Anonymous (Developer) Communities

Anonymous (Developer) Communities

The 3 Month Experiment

Published on Sunday, December 3, 2023

For the last 3 months, I have followed a local anonymous developer community and have participated in many discussions. I wanted to find out if this is a good way to spend time and learn new things.


Sometimes, I like anonymous (developer) communities.

Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in the mud. After the first few hours, you realize the pig enjoys it.

This is the best-case scenario. Two experienced, knuckleheads passionately exchange arguments in good faith. Everybody wins knuckleheads and those who read. It's even fun to help less experienced colleagues who are eager to learn.


I had a few experiences like this. The most interesting was questioning the core OOP and rethinking procedural and functional programming.


However, very often I hate anonymous (developer) communities - So much trolling, so little value.

As most people are anonymous, there is no real sense of community. Most people are there to take, mostly by asking questions that have been answered several times in the last week. Is that a variant of:

Why take 20 minutes to read documentation when you can spend 3 hours figuring it out yourself?

Maybe most of us are cursed by trying to brute force the solution when we could spend more time searching and reading.

Many are there to troll. I'm not even going to try to explain that one. You are not just wasting your time. You are wasting everybody's time.

A few times, I had unnecessary arguments. Why am I doing this to myself? To look on the more positive side - it was an exercise to stay more positive, no matter what others say.


These are a few of my conclusions:

Some developers hate TDD.

I would call myself a TDD fan. I'm passionate about testing, and although I have changed how I write tests and when and how I run them many times, TDD is an excellent approach in many situations. However, I have found out that people quite literally think that if you follow TDD, you have to write tests absolutely every time before you write code. I'm pretty sure that it was not Kent Beck's idea.

Some developers hate Uncle Bob.

With this one, I was even more confused. I often recommend Uncle Bob's books for beginners. I believe Uncle Bob has many good ideas and bits of advice, especially for young developers. You don't need to follow Uncle Bob's teachings like a religion. You don't need to follow anyone's advice like a religion!

It's safe to say that we, as computer scientists and engineers, live in turbulent times full of discoveries. Some of the best practices 20 years ago look like relics of ancient history, and we would never do them today.

Why should we not question everything we do? - Even Uncle Bob?

If you want to know more about questionable Uncle Bob's tactics, check out the summary by Ginger Bill:

A significant portion of the discussions, unfortunately, tends to revolve around less stimulating subjects

Most of the topics are not that interesting:

  • Salaries
  • Which computer to buy
  • Information about specific IT companies
  • 2024 IT lay-offs
  • ChatGPT will kill all developers
  • Colleges
  • ...

Answers to these questions do not change that often. Do we need to talk about these topics that much?... I don't think so.

In the end, my three-month journey through the local anonymous developer community landscape has been a mixed bag of enlightenment, frustration, and introspection. There were many diverse opinions and experiences, but more often than not, they were a double-edged sword that often fell prey to the pitfalls of anonymity – trolling, redundancy, and a lack of accountability.

In the end, I could use my time better in many ways. It's nice to visit once in a while, but every day? I don't think so...