The Pillars of Community Involvement : Part II

Read Part I Here

Second Pillar: The Picker and Chooser

In continuing my chat about the pillars of community involvement, it’s now time to discuss the “picker and chooser”.  If you recall from part 1, I discussed the solo coder, or the person that wasn’t involved in community events at all.  The “picker and chooser” is the next logical step.

I have to give this type of person a big hand, because they are involved in the developer community.  I cannot fault them, because they’re at some of the meetings.  I guess I could fault them, because they’re not at all the meetings.  You see, this is the type of developer that would look at synopsis for the upcoming user group meeting, and decided whether or not the topic is relevant to him or her.

I feel that if you’re going to be involved with the community, then you need to be involved with the community 100%.  Don’t like the meeting topic?  You should come anyway.  You never know?  You just might learn something.  I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to user group meetings not caring about the topic.  Many of those times though, I’ve walked out with a bit of information I used later on or didn’t know I needed.

Here’s a story from a user group meeting a few weeks ago:  We ran into an issue, and the speaker had to change topics the morning of the talk.  There was not enough time to alert all the people registered for the meeting.  During the welcome time, I mentioned the change in topic, and a member acted disappointed and frustrated.  It seemed as though we were wasting his time.  What if I had been able to get the topic change notice out?  Would that change have impacted his wanting to attend the meeting?  Why should it?

The answer is plain and simple, these types of community members are selfish.  They’re only interested in using the resources of the community, but not providing anything back to it.

How does a person on this pillar move up?  Very simply.  Go to meetings you’re not interested in.  Ask questions and attempt to learn something.  Some knowledge is better than no knowledge.

Don’t forget that the meetings are not the only reason for attending!  Come visit your friends and peers.  The 30 minutes of welcome time and the 30 minutes of clean up time after the meeting can be more meaningful than the hour and half of the meeting itself.

You get back what you put into the developer community.  Come on out!  We won’t bite.

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