Lauri Liimatta

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Don't shoot us beginners

Photo by: Andrew

I recently went to developer meetup and encountered some behaviour that I thought was a huge turnoff for going to any of their future events. As the presentations started rolling I couldn't help noticing these snarky and opinionated 1-2 word comments in middle of people's talks.

For example there was a guy giving a talk about his company's new Docker setup and he mentioned how Docker is capable of restarting itself in case it happens to crash. Right after he said that someone felt entitled to drop a "you can't" comment. You could tell the presenter was a bit surprised and it really brought the presentation to a brief silence and pause. However rather quickly the presenter pointed out that you could actually do this and someone else from the audience reaffirmed this. To deliver the final blow to this heckler the presenter then moved on to the next slide in which he had a code example clearly showing that you could indeed do this. Glorious!

I don't know what is it with some people but it almost seemed like they were on a mission to outsmart the presenter(s). I had actually thought about showing my app Basement at one of these events but I now wonder if it's worth it when the audience is potentially this hostile. It's common knowledge that the tech audience is one of the toughest to please and therefore you should have a thick skin. Regardless of that, I now have doubts about the value of presenting there.

It's stuff like this why people like myself (designer getting into programming) are feeling perhaps a bit iffy about delving into the developer world. We want to ask potentially stupid questions and need hand-holding every now and then. If you proceed to crucify us in the first interaction with your elitist and opinionated attitude then you shouldn't expect to see many of us involved in your projects or communities.

It's a shame though because there are clearly more and more designer/developer type of folks in the world every day. We are or were all beginners at one point in time and we shouldn't forget that.

Of course not everyone is like this but it is often these few bad apples that tend to kind of stand out and taint the image of a meetup or community. So let's all try to stay open-minded and helpful. One API documentation, meetup and Stackoverflow thread at the time!

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