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Fuck brand builders, or, how I learned to start giving a shit and love devrant.

Brand builders are people who generally have very little experience and are attempting to obfuscate their dearth of ability behind a wall of non-academic content generation. Subscribe, like, build a following and everyone will happily overlook the fact that your primary contribution to society is spreading facile content that further obfuscates the need for fundamentals. Their carefully crafted presence is designed promote themselves and their success while chipping away at the apparent value of professional ability. At one point, I thought medium would be the bottom of the barrel; a glorified blog that provides people with scant knowledge, little experience and routinely low integrity a platform to build an echo chamber of replayed or copied content, techno-mysticism and best-practice-superstition they mistake for a brand in an environment where there's little chance of peer review. I thought it couldn't get any worse.

Then I found dev.to

Dev.to is what happens when all the absence of ability and skills insecurity on the internet gets together to form a censorship mob to ensure that no criticism, reality or peer review will ever filter into the ramblings of people intent on forever remaining at the peak of the dunning-kreuger curve. It's the long tail of YMCA trophy culture.

Take for example this article:

https://dev.to/davidepacilio/...

It's a shit post listicle by someone claiming to be "senior," who confidently states that "you are only as good as the tools you use." Meanwhile all the great minds of history are giving him the side-eye because they understand tools are just a magnifier of ability. If you're an amazing carpenter, power tools will help you produce at an exponential rate. If you're a shitty carpenter, your work will still be shit, there will just be more of it. The actual phrase that's being butchered here is "you're only as good as the tools you create." There's no moral superiority to be had in being dependent on a tool, that's just a crutch. A true expert or professional is someone who can create tools to aid in their craft. Being a professional is having a thorough enough understanding of the thing you are doing so as to be able to craft force multipliers that make your work easier, not just someone who uses them.

Ok, so what?

I'm sure he's a plenty fine human to grab drinks with, no ill will to him as a human. That said, were you to comment something to that effect on dev.to, you'd be reported by all the hangers-on pretty much immediately, regardless of how much complimentary padding and passive, welcoming language you wrap your message in. The problem with a bunch of weak people ganging up on the voice of reason and deciding they don't want things like constructive criticism, peer review, academic process or the scientific method is, after you remove all of that, you're just left with a formless sea of ideas and thoughts with no categorization, no order. You find a lot of opinions and nothing to challenge them and thereby are left with no mechanism for strong ideas to rise to the top. In that system, the "correct" ideas are by default those posited by the strongest personality.

We all need some degree of positive reinforcement. We also need to be smacked upside the head when we're totally off in the weeds. It's all about balance. The forums of ancient Greece weren't filled with people fervently agreeing with one another and shouting down new ideas en masse. We need discourse, not demagoguery.

Dev.to, medium, etc are all the fast fashion of the tech industry. Personally, I'd prefer something designed to last a little longer.

Comments
  • 2
    I have seen a fair amount of demagoguery coming from people who claim to be educated in the sciences. It goes both ways. People who have no clue trying to make sense of physical world should not be shamed because they find information that may be suspect. People should also not be shamed for directly challenging assumptions made by academia. I have seen the latter played out over and over in the media and in the forums of websites. You are right, we need discourse, but it needs to respect people and draw them to the table so they can have a chance to see other people's arguments. We currently don't have that in the our schools or society. That is why politics is so polarized. If you disagree with the state sponsored or media sponsored position you are a pariah. Discourse is so far from the table that there might not even be a table anymore. So, like you have observed we will continue to see people engaging in echo chambers because people are just assholes to them elsewhere.
  • 2
    @Demolishun
    You should challenge everything. Science is about healthy skepticism, reproducibility and data. It's an ethical obligation of intelligent people to challenge anything that attempts to shield itself from the standards of evidence.
  • 5
    @sweetnothings
    It's the end game I'm concerned about. When my skill set becomes sufficiently muddied with boot camp grads and commoditization, quality drops along with salaries. Everything decays from its purest form to something heavily diluted before passing out of existence; political systems, the internet, social progress etc. The duration which something lasts is determined by how long you can maintain a stable balance of things that sustain vs things that decay. Delaying the inevitable is the most fundamental human activity.
  • 3
    This is just one manifestation of a bigger problem: the overabundance of people who focus on fast and immediate returns and gratification, no matter how small or inefficient, over actual effort and long-term reward.

    Unfortunately, I believe that stems from nature's general tendency to take the path of least resistance over that of maximum efficiency, so I'm really at a loss on how to subvert that behaviour in the human mind.

    Social media has only sped up the feedback loop of this process and exposed it more clearly, but it has been a part of human interaction for a very long time.
  • 0
    Also twitter should be in the list. Brand builders lifting each other.

    The problem starts when they give talks like how x language/framework(mostly backed by big tech giants) is all you need in the life to become a greatest software developer mankind has ever seen.

    Of course these people can't tolerate your constructive criticism.

    I just ignore these people, but can't ignore the fact that they ultimately ruining the tech world.
  • 2
    @SortOfTested That's one of the reasons why I have a side project that's so much over the top for my domain that it easily blows any bootcamp crap out of the water.
  • 1
    I wonder if Ali Spittel has any tits.
  • 2
    Also @SortOfTested I just love your posts and I'm probably gonna have a bunch of malnourished interns make you a statue.
  • 5
    @sweetnothings
    I'm not scared of being replaced by bootcamp grads. I'm scared of skillset commoditization and a race to the bottom. Those are not the same thing.
  • 3
    This brings back memories.

    This post below was removed for its unbelievably stupid and misleading content. Have a laugh, and know why I hate the bloggers of the dev world.

    https://web.archive.org/web/...
  • 3
    @C0D4

    "Known as the fastest programming language"

    Nice!
  • 2
    @C0D4 @Demolishun
    Oh man, the wrong per minute (WPM) on that is over 9000 😝
  • 2
    @SortOfTested I fell for the trap, it was on LinkedIn and I clicked the thing and... well it was a journey of nothing I had ever experienced before.

    The WPM is of the charts!
    If only these platforms had a peer review process before such bullshit was uttered out of their asses.
  • 5
    @sweetnothings sometimes people undervalue themselves, even collectively. At my current gig we don't think very high of ourselves but we just had an old customer come back to us because competition didn't even know what to do with their massively complex business needs

    Knowing your exact value as an individual in the market and maximising it is an skill unto itself.
  • 1
    There is a culture of forced niceties. Basically if you are not a nice person or you don't provide your argument in a nice form, you and your arguement are invalid.

    I recently had an online debate in which I told a guy that he's a moron and gave him an argument. He came back with that I committed an ad hominem fallacy by calling him a moron.

    I was like: No, moron. The argumentum ad hominem is a fallacy in which the personal attack is an argument. You are wrong because you're an idiot is a fallacy, but you are an idiot and this is why is a perfectly valid argument.

    Why this example stood out to me was because this guy knew enough to look up fallacies, which usually is a good sign for debating with people. But somehow this forced nicety culture that protects people from all sorts of personal criticism found its way there.
  • 6
    We can't win really. Even here on devrant. I find dev.to a little bit more manageable and understandable than medium. I dislike them both, but greatly prefer one over the other. Here? It really isn't that much better. You have all of these shitposts everywhere and people commenting with the confidence of being an actual developer that would be better off just sitting in the dark accumulating knowledge. Besides you, and a couple of other people, there aren't that many useful members inside of this community. I have met some great people here, but I have also met some of the most opinionated assholes that have ever walked the earth without the benefit of getting a swift punch to the face.

    I don't think dev.to or medium are top notch. I just think they really aren't that different from devrant.

    P.D I wuv u and you are one of my fav users here.
  • 1
    @sweetnothings
    I don't remotely have time to unpack or reply to this this morning. I need to debate how, because I'm not interested in continuing to talk around one another, and I'm also not particularly interested in further thread detailing.
  • 0
  • 0
    Hey @SortOfTested, guess what, you fucking prick? I got banned for trying to pull the truth out of you. WHOOPS. I'm back!! But just for a little while.

    I just wanted to let you know that signed on a new client this week USING WORDPRESS that landing me an additional $1,500 a month. Sweet. Totally unexpected. But I bet you and your superior intellect probably hired on a few clients since we last talked too. I hope your super smartness has gotten you paid more during this pandemic! Go you!

    Again, since you are a fucking coward, I am going to ask you AGAIN what you got out of your snide rude comment. Do you feel superior to people when you say condescending things to them? You're smarter than me. OBVIOUSLY. And everyone here knows it because you are all "real" programmers.

    Suck my fucking dick, bitch. I bet you didn't just sign on an additional $1,500 a month with your superior intellect.
  • 2
    @imbacktested dude, chill pills are on the left, grab a handful.
  • 0
  • 0
    @sweetnothings but like, why so much agression? o.0
  • 1
    @sweetnothings The funny thing is that (almost) everyone on devRant thinks that WP is a piece of shit, and condolences to people who are forced to work on that because of money are commonplace.
  • 2
    @sweetnothings I like wordpress. I use it for a lot of things. But I hate some of the shitty decisions like the editor. Thankfully it can be replaced. Some of its quirks I could do without, but most of those have tools to ease the pain.
  • 2
    @sweetnothings At the same time, it's also why it sucks - because a blogging tool was frankensteined into doing everything.

    Also, the CMS hype 15 years ago was huge. Web devs everywhere suddenly got the idea of doing everything in online CMS even where it didn't make sense.

    What should have been developed is some user friendly offline CMS - basically an SSG disguised as WP on the editor end.
  • 2
    @sweetnothings
    In our experience, those motivations are the minority of cases. For a number of years WordPress blew up purely because it was the intersection of free (license, service and build), low barrier to entry (PHP simplicity, no partner model, no requirements to call yourself a WP professional, etc) and absence of curation.

    This led to a perfect storm of coders of all levels flooding the internet and marketplaces with plugins, site templates, etc. That gold rush mentality persists to this day in many ways. The absence of curation in marketplaces made it a frequent target for malware distributors. Another legion of developers would release plugins consisting of stolen/copytheft code, many times out of ignorance of copyright and patent law which led to legal actions against companies using the code (even bit Microsoft once). Even when the platform's market wasn't intentionally malicious or flouting IP law, the platform's ability to support dangerously out of date versions of PHP earned it the top spot for vulnerabilities and exploit exposure for many years.

    I don't generally agree with your characterization of other CMSes as being inconsistent and feature chasing, as most of the significant players are stuck in the mid 2000s and struggling to remain relevant in their markets due to how out of date they are. Most developers have an overall negative opinion of CMS frameworks in general (websphere portal, SharePoint, sitecore, etc etc) due to lock-in and dependency because they originated in the era when the portlet specification was all the rage, and developing for a CMS became a career black hole. You'd get trapped into an ecosystem that was fragile, performed poorly and oftentimes prevented you from gaining relevant experience to be marketable elsewhere. That, and, with the requirements most companies have, it would be faster, better quality and cheaper in terms of hardware and maintenance to create a bespoke solution sans CMS.
  • 2
    @sweetnothings
    As to your other comments from days ago, I still haven't had time to draft a proper reply.

    A vein of my response will however be that developing for a CMS isn't software engineering most of the time, it's technician work. It's not engaging or interesting for people with an engineering skillset because you're simply plugging into an abstraction trying to be a platform; any software development was done by the people who made the CMS, you're just extending their work in whatever limited scope you're allowed.

    Aaaaand now I'm back to actual work 😆
  • 1
    @sweetnothings
    So, to have that discussion you need some definitions. I would discriminate between technology and tools. Tools are built to accomplish a task and don't necessarily have any common interoperable corollaries that share genericisms. Technologies, on the other hand are just a set of cased principles-cum-standards that are implemented.

    Tools produce narrow ecosystems. Technologies tend to be more open-ended and flexible.

    Ecosystem is a tad buzzy and overloaded, so I'll use more finite terms in its place.

    I'd argue good architecture and planning should be build around technologies and tools then selected or developed to accomplish/implement your tech arch. Rigorous adherence to this principle means your code and by extension your org will have options if a particular implementation or abstraction proves unreliable over time. At the risk of appearing to appeal to authority, it became clear to me during my time there why Amazon canonified this type of thinking as one of their leadership principles.

    Python is hugely popular in data science due to the nature of how the runtime operates, and the fact that things like jupyter notebooks and math libs have grown out of it organically. People at the edges however are expanding into Julia and R (and Scala to a lesser extent); I expect at least the prior to gain a lot of steam in the next few years.

    Jupyter is a good example of technological intersectionality, as the notebook concept itself started on python, but the kernel architecture has led to dozens of language implementations and runtimes that it supports. They can also be used outside the tech stack. Other examples of the same principle in action are jvm langs, dotnet cli langs.

    So, the tl;Dr I suppose becomes: Prefer technological composability to tool dictation.
  • 2
    @sweetnothings Man I wonder how I missed all that :( I love watching people fighting on the internet. Sometimes I even fall for it and do it myself :P
  • 1
    @AleCx04 I read your comments as "I like to watch chicks fight." Sorry if that was not the intent.
  • 1
    @Demolishun it is not an incorrect statement in itself. I do love a good chick fight, specially when clothes go out of the window.

    Can't help it really, I am a straight red blooded male :( it is in my genes.
  • 2
    @sweetnothings

    *salutes*

    ᕙ (° ~ ° ~)
  • 1
    @sweetnothings At ease, private!

    @AleCx04 Yeah I think we're gonna need proof of that "red blood"... Can't trust a statement just like that!
  • 1
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