Amy Hoy put her finger sqaurely on a problem that has been eating at my subconcious, but I hadn’t been able to articulate it to myself: The quality of the online Rails community has deteriorated.
Of course, a lot of the problem is just the explosion in the volume of messages and questions that is an inevitable consequence of the kind of rapid growth that Rails has experienced.
But there is another significant factor, and this is one we can do something about: the Help Vampires (great name Amy!).
Identifying Help Vampires can be tricky, because they look like any ordinary person (or internet user, whichever is lesser). But by closely observing an individual’s behavior using this handy checklist, you too can identify Help Vampires in the field:
- Does he ask the same, tired questions others ask (at a rate of once or more per minute)?
- Does he clearly lack the ability or inclination to ask the almighty Google?
- Does he refuse to take the time to ask coherent, specific questions?
- Does he think helping him must be the high point of your day?
- Does he get offensive, as if you need to prove to him why he should use Ruby on Rails?
- Is he obviously just waiting for some poor, well-intentioned person to do all his thinking for him?
- Can you tell he really isn’t interested in having his question answered, so much as getting someone else to do his work?
Amy doesn’t stop there, she continues by showing concretely showing how deal with the problem effectively (for both the vampire and the victim).
Amy’s post is divided into two parts, please read both of them: