Okay, so it hasn't actually been a year. It's been slightly over eight months. But I digress. Since February of 2019, I have been a moderator on a discord community named DesignCourse (Coursetro). Created by YouTuber Gary Simon, this place serves as a forum for questions and discussions regarding all sorts of design and development related topics. Recently, I realized that I have grown as a mod, as a developer, and as a person, since that day in February.
All opinions expressed herein are my own
I've noticed that many users who ask questions are a bit clueless as to what they would like answered. They know they have an error in their code, and they know that's bad. However, they don't really understand what information to give or where to focus their question. When someone asks a question, they are really waving a flag for help, not asking a technical question. Obviously, this is also what you do inadvertently when you ask a question. Recognizing that you are clueless is the first step to a better "I need help" experience.
People don't think. (Yes, that's very general.) People usually think. But you and I know that it's very easy to ask for help without actually talking through the issue at hand. And this is very important to realize. People don't sift through archives to find duplicate issues, or host the complicated code that they want help with. But that's exactly where you come in. Stepping through an obvious error, or teaching somebody the wondrous world of Codepen, is actually helping them solve their error. Simply typing "please read the rules" is not as useful. Just a thought.
Spammers are never wanted. I'm referring to those who advertise their service without being asked. You've probably seen them on discord or youtube, posting their website and whatnot. Sometimes, they are just being jerks. But when you talk to them, a whole different story comes out. Sometimes, they've been told to do it for marketing. Other times, they are trying to ask for help, but totally miss the mark. Once, I found a great resource and posted it on Gitter so people would use it, only to banned for spamming (I got back on eventually, but yeah). Spammers often mean well.
It's very rewarding to help your sibling tie their shoes. Not all of us have a sibling or siblings of the relevant age, but we all have each other. I know that sounds cheesy, but hear me out, okay? As a moderator, I'm responsible for thousands of users daily. The environment must be safe, kind, and helpful. I'm proud of what I do, because as little as it may seem, I'm helping other people.
Finally, help can come in unexpected methods. It's nice to know that a senior dev or designer is having the same issue as you, even if they can't figure it out either. It's also useful when someone points you to a guide without really answering your question. Of course, it's better to give a complete answer, but there's a next-best option. You don't need to know it to be helpful.
I love answering questions or giving feedback. In my opinion, it helps me grow as a person. Additionally, I like the camaraderie that comes with being part of a community, if only an online one. It only takes a minute to help someone else, and with the internet you can find questions to be answered all of the time.
- people don't always know what they're asking for
- people don't always think before asking questions
- spammers usually don't mean to spam
- taking care of people is a healthy source of pride
- you don't need to answer to be helpful
Come visit the DesignCourse discord server, and give me feedback on this article via email. That's all for now. Take care.