Internet Communities Are Selfish. Deal with it!


The Community?

I was reading Heli‘s blog post called The Oracle Community this morning, which directed me to posts by Jari Laine and Denes Kubicek. I think everyone that is involved in any type of community hits this issue at some point. For internet communities, it’s probably a much quicker realisation.

Very early on in my internet participation I read about things like the 1% rule and the 90:9:1 rules. I like to think I can make a difference and encourage more people to get involved, but the reality is, that’s not going to happen.

The latest example of this is the Oracle Developer Choice Awards. There are some great people nominated, some of which you might not have heard of, but all worthy of nomination! In fact, being nominated is fantastic in itself, regardless of who wins. So with a well publicised vote and some great people to vote for, you just know there will be a massive number of votes right? Wrong! The number of votes is pitiful. This can only be because people can’t be bothered to vote. Like I said, it’s not for lack of advertising!

I had my own little epiphany last year before OpenWorld 2014. 🙂

Examine Your Motives

It’s kind of easy to rewrite history. I’ve been pushing out content for over 15 years. I’ve been involved in the Oracle ACE Program for over 9 years. So I’m all about community right? Not really. If I’m brutally honest, I do all of this shit for me! I like to do it. I find it fun. It’s part of my learning process. If nobody read my stuff I would still do it. I was doing it for years before I was even aware of a community.

Having said that, once I became part of the community, great things started to happen, so I am extremely grateful and I would recommend getting involved to everyone, but it would be wrong for me to make out I’m some sort of altruistic saint of the internet. I’m as selfish as all those folks that read everyone else’s content and can’t be bothered to vote for them!

Do It Because You Love It!

So this all comes back to the message I keep pushing. Do it because you love it!

Doing it for the money? I don’t think so! There are certainly easier ways to earn money, and much more of it. 🙂

Doing it to “get famous”? Famous with whom? Other speakers? 🙂 I walk around conferences and nobody knows who the hell I am until I get on stage and show a picture of my website. 🙂 My hit rate in a single day is more than many “famous” blogs have had in their entire lifetime, yet the vast majority of the people reading my content haven’t got a clue who I am. 🙂

If you write good content, people will find you eventually, but many of them will be selfish arseholes, just like me!


I push community really hard these days. I think it is a very positive thing for the individuals involved and the people who get to experience their content, but you will only stick with this stuff if you enjoy it. Forcing yourself to be involved when you hate it is not going to work out.

You’ve also got to manage your expectations a bit. When I started my YouTube channel I kind-of expected to be inundated with people wanting to be in a cameo at the start of the videos. In reality, getting people to send you a 2 second video of them saying “dot com” is like trying to pull teeth! 🙂 Yet another example of my unrealistic expectations. 🙂

If you are one of the nominees in the Oracle Developer Choice Awards, well done for a great achievement, but the result doesn’t matter and the number of votes is not a measure of your worth. You contributions and how you feel about them personally is all that matters!

I hope this doesn’t sound too damning. It’s not meant to be. It’s just a reality check. 🙂



PS. This is not a post where I am fishing for complements. I’ve not got time to read them anyway. I am too busy watching videos of kittens on YouTube and refusing click the “Like” link against them… 🙂

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

18 thoughts on “Internet Communities Are Selfish. Deal with it!”

  1. Well, these things are kind of obvious . Everyone is selfish, but there are still different types of being selfish. About the contest: not many people know the contestants, so why bother voting for anyone? On the other hand, many people rate movies on IMDB after they watch them, it can’t be selfish.

    P.S.: And, please, bring back the old web site design! This empty space is just painful! 🙂

  2. stee1rat: You may not know them, but you are probably using (or should be) their code or reading their blogs. Maybe that says something more about the community. People don’t take the time to recognise who is actually helping them. 🙂

    Regarding website design. Unfortunately, it’s a case of being responsive or die these days. If you don’t use a responsive design, Google punishes you, despite what they claim. 🙂

    Do you really mean website, or blog?



  3. Heli says it all in a simple phrase:
    “There has been too many years that this work has been undervalued”
    And in typical fashion, the fault is all with the “community”.
    Hey, what can I say except:
    continue to shoot the messenger, that has over the years REALLY solved all problems..
    I’ve been warning for over 10 years that shooting down the very folks who always sold Oracle to their managers was the most stupid and abhorrent of all strategies.
    It’s coming home to roost…

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