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Toxic Dev Rant

scotthannen profile image Scott Hannen ・4 min read

This is the MVP for an idea I've been tossing around. I'm a positive, constructive guy. But sometimes when my frustration level enters the red zone I go home and vent to my family, and they have no idea what I'm talking about because it's all about software development. It's usually about people and processes, because if it's technical I just try to solve it.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think anyone should complain too much. I used to be chronically negative, and it's not a healthy outlook. But sometimes we just have to vent, and it doesn't serve any useful purpose except to make us feel better.

In the spirit of Agile, here's the simplest possible implementation to see if anyone other than me needs to unleash a Toxic Dev Rant.

Your invitation to Toxic Dev Rant

This link expires on 2/28/2019. I've set a reminder to update with a new one if needed. When I say "your" invitation I mean anyone and everyone's invitation, including yours.

I'll mention this again below, but I recommend joining anonymously. You can use any email, but don't choose a user name that identifies you. Your email address will not be displayed.

Perhaps this goes nowhere. Or maybe inviting people to complain is the absolute worst idea ever and I'm just about to find that out. I think a few people might get it, in which case I'll build a better site.


What is ToxicDevRant?

Sometimes software developement is frustrating, whether it’s because of tools, organizations, or the people with whom we interact. As much as we try to be positive and constructive, sometimes we just need to blow of some steam and know that someone was listening. When that happens, ToxicDevRant is your sympathetic audience.

It’s like one of those support groups where people talk about stuff that traumatized them and other people nod and murmur in agreement. I saw it on TV and it looked like a good idea. The only difference is that this is on the internet and we’re admittedly complaining mostly about first-world problems.

We’re software developers and we’d rather solve problems than complain. But once in a while the problem is finding the right place to complain so we can feel better and get back to solving problems. Problem solved.

What ToxicDevRant Isn’t

  • A place to find answers to technical questions. There are sites for that.
  • A site for networking, finding a job, or recruiting. There are sites for those things.
  • A forum for debates about anything.
  • Anyone’s blog.
  • Professional help.

ToxicDevRant is intended to fill a specific need, not to be a vague, general, catch-all forum for any dev-related topics or overlap with what other sites already do well.

How does it differ from something like TheDailyWTF.com and its related forums? That site (I'm guessing) is slightly more intended to provide entertainment. It's great if this forum offers a little of that as well, but its primary purpose is to let developers unload some toxic frustration, anger, or sadness.

The Rules

  • Be supportive or be silent. Your opinions are valuable, but there are other sites where developers can ask for them and you can give them. Express sympathy with comments or likes, or disagree silently.
  • I don’t need to mention trolling or harassment because the previous rule already excludes both.
  • Don’t try to solve problems. Solving problems is awesome. There are sites for that. When someone is heard, the problem of needing to be heard is solved.
  • Stay on topic and avoid idle chat. Post your rant. Others will feel comfortable posting their rants without feeling like they’re interrupting a conversation. There are no turns, no interruptions. You don’t have to raise your hand. Just rant.
  • Respect the anonymity of others. Do not name companies, clients, coworkers, or projects.
  • Keep the language PG - a mild PG, not PG-13. Keep it clean.
  • Don’t disparage groups, including but not limited to races, sexes, roles, or people who program using specific languages or tools. I suppose it’s okay to disparage Nazis as long as they’re real Nazis, but that would be off topic so don’t do that either. Don’t compare anyone to Nazis.
  • Don’t discuss politics, religion, or socioeconomic ideologies. Don’t even hint at it. Same goes for anything for or against social justice issues or computing platform preferences. There’s no shortage of places to argue about that stuff. United we stand and all that.
  • Don’t propose or discuss doing anything illegal, including but not limited to violence and vandalism.

I think that covers everything, and I’m so wrong.

Are these rules too restrictive and limiting? Maybe. Let me know what you think. My concern is that, as observed in the comments section of just about any news article, unhealthy people who apparently live for their toxicity drive away everyone else. Besides, most of these rules are boilerplate everywhere.

I’ll try to moderate using common sense. Stop laughing. When I inevitably realize how naive that is I’ll try something else.

Suggestions

  • Stay anonymous.
  • Use this site on your own time and on your own internet connection. Sometimes companies block certain domains. They should block this one.
  • Rant when you want to, but don’t do it all the time because that’s depressing. Complaining once in a while might make us feel better - that’s the idea - but it’s no substitute for constructive action. Unburden yourself, feel better, then stop and do great things.
  • This isn’t a blog, so don’t worry about having something original to say. It’s okay to vent about the exact same thing as someone else. Or just agree. Or add your own experience.
  • Any entertainment value you provide is welcome and appreciated, but that's not the point.

ToxicDevRant is copyrighted.

Posted on by:

scotthannen profile

Scott Hannen

@scotthannen

I’ve been developing software full time since 2003, beginning with languages I’m still embarrassed to mention.

Discussion

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I should have known there was already a sort of site for this. It's called devrant.com. Maybe one dev rant site all the world needs.