I remember how it was, just when I thought I had learned something, and managed to do something well, this one developer in particular would start bragging about how he could do that and that so much better. And he would point out everything that I didn’t know how to do, and my self-esteem and my passion would just fade as he continued to talk. AS soon as he walked away, and I managed to persuade myself to bring up my computer and write a piece of code, compile it and watch the magic happen – I would instantly feel like I could do something. And for me that meant the world.
I don’t think many people understand how much time I put down to come up with the Q and A’s, and how many comments I get, both bad and good. I get angry emails from the ‘experts’, and love declarations from new developers desperate for somebody that understands them and supports them. But the bad ones hurt really bad. Some emails are scary angry. Some comments are painfully bitchy. And it is draining me.
Three weeks into the Q and A. It all started really good and people were eager on joining the debates and give good comments and additional information. But, the last week I’ve been getting more and more negative comments. Mainly critique that I am oversimplifying and generalizing, and that I should add this and that.
I am seriously considering stopping the Q and A series. Maybe it is so that I am too stupid to ask these questions and answer them. I don’t have four digit Stackoverflow points, and I have only been programming for 13 months. But tell me, when do I get to ask and try to answer? Am I making an ass out of myself by not providing a four page article on each question? Should I be more formal? I take this personal, yes I do. I care and this is my passion. So therefore I ask, what might be the last question, should I keep asking?
What I have noticed is that other developers find it hard to understand that I just want to ask very basic questions, try to answer them in a simple and generalized way, and let the comments add information. As I wrote to one developer when I was defending my approach:
I know X and X is complex, and that is why I wanted to give a simple get-started-definition,- hoping devs will join in on a discussion. You might have noticed, and joined in yourself in the discussions on the previous questions and therefore hopefully see that I don’t try to oversimplify or imply that I am an expert.
What i am thinking is that I am allowed to ask, and try to answer, even if I am not an expert or can provide a big discussion on the subject. Or is it so, that only the elite is allowed?
I just don’t want to scare the living daylight out of new programmers. Some things become second nature as we get better, and we forget how scary it was/is.
Fear is not a good learning tool, it makes you supress information given at that time. But good feelings, like ‘hey- this ain’t to bad. I understand this, this is easy!’ will stick. And little by little we will add complexity without the student even noticing. People ask me how I can run a marathon. I say one step at the time. That one step is so easy. And so is the next one. after 42 Km it was an easy run. Whenever it got hard, i just had to take one more step.
So the questions are just that, steps. One question at the time, one step at the time, we all become marathon developers.
This is quite personal, and I would really like to hear from you. What you think. Should I stop the Q and A , and let the experts do that kind of stuff?
Are we only entitled to an opinion if we are experts? And if so, when do I become one?