Sam Peters holds up a dark mirror in which our community reflects more poorly than I'd have hoped to see.
Her post on ruby meetups and the developer community is particularly worth a read for those of us happily ensconced inside that echo chamber.
Some representative quotes:
"[at ruby meetups] people who knew one another would connect, catch up, and spend the time excitedly discussing the latest news. To one another. Exclusively."
"Upon my attendance [at ROROSyd] I was immediately struck by the small, tight groups of people scattered across the venue – something that felt quite intimidating as a new learner"
"My more unorthodox theory implies that this community is merely an illusion"
The words "scathing indictment" spring to mind.
Clearly this is not the kind of community that we want.
As a mob, we can be pretty intimidating - and we need to work on better outreach and inclusiveness at our meetups.
I remember the earliest days of the rails community in Sydney. I remember when everybody was a beginner, and we came together to share our solutions to the hard problems we faced, to welcome newbies and help each other grow into skilled rubyists.
One particular observation of hers at rubyconf gives an example of what we can do better:
" I also experienced a bit of community on a personal level too – one particular lunch time, a pair of developers invited me to their table with no pretence or expectation. It resulted in a rather pleasant lunch, and opened my eyes a little. I felt a little more welcome."
In other words - it doesn't take much.
If there are people at your local meetup looking new and alone, go over and say hi. Ask them about their experience in ruby, invite them to sit at your table. Just start the conversation and include them.
I'm personally hoping to help break down that barrier-to-entry with Ruby Women - to provide at lest one extra avenue into the scene via a smaller, more beginner-friendly meetup and more open network of friend
The full article is well worth a read and some careful self-reflection. We should take note and work hard to build something better.