Saturday, April 07, 2012

JavaScript Community is Real and Growing

Several people have poked at the phrase "JavaScript Community" since JSConf 2012. David Flanagan has said that "it is too big to be a community." Ryan Funduk has said there is a "Culture of Exclusion". There have been lots of tweets and comments. I strongly disagree with both views.

There is a JavaScript community. Fact. There are people working together on JavaScript projects and that makes a community. No matter what you say or try to do, people working together form a community. Recognizing that there is a community is healthy and trying to deny it is harmful in my opinion.

If we did not talk about the community it would certainly be exclusionary. Only by recognizing the community can we make it better and inclusive. Discussion of -isms are welcomed. Talking about the role of alcohol is appropriate. Debates about events are healthy.

Rebecca Murphey, Marco Rogers,  Tim Caswel (in comment to David Falanagan) have already pointed out that a community does not necessarily mean that everyone has the same beliefs. In fact, accepting divergent beliefs in a community are a strength. For example, my strong pro-union views certainly are different than most, but I feel quite comfortable discussing them with anyone at a community event. Divergent views is one reasons I join a community.

None of this introspection should overshadow the tremendous good that the JavaScript community can do and has done. For example, has strongly promoted Coder Dojo with attention and money to help kids around the world. I look at the great careers that the yayQuery group and others have been able to build with the support of the community. Personally, I've made many new friends thanks to JSConf and have professionally gained. The positives are overwhelming.

When this community started it was very small. In many ways the first JSConf and started the community. JSConf started inclusive of world, but only a few hundred people were interested in participating.

Today the JavaScript community is huge. With that growth come growing pains. How do we be more inclusive? How can events scale? How do the norms change for a larger community? What are the values? Other communities have faced similar problems. The JavaScript community is very receptive to finding answers to these and other questions. We should be thankful of that value.

Also defending the community is proof that we have a community.

Finally, a community is what you give to it. If you don't contribute it is hard to get anything out of it. So please contribute in ways that are appropriate for you. Let's do even more good.

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