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
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.)
I'm here to help
- I like to teach,
- to write,
- to contribute to OSS,
- coordinating UGs and events
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).
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.
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.