[The beginner groups]

About 5 months ago I started a new lockdown hobby to replace the one I lost. And this week, part of that meant I was searching for some help on the new hobby. Like what do all the words in the guide mean, and… when I’m in the room with everyone they all speak this language that I’m still learning. I feel like a total n00b. A derogatory term I know. But the beginners need a safe place.

So I was so chuffed to find a beginners Facebook group. And you all probably know the Facebook groups where they ask you a few questions to prove that you are a human first, and try make sure you are a legitimate follower of whatever craze the group is all about, just to be let in. Well, I get through and it’s like wow, a place to ask those stupid questions. And so I was in my element. They made me feel so welcome and on a level I could feel fine with asking dumb questions. Turns out everyone finds the language bewildering too. that that was good.

I see a lot of people seeking the assistance of a “tutor” or a “mentor”. I’ve had the advantage of a mentor in my new hobby, and I think people underestimate the sheer amount of volunteer time mentoring takes, it’s not really sustainable. Moreover, I lately think more about safe spaces instead as a solution. I’m the elephant in a china shop when it comes to people, have normally never given the feelings of others a second thought. Which is dangerous, but lets me focus on technically correct solutions, which are my strengths. And this new lockdown hobby had made me experience all over again what it’s like to be one of the newbies. Everyone has started something new in the big shutdown, I’ve taken up more than one, and it’s been humbling, but perhaps not enough to really slow me. But it really made me think about learning pace as well as this safe space that beginners really do need. I hope that in general, people do feel our community treats the new joiners right.

Being a beginner is scary, but, if you come across people who are kind, friendly, and willing to help it becomes less scary. I think this community is an example of a place where newcomers are made to feel welcome and encouraged to ask any question.
Still, I get the impression (generally true for all forums I’m a member of) that most people are just silent observers, most people just read the forum topics and maybe 10% are actively participating in

Oh, I’m sure it’s even less than that 5 or 6% of the users generate most of the content @mirza. I never realized that things were quite so unbalanced, kind of changes the audience dynamic. And often it’s a real pity, because when I write, I assume that people are at least understanding half of the tech stack and have played a bit already.

But far too often the person reading a blog post for example is learning from every single paragraph you write. Or else they would not even be reading it would they? And because I am writing for “me” and my own as a brain-dump I am never writing down the things I take for granted because I learned them all long ago. So I like it when people catch me up and remind me to fill in gaps. I’m a slow writer, so I run out of time, get frustrated and just hit publish before checking that a beginner will understand what I’m saying.