Hopefully, in both cases, for the better. I want to learn things that make what I do better informed, more valuable (however that is defined) and more timely. And I want to reciprocate, to give others the benefit of what I am learning.
The people who read this blog, by and large, are really smart. I'm learning that because, after turning off the comments, I'm hearing from people about my blog that surprise me. People I didn't know read it. If I knew they did, I might ask them what they think about this or that. Or to fill in a bit of knowledge that I am missing and don't find online. But if I don't know they're reading, I don't know to ask.
Further, they read the comments too. That's a surprise. But they don't contribute. Now, to me -- that's not good. In fact, that's bad.
And some read the comments because they like to see my response to off-topic stuff. To that I say *@#$*(&@#. What a waste. I work so hard, really -- every damn day -- to create software that makes this stuff work better, and that's what you look to me for? To those people, hope you find some other place for your emotional thrill. I'm not in that business.
The Mail Pages, very early in the evolution of Scripting News, were the ideal. They were a lot of work, a lot more than comments. But the result was incredible. It was like the stage at a really good conference. The people had important information and perspectives to share, and lots of them shared. They were excited about a new medium and it showed. It was the kind of excitement you see in basketball players the last few weeks, the thrill they're experiencing, that they were always capable of, catalyzed by an improbable star. Newness brings out goodness, it seems.
I hear that some people feel there's a virtue in being silent. I don't. I see it as selfishness. You're willing to take but you're not willing to give. Not a big fan of people who do that.
It's the same gripe I have with the tech investors. When the holes are being dug they don't have any help to offer, but when the ideas are ready for commercializing, they are happy to take the work and run with it. Great. Where's the profit in figuring out what's next? Where's the incentive? Having been around this block repeatedly and seeing unbelievable selfishness, I find myself wishing there was a way to say No, you didn't help so you can't have the benefit.
I've actually had people say, to my face, that my job is to work for free, and their job is to make the money. How could someone actually let those words come out of their mouth, with a straight face, with any honor or self-respect? These are people with kids, who presumably teach them to share what they have, and to help run the house. Yes people do things they don't want to do, because they need doing. So, as adults, why don't they roll up their sleeves and help?
Think about what you want from the net. And what you're willing to give up for that. Perhaps a few of your ideas? Or nuggets of truth you learn by doing what you do? Or if you spot an error in someone else's work, are you willing to help out by writing a great bug report? Think about it when you look for the comments and don't find them. They're not here now quite possibly because you weren't willing to contribute.
PS: I love that the rotating header for today is the BSOD. Totally random. I had no role in chosing it other than writing the code that uses a random number generator.