and get the hell out of their way.

Don’t automatically assume that they’re solving the exact same problem as well. Often, they may actually be working on a different problem, or they will come up with a different way of solving it.

But basically, don’t be a bully.