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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Something's always wrong

If your entire metric for whether you're doing well or not is a web forum, you will probably never be satisfied because the posters on these forums are never satisfied. No matter what happens, there will always be something you did incorrectly. I've seen this manifest itself a bunch of times. Sometimes I've just been a bystander, and sometimes I've been on the receiving end of it.

Case in point: let's say you're going to write a software project. No code exists yet. You have some kind of sketch or mock-up or some other shiny stuff, but it's definitely not code. This gets put up on a Kickstarter type site in an attempt to make money.

You will hear from people who will call it "vaporware". As far as they are concerned, you should have written it first. Otherwise, how can they know you'll deliver?

Then there's the case where you write a program and then offer to release the code after the fact. It also goes out for some kind of crowd funding, but this time there really is code behind all of this. Perhaps there is a demo version to show what it does.

Having done this, you will hear from people who say you should have just cut it loose instead of "holding it hostage".

If you just release it and then ask for money in order to support it after the fact, people will yell at you for having the gall to ask. It's not just that they aren't supporting the project, but they also go to lengths to throw a few rocks in your general direction before departing the area.

Then let's say you write something totally on your own and then release it for free and never ask for any money. Someone will eventually come along and say that it's crap and they could do it better. They'll talk about how they managed to create a variant which is smaller or faster or both. Then it'll become apparent that theirs is so much "better" because it only handles their personal set of use cases and forgets about everyone else.

Of course, when you mention this, they vanish, never to be seen again. They sure don't come back to actually try doing something about the "problem" which caused them to start mouthing off in the first place.

Given some of this behavior, it should come as no surprise that some projects are deliberately created in private and not shared widely. It's not even because it's some kind of "secret sauce", because it isn't. Instead, it's merely done this way to avoid the spitballs and other hurled insults from the global peanut galleries.

One wonders if there are secret forums which exist just to share such tools among people who promise to not be dicks about it. These forums are private not because of any illegality of the tools, but rather to keep out the annoyances who contribute nothing and only serve to make people needlessly doubt their own abilities.

Let the haters suffer.

Finally, here's a test for whether people are deliberately being mean. Wait for one to report a fundamental problem with something. Then show that it does not actually exist. See if they accept it or not. If they drop it, then see if they turn around and find something else to yell about. If this happens, you can be sure they are purposely looking for ways to hate on your project.

With that established, treat them appropriately.