There are many things that are important in order to grow as a programmer, but two things that the forum and the show have particularly championed is being friendly and having fun.
But friendly and fun are really just two fluffy words without more context, so with the help of some of the forum members here, I made a video trying to convey what I mean when I say that the forum is a friendly and fun place.
Script from the video below:
I want to you to keep two things in mind on the forum: Be friendly and have fun.
Fun, because programming is exhausting. Programming is constantly changing so the learning never ends. This show and forum is here to help you stay curious about programming so that you can fall in love with it over and over again.
Friendly, because programming is confusing, and sometimes we feel stupid and alone, because everyone around us seems so smart. The show, and this forum is here to constantly remind you that in reality all of us are confused, and that is fine. That feeling of confusion is our friend, it means we’re learning.
Share your confusion. Post that dumb question. Other people are just as confused but are too afraid to ask.
Share your excitement. When you find a piece of code or anything that just makes you happy to be a programmer, post that!
This is my first attempt at a sort of manifesto, and any feedback on wording, narrative etc. for a second version is very welcome.
Great to see the intro video finally up on YouTube! Gutted I didn’t manage to submit an entry for it in time
Loving the forum manifesto as well. The internet can so often be a mean-spirited place and this forum has been super friendly, welcoming and confidence inspiring from the start. I look forward to seeing the community continue to grow, share confusion and learn together!
I’m likewise impressed that the forum has been well-behaved thus far. But it never hurts, especially when you’re expanding, to have something concrete (like the manifesto, or git repo code of conduct guides) to really rally around for clarity.
I love the videos, Patreon some channels, but not sure why would want to join the forums - the value proposition is not clearly communicated (even if it does not cost much) at least for the rational mind, which most programmers are.
How do you be friendly and how do you have fun doing that? Is it going to be well moderated to avoid poisonous people? Is critical discussion going to be valued or discouraged in favor for having ‘fun’? Are there any rewards for the participation? Why have a paywall for reading contents - some consider access to information has to be free - maybe sharing your opinion out there would be a good thing to charge for?
Anyway guys and gals have fun. I don’t really know how to be friendly - I am only good with computers, not so much with people.
(Ironically, this post was writeable for non-Patrons for a while and @Breakable which is not a Patron could therefore post. Some great points though so I want to adress them!)
The value proposition is not clearly communicated
Yes, that is right. The goal of this particular video is to be a video saying thanks to people that joined the forum, which is why it’s not all that great of a sales pitch for the forum. That’s more what the Patreon video is for but I think it’s overdue to update that one now that the Fun Fun Forum is actually active and not just an idea like it was when that video was made.
How do you be friendly and how do you have fun doing that?
Share your failures and encourage growth. To me, being friendly in the context of the forum means embracing vulnerability in yourself and others. Share about your mistakes and when others share theirs, be empathetic, encouraging and focus on how we can grow from the mistake rather than put someone down for failing. Most of the world is focused on individual success and broadcasting an image that conveys that, which I like to take an active stand from. Instead, I think that great software is made by having a team that is focused on collective growth, rather than individual success.
Is it going to be well moderated to avoid poisonous people?
I am a strong believer in heavy moderation for online communities, because I believe in free speech. The very reason you need to remove poisonous people from communities is precisely because they restrict the speech of others, through tools such as passive-agressiveness, condescension, insults, shaming, threats etc.
Is critical discussion going to be valued or discouraged in favor for having ‘fun’?
I do not subscribe to the “brilliant jerk” theory. I.e. that you can somehow improve discussions by casting off civility. If it’s hard for you to combine candor and civility, you’re welcome to stick around and silently observe the well-spoken and polite people here until you do.
Are there any rewards for the participation?
There are no artifical incentives per se, except for some badges you’re awarded. Normally, participation in forum is naturally rewarded because you post things and you get insightful responses from others. Others benefit by feeling competent and valuable (something that is very important for well being in humans) and also because explaining things clarifies and structures ones own knowledge.
Why have a paywall for reading contents - some consider access to information has to be free - maybe sharing your opinion out there would be a good thing to charge for?
The reason the forum came into existence is that I asked the question “What would be a great perk for Patrons to have” and my best answer was “a well-moderated, private forum”.
Having a tiny entry fee serves as a bit of a commitment device. It means that the people here have made a certain effort to get the right to post - it’s a very small effort but relative to the drive-by-commenter of YouTube it’s enormous. The person sort of stands to lose more by behaving badly, which reduces the chance of them doing so, but it also has the benefit that others can feel more safe and are more likely to express vulnerability, knowing that the other has paid to be here - few trolls will pay for the benefit of trolling. This also causes trolls to kind of pre-ban themselves, so that moderators can me more effective and spend more time on making people feel good and being active, rather than spending their time on managing difficult people. We’ve issued extremely few bans as people here are extremely awesome from the start.