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Discussion on: 3 Reasons Why you need to join a tech community

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Bernd Wechner • Edited on

I just took a look at EddieHub myself drawn by the subtitle above "Inclusive Open Source Community". And it looks sort of impressive when you surf in, but I surfed away again too. I think in no small part because of my Australian lens. It's not something I'm proud of, though we have our nationalists like everyone does who would threaten me for that lack of pride in our cultural identity and predilections. But through our lens when you see a service or site named after it's creator, and a then a spruik page like this:, we tend to run. It's associated with rank US style individualism and our backdrop and infused culture is one of us, over me. Again don't get me wrong, that is not universal here any more there are universal truths about any rich complex culture (which they all are). But it is the unspoken backdrop that has no doubt influenced my reflex - in that when I see those things I feel a desire to withdraw not engage, like I'm in the glow of ego not community and I need to put my sunglasses on. I know that's far from universal and in the US for example it is the backdrop infused unspoken culture, that one promotes oneself as strongly as possible, the power and glory of the individual and their achievements. Which is why here in Oz (what we affectionately call Australia) we associate that kind of rugged individualism with the US, and of course those that are inspired by this culture and emulate it too.

But I concur, I have read some trash here and on other tech sites, and in fact am known to respond to a class of question I have seen a few times that runs like this "I'm thinking of starting a blog - or youtube channel - what material do you think I should cover, what would you follow and subscribe to?".

My response to such a question is generally along the lines of: the internet is awash with blogs and vlogs already and there is very little scope to add any value anywhere, least of all if you have to ask, if your motivation is publishing first and you're looking for material. Next thing, you're on the treadmill copying stuff willy nilly as writing originally is hard work and just reproducing and rephrasing the huge echochamber of the internet's endless wannabe publishing community. If you have unique skills and passion and google it and can't find anyone doing it, there's a niche, but consider a metered monthly routine that gives you time to research and present quality not just quantity. Only problem is it's hard work and doesn't pay. If you're asking what niches need filling I can tell you up front it's documentation for FOSS. Almost any project out there is eager for technical writers. Of course, not a lot of limelight or fame to be gained in that area, but enough. Again, do a good, productive job, with quality output and that speaks to others as much as, and to some, more loudly than, a load of likes, followers and/or self promotion. In fact many of the best paid technical people remain humble and productive and some even become popular within target niche communities not broadly.

It bugs me for example that whenever I have a Python question I don't get the Python manual as the first hit but a pile of paraphrasings that generally suck and I have to scroll down to find the Python docs on the matter. I'd love to be able to tune my search engines in that regard. Alas the ones I know all seem to use popularity as some measure of my desire to see something (an echo chamber again, it's popular because it's listed high and it's listed high because it's popular and sites all scrambling to break into that self reinforcing cycle), but I don't want a popular page, I want the right page, and when I have technical questions that in order is the reference manual, followed by the best tutorials and no search engine I know provides me that ordering.

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Jon Randy

Being a Brit, I think the cultural mindset is very similar

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Bernd Wechner

Makes sense. Australian backdrop culture is essentially inherited from the English (and Irish and Scottish) to this day. It's a much younger offshoot than the US (by a century or more and so has not diverged as far culturally).