Changing my focus?


I leave for Oracle OpenWorld 2014 tomorrow, which is normally a time when I’m super amped up, but I feel rather flat and in need of change at the moment. I just feel like I’m investing a massive amount of my time on things I don’t enjoy and are not really benefiting me or the community at large, so what’s the point?

What do I enjoy?

  • Playing with technology.
  • Writing articles and blog posts about it.
  • Meeting and talking to people about this stuff.

What don’t I enjoy?

  • I don’t really enjoy answering questions on forums any more. For every one good interaction I have, there seems to be about 10 where people refuse to think for themselves and treat me as their own personal slave.
  • I’m getting an increasing number of people asking me questions on Facebook and Google+ chat. Not only does this have a similar ratio of good:bad interactions, but there is nothing left behind that helps other people. There is no content produced that allows others to answer their own questions from a Google search. This feeds into the dependency cycle.
  • Cleaning up the massive amounts of spam I get.
  • Dealing with the endless stream of people wanting me to help advertise their product or website.

This is not a business for me. It’s fun. When it ceases to be fun, what’s the point?

At the moment, I feel like:

  • Locking the forum.
  • Locking the article comments.
  • Blocking the comments on my blog.
  • Deleting all emails that include technical questions, without even reading them.
  • Ignoring requests for help on all social media.

This would allow me to spend a lot more time playing with Oracle and writing articles, which I feel benefits myself and others to a greater extent than what I’m doing now.

If I look at my web stats, they seem to back up my opinion. The vast majority of hits on my website are for content. Only a very small proportion relate to “interaction”, yet it is this interaction which takes up the vast majority of my time.

I guess some people would see this as going against the whole ethos of the ACE Program, but I don’t think so myself. I think I’m more use to the community by putting out content, rather than doing what I’m doing now.

Maybe I’ll come back from OOW and have a change of heart. Maybe not. Time will tell.



Update: Some people have taken this post as a message that I’m going to stop writing articles. I think the post is pretty clear on that front. This is about giving me more time to write articles. 🙂

Update 2: The forums are locked while I’m at OOW. I’ll decide if they will stay locked once I get back to the UK.

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

16 thoughts on “Changing my focus?”

  1. Tim, I cannot speak to the value of your forums, but I can DEFINITELY attest to the power and impact of your articles, the results of your extensive “playing around”. They have been invaluable resources for the PL/SQL Challenge over the years, as well as for Oracle Database developers looking for detailed, spot-on analysis of new features. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

  2. Steven: Thanks for the comments.

    I think the articles are where I can add the most value. It won;t be right for everyone, but I think it is the way forward for me.



  3. I’m sure you’ll come to the right conclusion over time. I love your articles, it’s quite clear that you use much of your time writing them. Can’t even imagine the how much time running a forum takes. Take some time off in SF and just enjoy.

  4. Steven said it perfectly. Whenever I’m looking for an Oracle resource, your site is the first place I look. I really appreciate the effort and time you put into this. Stick with what makes you happy. The readers of your website/blog are in debt to you, not the other way around.

  5. I gave up posting on forums about 5 years ago for much the same reason- folks taking advantage of something I was doing in my downtime and getting increasingly demanding.

  6. Continue with your articles. Don’t make it your responsibility to answer all forums posts and questions you receive in other ways. If you find that other members of yout forums are not adding value, slow down there and start giving warnings that you may have to ahut it down for lack of value add.

  7. Quite frequently I just add to my Google search because I know you have some tested and working routine. I hear many complain over the forums these days as they have been taken over by lazy people. The answer is probably to just delete and ignore what does not benefit the general public. And when you are in a bad mood, go out and give a presentation, that always works for you. See you in SFO 🙂

  8. I got fed-up with readingTFM on forums quite a few years ago. To the point where I got out of most of the so-called “community hotspots”. Mostly because I don’t agree with the Ace program, its origins, how it was run for quite a few years and by whom it was run.
    They tried to clean-up their act with the “Ace Director” thing. Which basically turned into another elitism exercise.
    I find organizing meetups and talking to folks face-to-face, equal-to-equal, a much more useful activity. Both for myself and for others.
    And I point them to your site when they want detailed articles! 😉

  9. Your Oracle-Base articles are how you help the greatest number of Oracle professionals. There are dozens of people on the OTN and OraFAQ forums that will answer one-off questions for people who are Google-impaired. Most of the people answering these questions are *not* creating content of the type found on Oracle-Base. The Oracle community as a whole would be much better served if you concentrate on testing and creating Oracle-Base content rather than spending time on one-offs.

  10. I can not thank you enough for ALL the high quality articles that you have written. Keep it fun and don’t allow anyone to take that away from you. I don’t know the requirements of being an Oracle Ace. But I can attest that you have contributed to the Oracle Community in a lasting way that makes the community better.

  11. Hi Tim, Please do come back after OOW and unlock the forums as soon as you can.Your clarifications and answers to forum has helped me a lot and gained some knowledge.I would request you to come back after your busy schedule and help us in solving major issues in database.I would be checking your forum website everyday to see you have come back 🙂

  12. Hi Tim.
    Wish you nice time and loads of fun ! I’ve been visiting this forum since 2010 and I was very much a baby to Oracle World and grown up reading your articles. I always questioned myself, “It is incredible that Tim takes so much time for Oracle learners and it’s a lot of effort”. You provided indeed a lot of information to us !!! I feel you do not spend much time in answering questions.

    Like you a lot Master !

  13. With this “I feel you do not spend much time in answering questions.” i mean please do not spend much time in answering questions.

  14. Sorry Tim, I may be the one always ask questions directly instead reading / searching. Do the work which you love, then the work will be like game and will never get tired of it..

Comments are closed.