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Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦
Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Posted on • Updated on

This is what gatekeeping looks like in the cloud industry (or how to not be a reply guy)

I was recently working on expanding the definition of multi-cloud based on what I had observed as a shift in language being used by cloud vendors and cloud service providers.

So I thought to go to twitter to give a two sentence example of the expansion of the term to gauge interest before I wrote a new article.

My primary goal is to make cloud more accessible by being inclusive of people who do not yet use a cloud service provider (CSP) but primary rely on cloud services like Heroku, Github, JIRA to treat them like first-class cloud citizens.

I am open to hearing people voice their thoughts, but when it becomes a back and forth, where I've been pulled into unwanted argument that doesn't relent, when my replies serve to save face and the end the conversation for future discussion on a more suited platform, and yet the person continues I know I am experiencing gatekeeping.

What does gatekeeping look like in the cloud industry? πŸ‘‡

Gatekeeping comes in many forms, and one form of gatekeeping which is the easiest to come across is the argument around the definition of emerging terminologies. For example:

  1. When someone argues DevOps isn't a thing, because they were doing this stuff before DevOps existed, and they relentlessly argue the dismantling of the term.

  2. When someone argues Zero Trust Model isn't a thing, because they were doing this stuff before Zero Trust Model existed, and they relentlessly argue the dismantling of the term.

  3. When someone argues Multi-cloud term can't be expanded or changed, because they were doing this stuff and have an expected definition, and they relentlessly argue any form of change of the term.

  4. When someone argues that Serverless has to be described as a mindset and can't just be utilizing serverless services because they were doing this stuff before anyone else was doing this stuff.

While it's possible that terms may be overused and become annoying, you need to consider terms like DevOps have done more to bring people into the fold of systems operations than would not have been.

The gatekeeper's thoughts about gatekeeping

If you were to confront a gatekeeper, its not hard to predict the outcome:

A gatekeeper's first thought is we cannot have any discussion around tech terminologies because they'll be viewed upon as gatekeeping! Evenly possibly its a silencing or muting tactic to surpass criticism.

To which I say, we can have productive conversations, but you need to be aware of:

  • your position in the hierarchy relative to who you're talking to
  • the format of the discussion and its limitations
  • the intended shared outcome

before you open your mouth to begin a discussion so it does not become an argument.

Once a gatekeeper not always a gatekeeper

I am certain that I have had instances of gatekeeping in the past. (I am Star Trek fan!)

But it's not a permanent label, and it can be mild to severe.

Is it Gatekeeping and Self-preservation?

I think Chris had a good thought here.

Is there a distinguish between Gatekeeping and Self-preservation, and can one be acting in a Self-preservation way without also being a gatekeeper?

I would think that to preserve one's position, a bi-product of that would be gatekeeping.


It's not my goal here to convince a person they are gatekeeping, for you to confront instances of gatekeepers, but to validate that it does occur, and what I think it looks like.

  • What does gatekeeping look like to you?
  • Do you have any personal stories you can could share with us?

Top comments (2)

ibrahimcesar profile image
Ibrahim Cesar

I have one that I wrote a simple article asking for a price cap. In the article I had written about alarms and other situations… Well, people patronized and suggested the alarms anyway- I think they even not have read what I wrote. And not only in the text but a lot of times on Twitter. They jump to conclusions and start to β€œeducate” the other person.

I tried to talk about the β€œtrillion dollar paradox” of Cloud with the authors and they simple dismissed as β€œnot the case”. Maybe the Global South of the World doesn’t matter to people living in America.

andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ • Edited

I am uncertain if this is a US-centric mode of thinking or generational period of tech communication that was cultured between the 2000s-2010s.

I do remember this behaviour being the strived form for a Hacker News comment where having a well written comment that formally debated for dismantling articles on technicalities was important so you would receive lots of back-patting in hopes you would be ushered through the gates into senior tech status.

I would say at one point I believed this was something you would want to achieve but now I don't think or act like this anymore. I think the new term being used for this behaviour is "reply guys".