Yes, you read that correctly, the PHP Community is what and who I say it is. It is composed of the people that I say are members, and I also choose who the leaders are.
Here’s the thing, though, when I say "PHP Community," in my mind, I see something different from you. My guess is that my friend Larry Garfield sees something different too. (Larry has no idea that I am mentioning him in this post so don’t go all hatey on him.)
In the US, when I say “House of Representatives,” all of us think of the same people. We know who they are; they are set aside and we give them power. However, when I say “PHP Community” there are more than five million different versions, each belonging to a different person because there are more than five million PHP developers out there. Who is in the community and who leads it are largely a matter of personal point of view.
You Knew I Had to Make This About Me.
There has been a call for leaders to step up. The people I consider leaders have stepped up. That said, the people I consider leaders may not be the people you consider leaders, and that’s fine. Let’s take me as an example. Many people consider me a leader in the PHP community. It may surprise you (and for some of you, it won’t) that there are a lot of people who do not consider me a leader.
- There are people out there that dislike me because I created a for-pay PHP User Group.
- There are people who will never consider me a leader in the community because I am a Christian and that entails beliefs that they cannot stomach.
- There are people who do not consider me a leader in the community because they have seen my code and do not consider it good enough for me to be a leader.
Most importantly, I do not consider myself a leader because for the most part, I do not lead. I do try to educate; my goal is to build the next generation of PHP developers. I try to serve when I can, but I don’t always. I’ve let people down. In your version of the PHP Community, if I am a leader, I am very honored and hope that I don’t let you down. However, that is your particular version, others have different opinions.
In my version of the PHP community, I openly reject any leader who is actively seeking a position of power, regardless of how this manifests itself. In my version of the PHP Community, no leader has enough power to tell me that I need to reject someone else’s leadership or actively shun someone else. There are people I shun but to the best of my knowledge I have never encouraged others to do the same. Most of us are adults and can make up our own minds.
Make Up Your Own Mind. Make Up Your Own Community.
Don’t look to leaders when you are trying to make a decision, decide for yourself. Please don’t look to me for leadership on what you should think about someone or some group. I am just as human and defective as you. All I know is what works for me. Be very wary of anyone trying to tell you how to feel about any member of the community. Look for yourself and decide for yourself. If you decide that someone is not worthy of your attention, then, by all means, don’t give it. Don’t, however, fall into the trap of deciding and then dog-piling on someone because you’ve decided you don’t like them.
The PHP Community is who YOU decide it is. Make it a community that works for you.
Until next time,
P.S. Next week, I am back to Public Speaking, I promise.