Ryan Bigg

You suck.

24 Sep 2010

The tense of the phrase "You suck" may not be the present. It may be the past. It may even be the future.

But face it: You suck. Right now.

I'm facing it too. I see people doing amazing things. Things like Facebook and LinkedIn know that, through some kind of complex association somebody who I've said as much as "hey" to could potentially be my friend. I don't know how to do this, therefore I suck.

But let's get back to you. At one point in the past, you decided you wanted to learn a language. Let's, for the sake of the argument, say that this language is Ruby. You wrote a blogging application in Ruby on Rails and you thought you were top shit.

Then somebody else took a look at your code and their first reaction was to commit Seppuku.

Ok, maybe not that severe. But they didn't have kind words.

A programming community is one of the harshest (non-weather-based) environments on the planet when you're getting started. Just about everybody knows more than you do. They've been doing it for what seems like millennia and they've got the answer to every question you throw at them. If they're patient, they'll help you get going and perhaps give you pointers from time to time.

You're still going to suck. You'll gradually pick up things as you progress. Perseverance pays off in the end, but it's a long way to travel. People will condemn and criticise you, your code and your coding practices. Others will be gentler. Stick with it.

So let's say you're a little peeved at the massive goliath that is Facebook and you want to create your own social networking application, but you're going to make it distributed. Through some kind of magical process, you manage to acquire $200,000+ in funding to develop this from people just like you who don't like Facebook and want an alternative.

Then, with this money, you develop it. You give it a cool name and the Internet Hype Machine does its thing. They expect it to be perfect, flawless in every way, shape and form. They expect you to be professional because they threw money at you. Little did they know that you don't have all that much experience in developing. Your idea is solid, and you'll learn what you need to as you go along.

Eventually you release a "Developer Preview" and that's when things start looking stormy. People use words like "cesspool" to describe the quality of your code. Haters gonna hate.

Of course, by this point, you understand that I'm talking about Diaspora. There is so much hate on the intertubes about Diaspora right now. These four guys are not big players in the Ruby community. Their GitHub profiles have only a few projects on them. They are newbies to this wonderful world of Ruby and we, as stalwarts, need to play nice with the new kids on the block.

So how about this: instead of putting so much energy into hating Diaspora, how about you volunteer to help out? Oh, you don't have time for that? Then shut the fuck up, armchair critic. These guys are working hard on their project, much like you are on yours.

At least, you would be if you weren't hating on the new kids.

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