Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Like a school play

When I was looking through the PyCon speaker notes I noticed this bit of encouragement: "PyCon audiences are very forgiving."

I went to a small residential college, and I remembered a concert from then. There were several different choirs there; though it wasn't entirely explicit, they represented several different levels of ability. I remember watching one of the groups, and they sang rather poorly. I wanted them to sing really well, but they didn't. Still when it was over, everyone clapped enthusiastically. And it wasn't everyone pretending they loved it, there was something genuine in the applause, and I was clapping just as much honest enthusiasm as anyone.

I felt, at that point, like I was at a school play, and we were parents clapping for our children. It wasn't an applause of gratitude as much as pride, or some collective maternal tendency. It was nice.

Anyway, when I think of a forgiving or sympathetic audience that's what I think of. It's an audience that wants you to succeed, but supports you even if you don't do so well. I think PyCon is like that, and it's part of what's so nice about it, and the Python community in general.

Created 28 Jan '05


"a forgiving or sympathetic audience" is a nurturing audience, one that helps you grow in spite of your mistakes. I don't know about other wxPython programmers but I for one owe a lot to Robin Dunn, the lead of wxPython, his forgiving AND sympathetic attitude encouraged me, helped me grow, made wxPython my preferred GUI toolkit not necessarily because of its technical values but because I know that if I run into trouble there will be someone there to help me.
# Peter Damoc

Thank you, Ian, for restoring my faith in the Python community, at least a little, and having the decency to put out a thoughtful and considerate comment in the wake of the recent trashfest and side-taking over, of all things, XML benchmarks. I mean, come on guys, I don't mean to de-emphasize the importance of good benchmarking, but it isn't like good benchmarks are going to save lives, okay? (Please keep that comment in context and spare me, anyone, of how benchmarking will, in fact, in the medical software industry or whatever, yadda yadda yadda, save lives.)

As if all that flap was about benchmarking anyway. It was really about raging egomania. "My toolkit is better than your toolkit! You don't even know what a benchmark is, dumbhead!"

"Oh yeah, well you're STUPID."

"Oh yeah, well you're DUMB."

How childish. And it didn't stop with the principal combatants, either. Somebody even made a post on Uche's blog about not blaming on evil what could be blamed on stupidity. Sigh. One of the most exasperating things about any community is the fundamental human need within a community to occasionally haul out the rulers and measure -- well -- things that we should all be mature enough not to have to measure.

I truly believe that the occasional community beef and begrudging is a sign of a healthy, exciting and competitive exchange of ideas. But when Ruby proponents are touting Rails as the best thing since the opposite sex, and they're all happy and hand-slapping each other and dancing the Ruby Boogie in the streets, and then we take a trip over to Pythonland and the blogs are all shouting "libel!"-this and "defamation!"-that and "you're stupid!"-whatever, and then there's another post citing the Ruby core as not being thread-safe ... Ugh. It just makes Pythoneers, at least for a day, look like a bunch of bitter children throwing mudballs in the rain.

So, again, thank you for showing class. I sincerely needed to see it.

I agree with the above comment about Robin Dunn, as well. While wxPython is not my favorite script-based GUI toolkit, it is great software, and Robin has always taken time to respond graciously and helpfully to questions. He's another asset to the community.

# Greg McClure

Can you say "Napoleon Dynamite". I just saw it last night. His skit wins over the school audience.
# anon