Lead iOS Developer
There seems to be a trend of many talented developers writing almost about anything, they contribute to hundreds of repositories and have written many bug reports.
“But, but… only the best developers blog and write!”
That’s a myth. There are developers who just don’t blog, don’t write and don’t contribute and are just as good as the most talented developers out there. And you can’t prove it because you won’t find them online.
These developers stay in the shadows for two obvious reasons, (1) nature of their work and/or (2) simply not having time.
I enjoy my privacy, and I enjoy people not finding anything about me on the web. If you do find anything; then it’s just another empty and/or inactive account that I probably don’t care about.
To respect my privacy, I use multiple anonymous accounts and it has been best decision I ever made in my career. This includes almost all the common platforms, Google Groups, Hacker News, and many other specific discussion boards I can’t directly mention – you get the idea.
Well, it sounds you’re just paranoid.
No, I don’t think so. I never understood why people find it so important to have an online presence using their real name. Anyone can find personal details about you, know everything about your work, read everything you write and find all the bad code you did long time ago (we all did). People that seek information about you will always find something, whether to use it against you or simply find things they wont like. Why give them this opportunity?
I’m still not convinced… Are you saying we should not contribute?
No, I guess it’s a personal choice here. I simply keep my online presence minimal, even if under pseudonyms. I simply don’t find it important and it takes time away from all the projects I personally want to focus on.
I code everyday, hack things apart, have a good career, more than satisfiable income, plenty of projects I share with people I only want to. I can only see more disadvantages having online presence and deal with unnecessary drama forcing maintainer to just quit. Instead, I can happily wake up every day and not have to worry about hundreds of PRs and issues on my projects. I have a clear mindset each day and have my own agenda. And yes I know you can be efficient at PRs and perhaps it’s not a problem for some because they enjoy it, but regardless of the argument, it takes time.
Sounds like you are not contributing to the open-source community at all!
Wrong. First, it’s the other way around. The idea of open-source projects was always to improve your own project and get feedback from the community. Contributing to projects is feedback to others, and it’s a choice, not a requirement that makes you a good developer.
Second, not writing != not coding. I code a lot, both in my career and as a hobby in my free time. I will make a lot of forks and commits on GitHub, however, I won’t generally create a PR. Developers that really care about maintaining their project and appreciate people contributing, they should look at all commits made in forks, and appreciate these commits. They can learn from it, investigate the changes and merge them if they wish. In a lot of occasions, my commits end up in other people’s PRs after they’ve lurked for it, and they are polite enough to mention me and give props.
In some cases, while keeping all my presence minimal, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to create PR request, in case such as Django bug affecting production servers. In a professional work environment, with strict policies and rules, your changes must end up in the stable trunk; I would still use a throwaway account to create the PR.
Lastly, good coder != good writer. There are developers out there that are just not writers, and I don’t blame them. We developers are good at what we do, and it is a completely different skill set required to write well.
All the above things about privacy sound great, until you go for a job interview. It’s bad to see employers only selecting candidates that shine in number of projects and contributions. All that information should be a guide but ultimately provide a test and simply ask hard questions. Not to mention, employers can just ask about the projects or examples of work – discussing them verbally on a face-to-face basis is unlikely to have any impact on your online presence or privacy, but it can evidently prove the experience required. I have seen cases with candidates signing NDA’s during interview, and it’s not unheard of.
All that said, I wish well developers wanting to spend time on their own projects, or if they choose to respect their privacy. I don’t think I am the only one.
If this story is in any way similar to yours, I would be happy to read your thoughts – even if under a pseudonym of course.
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