I now return to the sweet sound of static

While we were down in Austin at the Alt.NET Open Spaces conference people suggested the use of a newsgroup to maintain conversations that we had started. Running on a euphoric high from the session on DDD (or maybe it was something that I caught from passing around the ‘putty stick’) I signed up. Looking back, I don’t think that I had high expectations. I only expected what was announced; a place for conversations to continue. That said, my experience in Austin also showed me that there were so many truly passionate people with different thoughts and ideas on any one of the topics that I should expect many new conversations to start. I also expected a lot of people to argue intensely, but with the same level of respect and constructiveness that I’d seen in every session I attended that early October weekend.

If you’ve been following the newsgroups on Yahoo Groups (or the one lonely one over at Google Groups) you know that there is a small chasm between what is going on in those places and what I wrote. In the last three months there have been more threads on noise topics than there have been on continuing or extending conversations from Austin. The conversations regularly range from “Why is this group named ?” to “Why are you trying to leave me out?”. Occasionally there are meaningful threads, but it is rare.

The one that set me off today personally attacked the credibility of one of the most passionate developers that I’ve ever spoken to. Once a group of people unravels itself to this level, I know that I’ve stuck around for far too long. Whether I agree or disagree with the statements that people make is irrelevant. Mob mentality just isn’t for me.

The movement in the .NET world (call it what you want, I’m not going to play the name game here, that can stay in the groups) that has been making headway in the last couple of years is one that I really believe in. Unlike so many people, I don’t feel the need to be involved in the formation of the master plan. I don’t need to know that my name is associated with the start of the formal movement (or whatever the people in the groups want to call it).

Instead I want to spend my energy improving my software development skill set and let that take me where it may. That journey is going to involve me working at pushing the boundaries of the languages that I choose to work with (English included) both on my own and by trying to understand and learn from the exploration that others are taking. For me that was one of the foundational concepts that I brought home from Austin. Never stop learning. Never stop exploring. Never stop pushing the boundaries. Never stop challenging your current assumptions.

If reading these groups were one of my projects I would be finding the friction to much and I’d be looking to make things work smoother. I don’t see a way to reduce the friction. Since I’m no longer getting those four core needs filled from these newsgroups, I’m turning them off. At some point in the future I’ll probably take a look at them again to see if the content has changed, but based on the last few months I just don’t see it happening any time soon.