Home > Editorial > People watching for fun and profit People watching for fun and profit Guest post by Jono Bacon 2004-08-28 Editorial 18 Comments I have just written an entry in my O’Reilly Weblog about the similarities between people with similar technical interests. Why do these patterns occur and what is it about certain people that binds them to certain technologies? 18 Comments 2004-08-28 6:56 pm … though I wish he would have gave few more examples. I think that alot of people do this people watching when they have nothing else to do, I know I do :^). 2004-08-28 9:02 pm I usually do it to try and predict people breaking things, hurt themselves, or say something stupid.. I find it more satisfying to find out if I was wrong or right immediately . 2004-08-28 9:06 pm It would have been “better” if there were some real examples. Definetly, seems the author really has nothing else to do with his time. I guess thats why we have Sociologists on our societies, to analyze differents aspects within differents sub-cultures or sth like that… Sorry,I did not like the article. 2004-08-28 9:54 pm perl just lets you play with more of other people’s code than any other language, vis-a-vise CPAN. it’d be fun to see some stereotypes past languages. 2004-08-28 9:54 pm Are you “cold reading” people or what? 🙂 2004-08-28 9:56 pm @chris: the problem with being a curmudgeon is being right. and thus all faith was slowly erroded. 2004-08-28 11:18 pm Not a very good article. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and read some more of his articles. He tends to create these amazing theories to publish and then backs them up with a couple of his personal observations. Total waste of 20 minutes. Phillip 2004-08-28 11:36 pm I wrote the article, and I think it should not be taken too seriously. I was just sharing a few of my thoughts on my O’Reilly blog – that is the while point of it. Sometimes I do write more constructive and thought out views, and sometimes I just scribe a few things down that I was thinking about. This is no huge social study – just a few observations to see what people think. Jono 2004-08-29 12:41 am i agree with the author – clusters of people according to their personality does correlate well with their technical interests and habit – i have seen this over 15 years! he didn’t give many examples, but his perl/python one was actually very good – the philospphy behind the languages is very different – and so are the people attracted to them. perhaps techie dating sites would ask for your language preferences in order? now how many women feature in his “people watching” … hmmm… 2004-08-29 12:51 am I love the way that, in small online communities, people make comments about a piece of writing/software that they wouldn’t make if they knew the author of said piece might read their comments. It’s especially amusing when the author being criticized responds and the person doing the criticizing has that moment of “holy shit, I didn’t think he’d actually see that!” Typically, I’ve noticed that the person doing the criticism just bows stealthily out of the discussion at that point, or compensates by escalating their criticism and becoming more aggressive/obnoxious about it. 2004-08-29 4:28 am One can have faith in failure, it’s hope that’s lost . 2004-08-29 6:56 am I found the article very interesting. It piqued my curiosity, in any case. I’ve often noticed the same thing, but I think it extends way beyond technical subcultures. 2004-08-29 11:44 am Within many communities, there are gods, demi-gods and mere mortals, and I rarely see one true leader who inspires the community with culture and thinking in addition to being the release maintainer and keeping the CVS ticking over. That’s because groups without hierarchy don’t scale. For example consensus only scales to 150 people and that doesn’t keep other groups who are influenced in mind. Think about it, how can communist China be governed by only 1 leader and millions of followers? There is a hierarchy behind that dictatorship but ofcourse the people are not equal when related to the government (which is _never_ the case in any situation where a government exists precisely for the reason it doesn’t scale). Your analysis on the Perl and Python communities is most likely not accurate for a simple (though perhaps hard to evade) reason: You are most likely not able to know a representable group of people of both fields in-depth. If you do, it would have cost you a great deal of time. This (in general) leads to biased, flat opinions on groups. 2004-08-29 12:18 pm I reread the article and stumbled upon the last alinea “Unfortunately, this is one of those frustrating stories where you don’t really get a full and complete conclusion. I have no idea why we have these similarities in different groups of people, and when I have some time, I plan on doing some real research into the subject to determine why some of these patterns exist. We all have hunches and views, and this is why I wanted to write this blog entry. What do you folks think about the subject, and what kind of patterns have you noticed in technical user groups?” And thought i had something to add on this. I’ve read some books on “groups”* and i forgot a lot about it already. It was in Dutch and i rent the books from a the psychology dept. of a local library. If you’re seriously interested, i suggest to do something similar: Get to a library or book store and see if you find a book regarding “groups” of your interest. The theories provided there allow you to apply the principles researched into practice as you’ve done here, but most likely allow you to research futher and more accurate * More specific, some elements include (to name a few): group thinking, why people wish to take part of a group, how participating starts, how conflicts arise, what the results of conflicts are. 2004-08-29 7:52 pm There is no conclusion because the article is a collection of assumptions and musings on a badly defined subject with no reference scientific fact. Like someone else said, this article is basically an application of psychological group profiling – just the author never mentions that. A defined practice in this industry is to vote on features and standardize procedures and languages where possible. Without this everyone would be doing what they want with no control. Most developers do not use a language out of choice or group mindset – but due to practical or business needs. Categorizing certain language users as ‘largely european’ or whatever else we can twiddle our fingers at to prove our self-importance is complete drivel. And how pray tell is a blog entry considered news? Slow day @ OSNews? 2004-08-30 8:33 am I am a very organized person, so seeing a blog entry on my feed of OSNews didn’t sit right with me. On the other hand, maybe I’m just a troll…*shrugs* 2004-08-30 9:27 am The crowd who have established sites at places like O’Reilly Weblog are basically out to make a fast buck off the internet to begin with. They for the most part don’t really understand the topics they are blowing hot air and/or smoke about. Hence you get utter nonsense like this “article” posing as news, or something that’s supposed to be “insightful” Of course it’s neither. 2004-09-01 5:14 pm Web-blogs are very interesting.