My Ruby Community10/21/2013 02:30 pm
There has been a lot on my mind lately. The recent twitter and blog storm over the CodeMash situation has thrown me for a loop; for more reasons than what I will discuss here.
The idea of gender equality, and the troubles that women have in my industry have been a source of a lot of disucssion for a while. There have been some really big things that have happened in my community. Some of them bad. We get codes of conduct and a lot of vitriol from them.
It all comes as a bit of a surprise to me, a [naieve] white male. I don't see any of the harassment. I was encouraged to become a programmer by 2 women who were programmers. My world view is very different, and I am pleased that I have not been in any situations where women have been harassed or shouted off the stage.
I want to talk about the positive side of the ruby community because I feel like that is being lost in the discussion right now. That makes my heart hurt, truth be told. I am part of the community, after all, and if the community is bad or full or bad apples then by proxy I am also tainted.
Matz is nice, so we are nice. Some may disagree, but I think it is an important ideal. The creator of our language made thoughtful decisions about the aesthetics of the language that go into our culture as well.
I came into the ruby community as a long-time web developer. I was tired of PHP, Perl, and tcl. A good friend and coworker, Pete Sharum, showed me a book on ruby, and I was hooked. I fell in love with the language and started going to local meetups.
I loved the idea that there were all of these people who were excited about this language, too. They were patient with all of my beginner questions. They gave talks that taught me how to do things. We would meet for dinner before meetings sometimes, and sometimes just meet to talk about code (and possibly have a beer or two and some food). The Dallas group meets somewhere every Tuesday in fact, and the Fort Worth group started meeting monthly again. Both really good groups.
It is a vibrant, thriving, and helpful community.
I give a talk here or there, and taught a class as well. I remember very specifically sitting in a session at Lone Star Ruby Conference a few years back. Avdi was talking about exception handling. I was sitting next to Mark McSpadden, whom I came to know from the local user group. He had started running the Dallas group. I told him that I felt like I'd been a part of the community long enough, and had received enough help from the community, that it was time for me to give back. I wanted to give more talks and be more involved. I wanted to be one of the guys teaching the new people.
That is one of the things that makes the ruby community great. I am very proud of it, in fact.
There will always be bad seeds, and people will always make mistakes. The issue of sexual harassment is also much bigger than a man having too much to drink and harassing/assaulting woman coworker. That particular story does, however, highlight that acquaintance rape is by far more common than assault by an unknown assailants. In fact, it's particularly common with adolescents.
The sins of society are not the sins of the ruby community specifically though. We work hard to better ourselves and make better things. We work hard to contribute to open source and contribute to our community. We work hard to learn new things and push ourselves. It may all sound pie in the sky. That's my community, though.ruby non_tech