Do comunities kill good developers?

Recently I have been asked to join a local community of developers, which I refused. The moment I did that they instinctively, as with any other occasion that you refuse someone, asked me for a reason. While I hadn’t had any obligation to answer their question, I quickly replied Communities are bad! throwing them in a swirl of confusion.

While starring suspiciously at me, on of them asked me, again, for a reason of my sayings.

One of my first reason to think that communities are bad is that they promote groups and not individuals. And while they all do it for the community and a collective good this may not be the best thing for many developers.

Simply but, communities have rules, guidelines and decisions can only be made if approved by the people higher in the community. Communities if comparable with something, than I’d say they are comparable with fascistic regimes.

As a simple example, let’s suppose I am a redditor – I may or may not be – and while I do use the redditor etiquette I am not part of the community, nor do I have the need to be a part of it… But for a moment let’s assume I would like to be a part of this community and being a member of a community would mean to adhere to their ideology. For me as a developer would mean to stop developing in PHP, use Python/Haskell and hate Diggers.

That’s what the community does, so that should be done by me as well.

Communities, most often involuntarily, build up self centered zombies – like public schools – with a high level of self esteem and tons of arrogance.

But what has all this to do with good developers?
That is the same question I was asked by my colleagues.

As with not many approving the arguments I gave before, the bad aspects of communities (If it ain’t clear I’m talking about developer communities) don’t really rise up early in the community, but they will.

Take as example the latest buzz in the PHP community, without the consent of the other people in the community Jani made the PHP 5.4 branch, an individual decision that affected the entire community. The move revived the core development and after the heat cooled down, (almost) everybody taught in the end it was a good decision (we will see about the in the near future).

Jani was the man who faced the system community showing the bureaucratically back where they belong and doing what he taught was right as a developer.

Communities are bad because they stomp on your creativity, art and vision (a word I hear to often in the place I work). Do not adhere to others vision, do your own thing and do it well.

P.S. maybe kill was not the best word to use.


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