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March 15, 2011 AT 5:01 pm

Nerds, we need to have a talk

Nerds, we need to have a talk

“You’re using the default hashing algorithm in mysql instead of bcrypt? You should probably give up and see if they’re hiring down at the local concrete crushing factory because you, sir, have absolutely no business whatsoever touching, much less programming, a computer.”

“God I hate the arduino. It’s not real hacking. Using the arduino is no different than going down to target and just buying whatever it is that you’re trying to build. Arduino is for idiots that can’t actually program because they’re too stupid to figure out how to hook a parallel cable into a bread board. God, kids these days are fcking IDIOTS.”

These are all embellished caricatures of comments I’ve actually seen.

What the hell, guys? Why is this attitude so common? And it extends beyond just criticizing other designers/hackers/makers. Why does every single nerd I meet just hate “hipsters”? Or “bros”?

Are we all back in high school again?

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16 Comments

  1. austinsrageface

    we all have to learn electronics somehow, why can’t I learn on arduino?

  2. I can’t comment on the arduino side; I don’t do hardware. But the bcrypt issue/attitude has nothing to "nerdiness" and has everything to do with professionalism. A professional stays on top of the ever changing tool set and learns new things. A professional looks after their customer’s and user’s best interests and doesn’t use a out of date and easily compromised approach to passwords. A profession does continuous integration and writes unit test. A professional stands by his/her work because it matters to him/her. A professional take great pride when they solve a problem. Not using bcrypt is like going to a therapist that has electroshock as their go to therapy. Finally, a profession doesn’t want his/her profession to be dragged by people who don’t know what they are doing. This is especially the case in the web where the barrier to entry is so low. We don’t want to be dumped in with incompetents that make us look bad. We want to be trusted by the people we work with and these non-professionals make that harder and make our lives harder.

    Also, we don’t hate hipsters… they are just people who wish they were nerds and have adopted wearing flannel like all good nerds.

  3. That was a refreshing read. There are definately some pretty big and sensitive egos out there, and it takes a bit of bravery to put anything OS out there knowing how a certain small but vocal majority of people are likely to respond to it.

    Publishing something OS puts you in a far more vulnerable position than anything closed-source, since the published data is basically ‘naked’. You can see every little detail, however unlovely, and it’s definately easier to send something out into the public hidden behind a few opaque layers (a luxury closed source ‘black-boxes’ can afford you).

    Hats off to those brave people who do still put their neck on the block and keep publishing and collaborating and sharing despite a vocal, rabid minority.

    I know I still cringe sometimes publishing things that I know are imperfect. It can be a tough mental barrier to get over the first time, and it’s always rough to see a project you put a bit of love into dumped on. Better something imperfect that exists and can be improved, though, than that flawless ideal that never makes it off the drawing board.

  4. The first sign of being a hipster is publicly ragging on hipsters.

  5. And just to clarify one thing: It does work in other communities.
    Looking in typical (nerd?) forums (say 4hv.com?) you’d find that even regular users tend to ‘troll’ against users who they find to be out of their sphere. Of course that does also apply to many other communities: photography forums can be a good example here, too.
    But I’ve been amazed in other forums, too: microscopy nerds for example are the friendliest I’ve met so far.

    The differences can be vast.
    In my favorite microscopy community I got all the help I needed to become a well equipped hobbyist.
    In some large online communities concerning topics I’m not an expert in, I’ve quit posting stuff, simply because I got mainly off-topic complaints about some ridiculous banalities in my project instead of some hints where to start my search.
    YES: *whine*
    I hate to see all the beautiful potential go to waste because of trolling biases.

    The thing is: Knowledge is power and it’s a valuable asset and people will pry it our of your cold, dead, repetitive stress injured hands if you don’t make some decisions on who to help out and who is abusing you because he wants to save time.

    I wonder if this phenomenon has been scientifically studied and whether methods have already been drawn up to counteract them…

    There is so much movement in this scene right now, we’d be Idiots if we wouldn’t use this knowledge for our best, make it available, redact it, experiment…

    Food for thought…

  6. I typed a lot of stuff for a comment… I did the resistor thing… I submitted the comment without my name and mail… I got error: “please enter name and mail”… got back… everything was lost… facepalm.

    happy endings…

  7. I’m active in the craft-diy online community and we seem to be the only online community that is supportive, understanding, and generally pretty awesome to each other. We understand that everyone is a beginner at one time or another. We offer help and encouragement to each other. There are some slightly snobby enclaves, but compared to what I see on the rest of the web, we are nirvana.

  8. Mean people who enjoy slagging others are in every cohort, and the more of that cohort you gather, the more posts you’ll see from them. The smaller communities tend to be friendlier because the nice people are still hopeful enough in their community to publish their thoughts, and are often still willing to regulate their community. The best way I’ve found to improve these situations is to hold negative people accountable for the things they wish to change; The burden of education is on them if they want to improve their communities. You want the use of bcrypt to be common knowledge? Make it common knowledge. Make it part of beginners’ FAQs, tutorials, maybe even the documentation if you can. Don’t hide behind insults of inadequate education or experience.

  9. Awesome…

  10. I’ve found that the harshest critics usually skulk away when you challenge them to point to something super awesome they’ve done.

    I also ask them to remember way back when they were learning something new, and give learners a break.

  11. Michael Taylor

    I don’t understand “hipsters”, but I think that’s being I’m either too socially inept, or too old to look cool in skinny jeans and I’m old enough to have left usage of flammable hair products in the ’80’s where they belong.

    I am tired of trolls, but I also tire of newcomers who are apparently lazy, that is the ones who resist the suggestion of reading the FAQs, and following the guides on how to best ask for help, after it’s been pointed out to them. In most good communities nearly all of new users are willing to follow this basic advice, and they get the help they want. Those who ignore those basic steps tend to be poor community members in general, and are generally shunned.

    I don’t have the time and energy to insult newcomers, there are too many of them, and I don’t scale well. Maybe I’m too old, tired, or lazy, but if someone reads the FAQ and tries to ask for help in a productive way (without insults or demands) I will answer their question if I can, when I have the time to do so. And all my free advice comes with 100% money-back guarantee. 🙂

    There are enough good forums that no one is forced to follow or remain active in a hostile or negative forum or community, so do the most proactive thing, and don’t participate. That is if the community is already dominated by uncivil folks. They those communities should die through attrition.

  12. Michael Taylor

    I don’t understand "hipsters", but I think that’s being I’m either too socially inept, or too old to look cool in skinny jeans and I’m old enough to have left usage of flammable hair products in the ’80’s where they belong.

    I am tired of trolls, but I also tire of newcomers who are apparently lazy, that is the ones who resist the suggestion of reading the FAQs, and following the guides on how to best ask for help, after it’s been pointed out to them. In most good communities nearly all of new users are willing to follow this basic advice, and they get the help they want. Those who ignore those basic steps tend to be poor community members in general, and are generally shunned.

    I don’t have the time and energy to insult newcomers, there are too many of them, and I don’t scale well. Maybe I’m too old, tired, or lazy, but if someone reads the FAQ and tries to ask for help in a productive way (without insults or demands) I will answer their question if I can, when I have the time to do so. And all my free advice comes with 100% money-back guarantee. 🙂

    There are enough good forums that no one is forced to follow or remain active in a hostile or negative forum or community, so do the most proactive thing, and don’t participate. That is if the community is already dominated by uncivil folks. They those communities should die through attrition.

  13. I’ve seen this in various forms:

    on saturnfan forums, the first explanation for *anything* wrong with the card is the engine coolant temperature sensor. Doesn’t matter if the actual issue is completely unrelated – the first response will invariably ask if this sensor has been replaced.

    on piano discussion/photo equipment discussion/any equipment discussion forum, the most expensive piece of equipment is the hands down recommended solution, if they can afford it, of course.

    In any Linux based forum, the command-line warriors feel superior to the GUI-addicted late-comers that weren’t using Linux back in the 0.0.59 days of Slackware.

    My point here is that this is nothing new. I’ve done both arduino and bare micro-controller work and I find them to be mostly interchangeable. The choice of one over the other depends on the needs of the project. If I had to say anything about that debate, it would be to point out that non-arduino programmers don’t seem to recognize that just because a project is based on an arduino, it does not necessarily correlate that the project is any less complex. The arduino programmer is free to ignore all of the arduino libraries and program the raw hardware any way they see fit. In that sense, there should be little difference between using a mega168 as raw hardware and an arduino as a development solution.

  14. If you know less than me, you’re a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal! Just crawl back under the rock from whence you sprang.

    If you know more than me, you’re an anal retentive, elitist, pompous ass! Go tell someone who’s willing to listen to your BS.

    If your knowledge is exactly equal to mine, then how dare you try to one-up me!

    I swear… Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re chopping down someone else.

  15. Comment 14 was merely a general statement, and not directed at anyone who posted before me! 🙂

  16. these comments are common around the web, in many mailing lists, forums, etc. If community members are not keeping to a code of conduct or no one is enforcing community standards by telling these people in-channel or out-of-band that ‘biting newbies’ is not what we expect of community members, that is the result. Ubuntu uses the Code of Conduct that was written by Mako Hill as one example. Wikipedia has something like that, too. But it takes work by all/most of the community to keep things from going off the rails. On the ‘debian-women’ mailing list, this does not happen because no one does such things or if they do, someone will speak up and explain what someone did wrong and why.

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