100 | Overlapping Communities

TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, I'm your host Matt Stauffer and this is Episode 100. One, zero, zero. We've made it! I have not, I was going to say tweeted. I've not podcasted, I've hardly blogged, I thought I was back a couple months ago and then it turns out that babies don't like sleeping. Turns out, who knew? So finally back-ish, it's going to be a slow roll back--I'm not going to promise that I'm 100 percent, but I'm back enough to record Episode 100. Hurray, huzzah, there was much rejoicing. If I wasn't so lazy I'd put sound effects in here. People clapping and cheering.

The Five Minute Geek Show! it's a purportedly weekly show about development and everything around it. It's purportedly five minutes long. It's really whenever the heck I can get to it and turns out it's sometimes between five and ten minutes. It's one topic per episode, that's true. About front end, back end, mobile, project management, design, entrepreneurship, whatever. If it's geeky, it fits.

I'm glad to be semi back. My son is out of school, and all of a sudden my schedule is rearranged and I'm able to find pockets of time for podcasts and blogs now, so my goal is to get a podcast and a blog out this week. That's what I'm going to try and do.

So this week we're going to be talking about community. Capital C community. If you are not a PHP developer this will be a little bit less relevant. If you're not a developer, it will be even less relevant, but it'll touch on some things.

There is often a line that is repeated by various people within the PHP community that Laravel, the people in Laravel, the Laravel community, are elitist and that they encourage silos and that what they really needed to do (if they weren't pigeon holing themselves into just being Laravel developers) is be involved in the greater PHP community.

People, hoity toity, are proud of the fact that they are just a PHP developer, and they would not be so base as to identify with a particular framework. They say, well, I hope you don't put "Laravel developer" on your whatever. "Why wouldn't you just say PHP developer?" They'll point to the wonderful efforts of people like Cal Evans, and other wonderful human beings whom I love, who do great things to encourage the PHP community to have an identity. Every single time they say these things, I respond in the same ways, and they stop responding when they realize their argument is awful and then somebody else spouts the same crap a month later.

So! I'm going to say it out loud here. If you have the temptation to go ham on somebody because they consider themselves a WordPress developer, or a Symfony developer, or a Laravel developer, or whatever else developer because they should be just thinking of themselves as PHP developers... Next time you identify yourself as a PHP developer, I'm going to walk up and I'm going to say, "why are you identifying yourself as a PHP developer? Why aren't you just a web developer?" Then when you go to a web development thing, "why are you are identifying as a web developer, why aren't you just a technologist?" When you go to technologist thing I say, "why are you a technologist, why aren't you just a person?" Why aren't you just a human? Where is the line? You have made up an arbitrary line that you think is the acceptable place for someone to identify, below which is not possible. And we haven't even started talking about geographical location or anything like that.

Is it acceptable for someone to identify that they're in the London PHP group? Is that unacceptable because that's a delineation? No, none of this stuff matters. All these groupings are helpful.

Now remember, if you've listened to this podcast for any time you understand that a lot of the things I'm talking about come out of faith and religious background. So let me tell you about denominations. In denominations, you have the differences between people of the same faith, similar to sects and stuff like that. Where you have multiple people who ascribe to the same general thing, but are different in certain ways. There's all sorts of horrible things where people have mistreated each other, they've killed each other and all that kind of stuff, with the difference between religions. So, in general, we tend to think of unity as good and division as bad, right? So we often have this naïve concept that if we could just rid ourselves of denominations, and everyone would just be the same faith, the same religion, then all of our problems would be gone.

The problem is there are perfectly acceptable, and perfectly normal and often very healthy, differences in opinion, and denominations give you space to find the other people who follow along that line in a different way, and celebrate together with them without having to separate yourselves entirely from the community that you're a part of. Or without fighting all the time.

Let's say you have a particular interpretation of how something says whether its Saturday or Sunday. What's the seventh day in the bible--is it Saturday or Sunday? Well, that's going to make a pretty big difference about when your church meets and all this kind of stuff. You could fight about it all day all the time, or you could both do the same stuff on different days of the week, and just split along that line. Split has this negative connotation, but maybe you can just both do great things on different days of the week.

Laravel does different things, provides different things, has different priorities and perspectives than Zend. If Zend and Laravel were to mush together into one, you would have a lot of battles because Zend has a very specific set of goals and priorities that are not the same as Laravel's. If they're allowed to co-exist separately, then it's perfectly acceptable for both of these sub groups to be a part of a larger sub group, which is a part of a larger sub group. Why PHP? Why are you in PHP and not Ruby? Well it would be very awkward to have every meet up ever be about PHP and Ruby. Let alone the differences of opinion, how are you ever going to talk about something when everything is completely different?

There are healthy things about us finding natural differences in a healthy way accepting and sometimes even celebrating those differences, and also being willing to be a part of the greater community. Now, does me being in one denomination mean I'm now no longer part of the larger faith? No. Does that mean I'm incapable of participating in concepts or meetings, or whatever that relate to the larger faith? No. Similarly, does being a WordPress developer mean you now say I'm not a PHP developer? No. So chill out, take a chill pill, get off your high horse and allow yourself to be in multiples; and guess what, you could be a Laravel developer and a Symfony developer, and a PHP developer, and a Ruby developer, and a JavaScript developer, and an Ember developer, and a React developer all at the same time. It is possible! You can do it. It's like this magical thing where you can be a part of multiple communities and no community police is going to come stop you. It's fine, it doesn't matter.

So just enjoy it! Allow yourself to celebrate being a part of whatever communities to get the benefits out of them. Being a part of the WordPress community means you connect with other people who are learning how to make money as a WordPress developer, and that is very different than how to make money as a Laravel developer, right? That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. Trying to learn how to really up your skills in Symfony and Laravel often looks very similar, but not always. So having differentiation in the community allows space for us to share some resources, and not share the other resources, and that's perfectly fine.

Really, this is just me going on a rant. Surprise! That's what this podcast is. Here's the fact that every community has various levels that overlap, and various levels of not overlap, and that is perfectly fine. You can be a part of many communities that are a part of many other communities that are sub groups, of sub groups, of sub groups, and there's no magical line. PHP as a community is not the magical line beneath which everything is an atrocity.

Within Laravel, you may find yourself a part of the DDD community, and you may find yourself a part of the Hyper Ruby inspired minimalist Smalltalk community. Those are two communities within the Laravel community and that's okay, because you don't have to do one or the other. It's fine, I'm not actually adding anything new to this conversation at this point, I'm just throwing out random things and saying its fine. Just chill out. Allow people to enjoy being a part of the communities they are.

If you want to have a positive impact I think the thing that I hear from these people the most is, well, why don't you participate more in the larger PHP community? They don't say those words, but I think that's what is the inherent. Then say that in a positive, not critical way. Hey WordPress developers, did you know that there's this much larger PHP community that we want to invite you into? Here's ways that we can welcome you.

It turns out the best way to welcome people is not by calling them silo'ed whatever heritics. The best way is to be kind, and to enter into their spaces and to learn from them, and to offer what you have to them, and to be nice people. It turns out that's the trick. Be nice. Take care of people. I feel like I'm making voices where I'm mimicking people more than normal, so I hope I don't get too many complaints about how snarky I was in this one.

I really do love you all. This is Episode 100, I'm making the heart symbol in front of my chest right now. I also got not a lot of sleep last night, and I'm super caffeinated so that might be part of it now. All right we're almost out of time, I will not go over 10 minutes, thank you.

Thank you friends for listening to 100 episodes, those of you who've been here for all 100, and if not, that's okay--thank you for being here for Episode 100 anyway. This is the Five Minute Geek Show, we're at @5minutegeekshow on twitter, fiveminutegeekshow.com. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or RSS if you like the show, and it'd be amazing if you would share it with your friends, rate it in iTunes.

Until next time--Matt Stauffer, Five Minute Geek Show.

Ready to do it? All right go.

"If one more label try to stop me there's gon be some dread head boys in the lobby, UH UH"