Angus: Shut up! Stop being negative and stop whining.

I am frustrated and bothered by the apparent stupidity in our community. I understand that some of it is caused by a lack of knowledge – plain ignorance is a horrible thing. But when members of our own community continue to deride others in public, continue to spread lies and misinformation, and continue to be simply negative and nasty, I am completely baffled.

A recent example on a social networking site – one member posted an article about arriving in Haiti and having some of their luggage missing. Every response, bar one, was a supportive response, telling the poster how wonderful it was that they were doing this, how great it was that they were giving to the world, etc. The first response, however, from a well-known Mr. Negativity, was only about their experience with the airline, and he wrote “Bet they were sure to charge you for each item before it was put on the plane.” The smiley face at the end of the comment did nothing but make me feel more sorrow and confusion.

While this was about something unrelated to our community, today a well known member tweeted a negative tweet about the cost of RPGOA. And, in fact, they got it completely wrong, and trebled the base price. Why? Was it a deliberate scheme to slam the product? Were they pissed at not being included in the early program, and wanted to get back? Or, were they simply ignorant and forgot to do the research? For those people who re-tweeted his lies, I think they will be feeling sheepish now. I do expect this particular pundit to come around eventually, and probably write ‘the’ book on the subject – but that is mere speculation on my part.

Last night, I attended my local user group. The debate about the name of the platform raged as usual. The ‘older’ folks in attendance were pissed at IBM changing the name – I pointed out that it is done – renamed, and they should get over it. There was a clear divide in that group, where the people who have not updated their skills to include the new functionality and languages available on the platform want to keep calling it an AS/400. The people who are up to date, who understand the power of the platform, mostly call it i. Some of them refer to it as IBM i, and slip up occasionally by referring to it as an iSeries or System i.In fact, one of the ‘older’ developers called it the “Series i or whatever its name is”, flaunting their ignorance in our faces.

I truly think that there is a divide between people who call it an AS/400 and treat it like an AS/400, and the people in the community that love the platform and work hard to understand what IBM is offering, what IBM is calling it, and what they will buy next. The former complain bitterly about the name change, but I believe it is simply fear. AS/400 developers are geniuses – in a bottle. They are uncomfortable with all this “new” stuff, and feel they do not have the ability to grow up with the platform. They remain AS/400 developers, and they hide their fear of change by slamming IBM about their marketing.

I truly do not understand what is going on here. Grown men and women who rail on bitterly about what IBM has done, and what IBM is doing, yet they remain doggedly faithful to an IBM platform that has been gone for over 10 years now. Where is their sense of pride in progress? Why are they fighting the inevitable. It will be these people who disappear from the user group meetings as they find their skills lacking in comparison to their peers. I strongly believe, that even though many of them were attending a PHP topic, the AS/400 bigots will not be coding in PHP any time soon. And there lies the differentiator.

I was also told by one member that “the trouble with the colleges is…” and he proceeded to tell me about how the local college had dropped RPG classes. The irony is, that he is an IBM customer who uses RPG, and instead of telling the college that they need the next generation of RPG developers, he simply complained.

The one thing that was remarkable about last night was that even when there were differences of opinion, there was no nastiness, there were no personal insults, and everyone shook hands and went home at the end. This is refreshing, since there are several people who use public forums to spread misinformation and straight-out lies, and deride or insult other people from the relative safety of their keyboard. I know that by mentioning certain people in this note, I can be accused of something similar, but I do believe I have reported the facts as they occurred. Any slam on these people is not intended, and if you read it that way, smack yourself upside the head (I have been in the US way too long) for adding implications that were not there.

I know it has been some time since I blogged, but I have been very very disappointed in the noise out in our world. It has to stop. Unfortunately, the naysayers and detractors have a following of their own kind, but surely, if you find them to be ignorant and nasty, can we not stop responding to them? Can we be sure to add our own positive vibes to the googleverse, so that when someone searches for IBM i, they find a community united, with a positive approach to the future, and a large place in their heart for our glorious past?

Where do you sit? It really is time to take action for the future of our platform. It is time to get off the fence, you are only getting splinters in your butt…

4 Comments

Jon ParisApril 22nd, 2010 at 4:45 pm

“I was also told by one member that “the trouble with the colleges is”¦” and he proceeded to tell me about how the local college had dropped RPG classes. The irony is, that he is an IBM customer who uses RPG, and instead of telling the college that they need the next generation of RPG developers, he simply complained.”

I heard a similar complaint at a UG meeting a while back. I asked the whole room how many of them had hired the gradualtes form the school in the past.

Nobody.

I asked how many had even contacted the school suggesting that RPG training was essential to their shop.

Nobody.

I think people just don’t think about it.

Mike DevineApril 22nd, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Trevor:

I “˜playfully’ responded to your “˜whining’ blog posting before reading your main blog.

First, thank you for not naming the LUG you attended; the Long Island Systems User Group (LISUG). As the current President, and long time member, I must point out the following:

” The meeting focus last night was to educate attendees (2/3 were employees of companies currently using IBM i technologies, the balance were un-employed RPG developers) on the latest development trends using PhP

” Your request to share some very interesting information about IBM promoting and supporting RPG education in Africa was granted. I am not sure that the unemployed LI RPG developers were able to share your concerns.

” Your suggestion in having local colleges offer technical courses in IBM i technologies is logical. However, your dismissal of one member’s comments that we tried but failed is uninformed!

” Several years ago, LISUG under took an initiative to have a local university (SUNY at Farmingdale) offer RPG programming courses to undergraduates. The Computer Sciences department was receptive to the initiative. LISUG facilitated IBM donating the hardware and operation system. LISUG volunteers accomplished the initial implementation, and the subsequent required upgrades. A LISUG BOD member became very involved in drafting the curriculum, serving as one of the initial instructors, and eventually becoming the Program Chair. After some initial limited interest, the course offerings were discontinued after two years because of a lack on interest (enrollment).

” A new initiative to approach schools again may be timely. Want to participate?

I won’t talk about some your comments regarding the ‘older’ members!

angustheitchapApril 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Mike,

I have emailed you the plan I have been hatching to engage local colleges in re/starting an IBM i focused and RPG focused education.

Some of it will have to be tailored to Power Systems, so that we can take advantage of the IBM Academic Initiative (http://www.ibm.com/academicinitiative), but the great news is that they have materials built that can be used immediately.

Trevor

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