How do you become part of a (programming) community?

I’m hoping newcomers to Elixir, or even programming, might be able to get some tips from this thread :023:

Perhaps you can share your story or what you did? Or what you’d suggest? :blush:

1 Like

Here’s a few tips from me:

Step 1

Find a technology that you are extremely passionate about. People love being in like-minded company! :003:

Step 2

Jump right in! Doesn’t matter where you’re from, what skill level you’re at, what your background is, or however else you or your journey differs to everyone else - you can offer something of value/interest to others because we’re all unique after all! Jumping right in isn’t just related to community discussion areas either, you could start working on cool libraries or helping with documentation or PRs or writing blog posts or guides or answering questions if you’re knowledge of the technology allows.

Step 3

Spend a little time to be mindful of how you come across - you’ll preferably want to come across as a genuine person interested in the technology because you like what you see so far (rather than someone who may come across as a bit of a troll or WUM). If you need to be critical about something, just be diplomatic and constructive and treat others (and their work) with common decency.

Similarly, you can also do your fellow members a favour by taking some time to learn about the technology (learning related questions are always welcome here btw!) and interacting with the community in a way that does not put a burden on it (so don’t post spam or create spammy type threads, don’t be argumentative or lose your temper with others, etc) …simply take part in other people’s threads, discussions, and projects in good faith - always trying to add something of value :slight_smile:

Step 4

Repeat all of the above until you no longer feel like a newcomer! It really is as simple as that :003:

Bonus info

I know joining a community can sometimes be daunting, but try not feeling like an outsider or be worried that cliques exist. Yes there may well be people who know each other in ‘real life’ (from conferences etc), but the beauty of online spaces like this is that many, many more do not - so you’re on a level playing field with most. I am also mentioning this because I often hear how people who have been relatively active on a forum think that they’re not part of the family or that nobody would miss them - that has often made me very sad because they couldn’t be more further from the truth! The more active you are in a community the more people will feel you are part of the crew - even if it doesn’t seem obvious to you. If you post something of value, things that people appreciate, then you will find a place in their hearts and will become part of the forum-family. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different and don’t ever forget that!

So don’t be shy, take part in conversations and over time the place will begin to feel more and more like home. Sometimes, becoming a part of a community and making new friends can also be by sharing aspects of your personal life, such as in the more personal #community related threads and #members-only:lounge sections too. Even if that’s things like the music you are listening to the things you are enjoying on television… remember, we’re as eager to learn more about you, as you are us :purple_heart:

  • Truthfully, just try and be helpful. If you are not feeling up to truly help somebody, don’t talk down to them or insult them. Just let somebody else help them.

  • In any discussion it is very important to bring up something new or less known if you want to be heard. Just repeating well-known facts can get you places as well, depending on how well-informed the participants are. When I attended a Sofia Elixir meetup several weeks ago and people were talking about ETS and caching, I brought up fastglobal as a faster alternative for much smaller and less frequently changed pieces of data. I was rather shy mentioning it because I thought it was common knowledge – but it turned out that nobody there has heard about it and after a quick Q&A they were fascinated by the idea that you can compile stuff as the VM runs and thus produce and have access to highly optimized code without knowing its shape beforehand.

  • Don’t be an elitist. This becomes harder and harder as you get older. Too many things are just too obvious to you. But there are a lot of younger and positive people out there who want to learn and would gladly listen to the lessons you deem obvious. As a huge bonus, it feels really good to teach.

  • Be open-minded. Don’t immediately dismiss people’s ideas. I have been guilty of that many times in my life and it took me years but I unlearned this awful habit. Even if somebody brings up another language that you hate, maybe the library they are talking about is really useful or it gives you an idea.

  • Even if you cannot offer new knowledge to nobody around, it is just as good to simply ask good questions when somebody else is sharing the new knowledge. It helps distill and clarify ideas.