I can’t remember when it happened, but I had a sudden urge to join an online community. No, not one of those Web 2.0 communities where people Twitter to each other or Digg something. My friends had, over the years, invited me to join some online group or other. Like ICQ, MSN Messenger, then Friendster, MySpace and FaceBook. Never acted on it.
Those groups are like the really social groups. Sharing photos with lots of people. Talking, to lots of people. But I want to talk about programming. I want to talk about math and science and stuff. Somehow, the people around me don’t do this.
So I made up my mind, and went looking for a programming community with compatible interests. After searching high and low (Google helped), I found one that looks promising: Dream In Code. Using some spare time to browse through the site, I got a feel that seemed “right”. It’s a gut feeling thing…
Well, I’ve got to remember a lot of user IDs and passwords, so I’m careful about what I join. It’s a waste of brain cells to think up a user ID and password, only to find you don’t like whatever you signed up for. So after signing up, I went through the forums and tutorials and other pages to really get to know the people there.
The first thing I noticed was, there’s a lot of people asking for help in programming homework assignments. I’m fairly sure these people are students either in high school or university. This is different from the other sites I went to, where most of the problems stem from work related tasks. There are posts about linked lists, prime number calculations and recursion. I just find it unusual that there’s such a high proportion of non-work posts asking for help.
The second thing, and I really like this one, is also unique. It can be summed up as no effort, no code, then no help. The person asking for help must have done something, tried something and when all else failed, post the problem and the code. There must be a specific question to something, like why a certain code chunk doesn’t work, or if the algorithm is correct.
Dream In Code is help-oriented and cooperative. So far, I like interacting with the people there. My handle is “orcasquall”, and I usually browse the C, C++, C#, ASP.NET forums. See you there!