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Town Square for tech is GitHub, far away from Twitter

I planned to write this article several weeks ago. Musk and the whole Twitter rage that is out there at the moment have nothing to do here.

Twitter was a bad thing before Musk took it over and will probably stay bad after. For me, it is just a news page where I can share info with a link for more details. Nothing more.

Twitter, like a typical town square, is good for:

  • politics
  • self-promotion
  • those that shout out louder
  • no context emotions-based argues

How is this all supposed to be suitable for tech?

I don't recall any great Twitter discussion that led to something good. Please prove me wrong.

Good parts of Twitter for tech

I think it is an excellent place for people that are new in tech. It is especially great:

  • for folks that have doubts if they can make it in tech
  • for people that struggle with impostor syndrome
  • for juniors that need pointers, good tips and tricks, and sometimes useful threads with some tech resources

At the beginning of your journey, it is good if you are not alone in the dark cave and have someone with you. Twitter does it, especially on the #100daysofcode hashtag.

Why GitHub anyway?

I know many great and intelligent people building amazing things in GitHub. They just do not feel comfortable in Twitter. They are not good, and not even interested to selfpromote in Twitter.

This is what made me think that GitHub has the potential to embrace tech discussions.

GitHub Feed ->

screen shot showing personal GitHub feed

I saw it by accident and loved it from the start. It is clearly in beta, but I can't wait to learn what way it takes.

What you see in my feed above is:

  • Repositories that received stars from people I know. People I know because we cooperated somewhere on GitHub, so there is a higher possibility our interests are similar,
  • Release info from projects that I follow,
  • Recommended projects. An excellent recommendation that is possible only on GitHub, based on your interactions, contributions, and contribution focus,

At the moment, I'm missing easier and more direct interaction than just the one I can do by following the link. Commenting from the feed should be possible. Things like sharing and mentioning are missing.

There are many more areas to explore and think about in this context.

Some examples:

  • Having easier usage of GitHub Discussions from the feed. Discovery of discussions, more accessible and faster integration.
  • Dedicated feed type for juniors, for first-time contributors to explore not just good-first-issues but also recommend projects that match your interest and your pet projects. If you have some projects written in JavaScript, then the feed would suggest similar ones and pick only those that are friendly for first-time contributors.

Through Github, you would gain visibility because of your work and not just because you have the talent to promote yourself publicly. You cannot imagine how many people are too humble or shy to perform self-promotion.

GitHub could make tech less exclusive than it is with Twitter.

Free speech

One of the biggest problems people see with Twitter is the lack of freedom of speech. I'm not going too deep into politics, but basically, people from the right complained at Twitter before Musk took it over, and now people from the left do it. This is a broader problem we also see in other social media platforms.

Problems always occur when rules are forced on a large group of people with different views. The worst is when these rules do not come from democratic governments but from private businesses. Corporations frighten people, me too.

Just delegate rules setup to communities.

I'm coming from the world of open source. In the open source, it is standard that when you build a community, you must secure it by introducing a code of conduct that everyone must obey.

I'm basically trying to express that it would not be for GitHub and Microsoft to decide what people should talk about or not. Involved communities would. It would be up to community X to determine if someone is crossing the line in their project and should be blocked from interactions.

Just decentralize. Leave it up to communities to decide what they find abusive. Don't let corporations decide for you.