I find myself wondering when the world and Geek-dom in particular became so full of haters. It seems every forum is full of bile and every discussion descends into a slagging match.
The catalyst for this thought was reading some of the reviews for the Blackberry Passport. To be sure, this is an unusual device and Blackberry have targeted it at a particular segment of the market. They’ve looked at what they think a business person wants and tried to tailor the device to that. All credit to them. They’ve been on the ropes a little in the past few years and they’ve come out swinging. I hope it does well and I do harbour some desire of getting one.
However many of the reviews have been scathing. Not a case of the reviewer carefully considering the device and the target market and coming to a conclusion that they think it is wrong. Rather they have been smug and sarcastic writings of someone who has taken the opinion that it isn’t Android or iOS and therefore must be rubbish by definition. The attitude of it-doesn’t-work-like-I-expect-thus-does-not-work is prevalent as these people mistake easy to learn for easy to use.
The followup comments on the reviews have equally been full of the smug self righteous proclaiming that their view is the correct one and that those who disagree are defective in some way. Often resorting to ad hominim attacks.
I fear that this is a reflection of the world. Debates in Parliament are now at the level of playground conflicts. There is no respect for other peoples views, no attempt to come to a consensus or persuade through reason or great rhetoric.
However, the geek world has something especially unpleasant about it. In every community and hobby that I’ve every joined, from BMF and running to the Salsa scene and to things I did as a kid such as racing model cars, I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I’ve been helped in to the hobby, advice given and generally made to feel a part of things as quickly as possible. Compare that with the experience of “newbies” in the tech industry. Treated very badly and with contempt. Advice given grudgingly and often appallingly bad advice given as some sort of hazing ritual. And the experience of gaming is even worse. Abuse shouted over communications channel with the Women who dare venture into the games receiving worse. It is difficult to believe that this is the supposedly civilised west in the 21st century.
Perhaps it is our own fault. As so called digital natives, there is a loss of ability to concentrate and this means that carefully constructed arguments are not read. A common reply to any long article is tl;dr.
We’re losing something here. If the masses impose norms and any deviation is ridiculed, where is the innovation going to come from? If those new to the tech industry are comprehensively hazed, where is the next generation going to come from?