On ALT.NET and patience

There ALT.NET bashing season is on full steam. Ian Cooper has a thorough post about it.

To my recollection, ALT.NET was formed by people that shared very similar tastes on what represents good development tools, practices, and methodologies. This group of people, just by the simple fact that they decided to get together under one roof to discuss these ideas, showed that they are constantly and decidedly trying to become better at what they do.

But when you take the step to form a new community or movement (or whatever else you want to call it) you can't easily control who jumps on board or who jumps ship - and you shouldn't even try to.

Inevitably the original idea started to attract many different kinds of participants, which I'm going to roughly distribute in the below four categories (I was tempted to use the term personas, but … never mind.)

  1. I'm here to help
    • I like to teach,
    • to write,
    • to contribute to OSS,
    • coordinating UGs and events
  2. Those who like to complain
    A very minor percentage of those know how to externalize their criticism in a constructive way. Unfortunately the majority limit their contributions to rants and trolling.
    That's probably the only group of people that I'd try to weed out if I could (but I can't; and we shouldn't).
  3. Those who want to learn
    • They want to hear about other ideas,
    • to figure out how to bring better practices to their work,
    • they have a specific problem and they're seeking opinions or answers.
  4. Heliotropic migrants
    The ones who want to be linked to (and hops on) every new, shiny thing for commercial reasons. There's always this type of people. They need to latch on to what could be the next big thing for the sake of their own livelihood. There's nothing wrong with that, by the way.

Some people just can't put up with the other types. Some folks go ballistic with people on #4, others can't stand the whiners in #2. Some don't tolerate repeated or trivial questions from folks that are just trying to learn.

In the midst of all this, it becomes hard to connect #1 and #3, which I think is the ultimate reason for ALT.NET existence.

Frankly speaking, I think I've personally danced around in all these four categories but I find myself most of the time in #3 and some other times in #1. I do apologize for my ventures in #2 – it's hard to avoid.

So, if you dabble in the ALT.NET waters, let me just ask you to exercise a little bit of patience. We all still have a lot to learn and there's very good indications that some of those lessons are permeating the .NET development community — from the individual developer to the big Enterprise, Inc.

Let's no try to change the world with a single swing of the bat. Changing one constructor method at a time will get us further. In the end, the idea is simply to more efficiently produce more maintainable and reliable software.

Posted 01-19-2010 2:42 PM by sergiopereira
Filed under: ,



Douglas Starnes wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 01-19-2010 6:12 PM

I don't understand why ALT.NET gets put down.  To me, it's a better way for what I do and how I think.  For some, the Microsoft recommended usage works better.  Microsoft has begun to accept many ALT.NET ideas as well.  ALT.NET is an ALTernative option, not a better way to do everything.  Both can and have made very good software.

sergiopereira wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 01-19-2010 6:53 PM

@Douglas, it's very hard to point out the reason for all this tension. There's a lot of passion and some discomfort, all glued together by the general lack of teaching or mentoring skills.

My impression has been that outside of the heated interwebs debates, it has been less difficult to apply most of the lessons than I thought it would be (excluding bigger changes like adopting Agile.)

I just hope people don't get distracted from sharing what they know and engage in infinite arguments.

uberVU - social comments wrote Social comments and analytics for this post
on 01-19-2010 11:54 PM

This post was mentioned on Twitter by sergiopereira: I had this blog post scheduled for later this week but @ICooper's post made me publish it sooner: http://bit.ly/7nZ9g8

Rob Reynolds wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 01-20-2010 12:21 AM

Sergio - This is a fantastic post. It kind of sums up where the movement (if we call it a movement) has gone. I called passion my Alt.NET once (ferventcoder.com/.../what-is-your-alt.net.aspx) and I still believe that it's all in what you make of it.

I largely ignored most of the #2s and the #4s. That's probably kept me from having any issues with Alt.NET this whole time.

Derik Whittaker wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 01-21-2010 7:15 AM

Great post Sergio.

Ollie Riches wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 01-21-2010 9:50 AM

I'm not trying to be #2, but I believe you've missed a category 'Self interest' - I believe there are people trying to steer the community to their own (financial) interest by pushing patterns\principles even products.

sergiopereira wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 01-21-2010 10:45 AM

@Ollie, that sounds like #4 to me. I'm assuming #4 contains both good and bad commercial interests.

paigekoonc wrote re: On ALT.NET and patience
on 02-06-2010 10:38 PM

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