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Minaswan is DEAD

Mar 4, 2013
I write this post with mixed emotions. Part of me is a bit hurt by the actions of some members of the Ruby community; the other part is completely disgusted.
I have always been a big proponent of the Ruby community and frequently encourage other people to just ”Try Ruby.” When anyone asks about my work, I tell them that I’ve been developing Ruby applications since 2008. I normally say this proudly but today, I’m ashamed.

What it all means

For those who aren’t in the know, MINASWAN stands for: Matz Is Nice And So We Are Nice. “Matz” is short for the creator of Ruby, Yukihiro Matsumoto. The anagram reminds us as a community to be respectful and helpful to others. What it does not mean is to only act this way towards Ruby community members and shun everyone else.

Home-cooked meal

We are a community, but this community is bigger than just Ruby. Building a web application these days is a lot like cooking a great meal, except the ingredients are programming languages. Mix in a bit of HTML and CSS. Slice up some SQL and Javascript. If you need a mobile app with that, sprinkle in some Objective-C and Java.
The thing to remember is that you need all of these ingredients, in certain proportions, to make something extraordinary. If you only use chicken/rosemary/broccoli every time, your meals are going to be pretty boring. This also happens with programming and you need to start changing the ingredients based on the type of meal you want to make.

Belligerent customers

Let’s say that I’m a world-reknowned chef who is famous for my filet mignon. This signature dish is cooked sous vide, topped with a stout beer sauce, and served with a side of charred asparagus.
One day, I decide to go to the restaurant across the street because I want to try their specialty. The filet here is grilled to the perfect temperature, topped with a red wine reduction, and served with a side of brussels sprouts sautéed in bacon fat.
Both of these dishes are excellent in their own right and I decide to ask the other chef how he gets the red wine to reduce to the correct consistency. At the same time, I also mention how my beer sauce is prepared. Instead of having a friendly discussion about the finer things in the culinary world, the other chef proceeds to berate my ingredients and my overall cooking style. Minaswan is DEAD.

Let’s have a beer together

Think of the second chef as a Ruby developer and I’m a developer in any other language. Is there any good reason to be treated in such a way as to have my craft belittled? Instead of saying “Try Ruby,” I want to say ”Fuck Ruby.”
If you hang out in the #rubyonrails room on IRC for any extended period of time, you will see: new developers written-off, developers from other languages scorned, and Windows users scoffed. I’m pretty sure Matz had none of that in mind when creating such a great programming language.
Instead of acting in such a way as to discourage people in other communities, we need to be much more welcoming. We need to be able to sit down together and share a pint. If we continue in this pattern, Ruby’s community will become a pretty lonely place to be.
The next time you’re talking to a new developer or someone versed in a different language, remember to be nice. Help these people out so we can grow our community because Minaswan needs to live.