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16 days since last ruby drama (rubydramas.com)
83 points by neXter on Sept 7, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments

I'm a manager of a user group (not Ruby or Rails, but ColdFusion) but when we have celebs in audience, I always default to them. Members have purchased their books, and read their blogs; they respect them more than they respect me or the speaker (usually me, managers commonly speak at smaller communities). Should they be pricks? No. But that's a question for the universe to deal with; as for our group, we like the celebs. (Ruby world's Katz's are CF's Camdens, Nadels, and Fortas - same difference...)

Having listened to Yahuda on various podcasts and whatnot, I get that he doesn't keep his mouth shut. Sometime's he's a douche, othertime's he's the smartest dude in the room and should be listened to. If you are a UGM and didn't expect this, maybe you should decline Yahuda's chance to speak.. his personality isn't exactly a secret, just saying.

tl;dr pricks will be pricks; experts ditto. Take the good with the bad, and research celebs.

The ColdFusion scene has stars?

There's... there's a ColdFusion scene? Do you guys have dance-offs with the ASP Classic guys or what?

Several active conferences. A thriving open source community. ASP classic is a dead product; All three CF engines released new versions in the last year, with support for REST, WebSockets, updated ORM support, etc. While you'll probably never see it used in YC because it's not "cool", there's tons of it in Fortune 500 and the private sector.

The main 'product' of the company I work for is an ecommerce platform written in Coldfusion - Electric Six played at our last Christmas party, and I can report there was indeed much dancing.

If the presenter is actually saying something that is totally wrong, I would argue that they should have chosen a different topic and Katz was doing that conference a service.

Edit: although maybe he could have been more polite about it? But sitting through the misinformation seems like a waste of everybody's time.

I think there's a difference between the presenter being wrong versus a way they could do it better.

If the presenter is wrong, a polite correction/adjustment can be fantastic.

If the presenter is just.. inefficient? Then maybe it can be turned into a learning experience involving but not embarrassing the presenter. Then the guy walks away thinking "wow, so-and-so taught me how to do this even better!"

From the latest drama, this is a brilliant simile: https://github.com/rails/rails/commit/0dd24728a088fcb4ae616b...

>I can't get behind a change like this. This isn't even syntactic sugar. It's more like syntactic aspartame. It might slim down your code, but it's also a carcinogen.

Hang on, I thought they debunked the whole "aspartame is a carcinogen" thing...

Yes we can thank our FDA and Donald Rumsfeld for our government's acceptance of aspartame. Good thing the dangerous plant stevia was banned until 2008 and we had the safe aspartame, thanks Rumsfeld!

There are still studies that find fault with aspartame, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20886530, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17805418 But hey, you can trust cancer.gov if you want. I don't touch the stuff, it tastes so disgusting anyway.

Yes, this is true. I mostly liked the play off of "syntactic sugar". I'm trying to think of some concept/implementation that mimics syntactic-sugar yet is ultimately unsatisfying (though not harmful) but it's too early in the morning.


As an outsider to the ruby community (though a fan of the language), I'm not sure I have the right to an opinion on these dramas, but as a frequent unwitting observer of these events (since these dramas end up on sites I frequent and so on), I'd like to offer this thought:

The whole "coders-as-rockstars" meme, and the attendant treatment/fascination with these people -- I would be a slightly happier person if the world let that idea go. To me, it seems like this idea is where a lot of these dramas come from. People whose "celebrity" is overvalued, and people who pay way too much attention to these people. Coders are not rock stars. They're just not. They might be really good at what they do, they might even be 10x better than average, but its just not the same thing as being a "rockstar" and all the preening that comes with that, culturally or otherwise.

I can't think of anything less rockstarish than arguing with people over the internet or being a jerk at a usergroup.

The fact that these "dramas" are even news to anyone is just a side effect of the fact that people give certain drama queens way more attention than they deserve. I mean I'll admit it's entertaining -- but at the end of the day I feel like the fact that some guy was a jerk at a local conference, I mean, I just don't care. It's like intellectual junk food. I get a rise out of it, but it leaves me feeling like I haven't consumed something that makes me a better person.

You somewhat focus on being a jerk at user groups, but you're perpetuating a story from a blog post of a third person account that simply speculated about how someone might have felt without giving almost any context to the situation or first hand information from the speaker or Yehuda. I've been part of a Java usergroup where interrupting the speaker/presentation was not only acceptable but often the norm. Without any context you can't really say how that behavior was received.

Sometimes I think that Ruby's "drama" is equivalent to Rails' "magic", i.e. weak criticism perpetuated more by detractors and not really considered a problem internally.

I agree entirely. I started programming with ruby and rails about a year and a half ago and have made a habit of going to meetups and conferences in the area. I have seen nothing that wasn't intended to be constructive and helpful and I would argue that the ruby/rails community is one of the most welcoming I've run into. I have witnessed some misunderstandings that spun out of control, but I don't think you can say this is something specific to the ruby community and I'd argue that it has very little to do with celebrity-seeking. Any community is going to have some friction between elements at times, and I think this site just contributes to the overblown perception that all rubyists are primadonnas and drama-queens.

Aren't some programming celebrities more like rock stars than they are like an average programmer?

They (can) demand high pay. They tour events and people come to see them. They get press coverage. People are excite to download their latest code. They do creative work and are opinionated about it.

That's not to say that all programmers should try to. E rock stars or that you should put that in a job listing, but there are people in the tech community that have a life more like that of a rock star than that of your average employed programmer.

Note the last "drama" was not to do with yehuda. the page isnt very clear but it is https://github.com/rails/rails/commit/0dd24728a088fcb4ae616b...

(the "Last Drama" link, not the RSS links below)

I was a little disappointed when they didn't include the ruckus about Zed not starting out teaching Array#each. That should probably have earned a spot.

Zed is a clever marketer and that was purely a marketing strategy on his part. It probably would have cost $20K to get that amount of traffic via AdWords.

In communities where the majority are incredibly passionate about the topic there's inevitably drama. It's part and parcel of the process.

Although it is amusing that the whole 'MINSWAN' has departed the community slightly, given that was a big motto for a lot of Rubyists a while back and part of the reason why learning Ruby was so fun, everyone helped everyone (mostly).

If you replace "are incredibly passionate" with "have incredibly huge egos" then I'd agree with you. I don't see much of this happening in the Python or Clojure community - they're all too busy programming.

I don't really think it has anything to do with egos. Maybe this goes back to steve yegge's conservative vs liberal languages. clojure & python have communities that are much more conservative than ruby's. Yegge's argument that python is conservative, is due to google's style guide which forbids metaprogramming.

Yegge is fairly accurate with his conservative vs liberal rating in regard to each language community. Compare the type of mailing list posts in golang-nuts to nodejs; there's definitely more arguments in nodejs than in golang.

In terms what they can do, Ruby and Python are very similar, yet Python generates about 1/100th the drama of the Ruby community. I'd say that points very strongly at ego, or at least the culture of the community. If that doesn't convince you, have a look at the update at the bottom of this post from Giles: http://gilesbowkett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/rails-went-off-ra...

Python programmers appear to be more welcoming and don't seem to have the same need to wave enormous meta-programming wangs at each other. Not to say that metaprogramming isn't useful, but that it's just another tool in the toolbox. Take mailsnake for example: https://github.com/Leftium/mailsnake/blob/master/mailsnake/m... Completely classy :)


Being a jerk isn't always the wrong thing to do. But people who are not dhh propagate the tone without always propagating the situational awareness.

IMO this site is a nice reminder that no development community is immune from drama. Every line of code risks controversy. Every interaction has the potential to turn into a debate. A single action can lead to completely new ways of thinking.

And really, that's one of the things that makes software development great.

The thing that made smile most on the site was the "Powered by PHP"

My favorite recent ruby drama was rails including Coffeescript by default: https://github.com/rails/rails/compare/9333ca7...23aa7da (You have to scroll down for the images)

Thanks for mentioning this, very good stuff I never scrolled down to see.

I'd like to see the Python version.

Honestly I don't see this kind of thing happening in the Python community. Python devs constantly complain about Py3 and unicode all the time but I don't think it ever gets to the level of "drama" or vitriol.

With a "Powered by Ruby" link on the top right of the page.


How ironic is it for this person to call out Yehuda and say don't correct people, when that is exactly what she is doing, she is correcting Yehuda.

If she followed her own advice she would have wrote the blog post about a "un named" person and maybe waited a few weeks. Instead she is doing exactly what she is advocating against: Publicly telling some one they are wrong...

Read the article. The author is quite explicit that the issue is in the timing - you don't interrupt DURING a presentation. You're being extremely uncharitable.

from the comments: bokmann on twitter

I was not the speaker whose demo he redid, but was there with the speaker and had a similar point in my metaprogramming talk.

Here is the code from my talk, and a new file named 'yehuda_inspiration.rb' that discusses Yehuda's change to the demo. https://gist.github.com/1893359

In short, the other presenter was not wrong... he had a piece of code that was stylistically different than what Yehuda would have written (see the 'include vs. extend' comments in that gist. Feel free to read that code example in that gist and make up your own mind.

I know first hand the other presenter did not take offense to this - although Yehuda claiming something is wrong when it is solely a style issue is a bit hubris.

Mind that she's not doing it in "local user group", so it's ok...

Leaving advocatus diaboli role, the local user group is especially great place to learn about mistakes and better ways, as embarrassment that hits you is not that big (after all the local group is relatively small, it's rather not hundreds of people) and we all know that no one knows everything, we're all learning for the whole life. If someone is willing to explain me why what I'm doing is wrong or why his way is simply better than mine, I'm all ears. I don't have to agree immediately, we can talk, dwell a little about it, but in the end at least I gain other PoV, that may become even my own later.

Well, correcting someone during presentation may seem as not the best time for it, but actually in _local group_ it is the best time. Strike while the iron is hot, otherwise people may commit wrong things to their memory.


The real problem is much bigger though. I noticed that lot of people cannot endure critique at all, even constructive one (and sometimes especially such one, if they somehow finally accomplished in their lives ways to ignore other types of critique). It's scary, because being criticized by your environment is a natural way of evolution and progress, as we all want to become better (or at least: most of us). Too gentle upbringing enforced in many countries (you cannot even smack your child for doing bad things, etc.) may be part of this spreading narrow and dangerous "delicate" mindset. It's even much worse that many communities (you can find them on internet a lot) disallow comments not resembling praises...

Really, do we have to be silent or say/write "awesome", "cool" or "great" in every second sentence, but we cannot say something is wrong, bad, lacking or incomplete as it may harm the presenter/doer/coder?

Where this world is going I don't even...

Is any of this stuff actually ruby drama, or all just rails drama? I know the old ruby community has had a really hard time recovering from being infected with the rails trash, do they still exist or were they pushed out by the "rockstars"?

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