Friday, October 12, 2012

PWNED: WebCamp KL Online Culture

I believe WebCamp KL is the most interesting and engaging tech group in Malaysia, I have no doubt about that (but there is always room for improvement). The community is smart, knowledgeable and helpful; but sometimes I felt something is missing there: humility and respect.


There are bound to be some influential people in a community (maybe it due to their charm, background or contribution), and they are usually the most vocal one as well. But with great power comes great responsibility, as they could “skew” the direction of the discussion.

Sometimes I am not sure people agreed with them because they are popular or cool (fan mentality, like following TechCrunch), but most of the time their comment garner more support (or likes) than a more insightful one posted by a loner. The discussion always go in favor of the most popular person, not necessary the most insightful one. As someone with such “power”, I hope they are aware that their actions are watched and followed closely by others, and I do hope they would put their power into good use.

IMHO: someone with authority who is at times pessimistic, yet people still cheers on his quality; someone felt the responsibility, thus being cautious in posting.

Pwning the Noob

On the other extreme of the spectrum is the noob, who always get pwned by someone with no humility, the mob, and sometimes the Authority.

“Who want help me build a social network with 5 million users” might sounds like noob request begging to be pwned, but every actions has it consequences. My wife told the about something she heard on the radio show, about a famous music producer refuse to be a judge on those TV singing contest, and he persuaded his fellow colleagues not to do it as well. His reasoning is: basically what the judges do are squashing people’s dream, or giving them false hope, which are cruel things to do. What makes you think you have the power to judge others and predict their fate?

We talk about passion and dream, yet we unconsciously eating people’s dream for lunch. Are we trying to role-play Simon Cowell or Donald Trump here? It might not be a smart or insightful question, but if possible, try to refrain from sarcasm or personal attack which bruises someone’s pride.

Ever wonder why only a handful of people are the most vocal on the community? All the newbies are so afraid to try to say something and get pwned (or already pwned).

Pretending to be pwning the Noob

There are always some fraction wars, like HTML5 vs. Native, PHP vs. Ruby/Python, and NoSql vs. RDBMS, which are legitimate questions with no clear winner, depending very much on who are the fan boy and use case.

I still remember I raised a light comment of HTML5 for games, then some people jump to the gun saying they HATE people like me for following the hype, claiming HTML5 is not for games. I can accept his argument, where traditional PC and Console games does require higher hardware capability (then again, I saw some FPS build on HTML5), and I agree developing game on HTML5 is pretty darn challenging; but think about casual games, and HTML5 provide no-install and play instantly (which are critical to higher play rate).

The dude saw an opportunity for pwning, and go straight for it. If someone of authority made the same statement, I doubt the dude will do the same. People are so eager to prove that they are right and more superior, that they are willing accuse someone else of being lesser in order to push their values and views into others, and claim victory (PWNED!).

Humility and Respect

I hope we can agree that most successful people are humble people (e.g. Robert Kwok), as they would not dare to say that they are right and others are wrong, and they usually brush off their success to some luck factor. I have no doubt Donald Trump is a smart and successful businessman, but do we want to learn from him as role model? Why not Warren Buffet?

I have no doubt a lot of people in WebCamp KL are smart, knowledgeable and probably successful; I do hope there is more humility and respect shown in the group. A humble person doesn’t point their finger at someone, and say that someone is wrong, underprivileged or deserved your pity. You can voice your different view in a general manner, but personal attack is not cool.

Most people would agreed they could respect someone with different political or technological views, but most of the times their actions speak otherwise.

Guidelines for commenting

Before you post your opinion, ask the following:

  • Are you being humble and respecting others’ view? (You are SO WRONG and you know shit!)
  • Are you noob pwning or pretending to be noob pwning? (DIE, you stupid minions)
  • Are you giving your personal views without hurting other people in the process, directly or indirectly? (I despise those people who believe in HTML5 hype)
  • When you click like, it is because it’s insightful or something you agree or you are just supporting your friend and authority? (try to show support for good stuff, not just the popular stuff)

Maybe it’s my fault 

Then again, I feel like I am the only one noticing the problem, so there are chances that there is nothing wrong with WebCamp KL Facebook Group, the problem is just me: am I too sensitive?

Maybe it because I am not the “Authority” voice (no charm and reputation), yet I like to be vocal at times (I have spent enough quiet days at school, it’s time to speak up). So I have been in the receiving end of what I would like to call “pretentious noob pwning” (I am a noob? NO!!! Haha). Sometimes I pity a newbie got noob-nuked by someone with no respect for others, and the worst case when the mob join in the fray; and the only thing I could do to salvage them is finding something likeable in their comment (hopefully there is one), and click like.

Sometimes, I do feel like refraining from posting anything anymore. The “cyber-bullying” phenomenon is not that serious yet, but I do hope it’s not going to get worse. If WebCamp KL is to be an elite club (natural progression), let it be the elite club with humility and respect, not ego and pwning (head hunter culture) as its core culture.

Use your judgement and power of likes wisely to upkeep the balance, and refrain from personal attack (directly or indirectly, intentional or unintentional).

No comments: