DevOps, SRE, Platform Egnineering and DataOps are among the hottest trends of modern IT field. Many people want to get in, many professionals are already there and looking for ways to self-develop, ask questions, validate ideas.
Yes, I am talking about communities. The evolution of DevOps communities started with a well-known DevOpsDays movement. These were offline gatherings happening from time-to-time in different cities and places was a great concept to start.
However, DevOps adoption is currently in the phase where several hundred thousand people are more-or-less directly involved in the field itself and almost any IT professional (millions of people) may need something related to DevOps from time to time.
So, local meetups, DevOpsDays, larger conferences – all this is not big enough to accommodate growing interest and need for implementation of DevOps ideas across the globe. To get there, we need online communities.
Online DevOps Communities
The largest one by far is Stack Overflow which currently has dedicated DevOps StackExchange. While helpful for many things, Q&A format is not exactly suitable for DevOps because a lot of things require background information and discussions.
As a result, a lot of questions appear too open-ended and frequently stay unanswered.
Then there is reddit – one for DevOps and one for SRE. While reddit does not have a lot of limitations of StackExchange and allows for larger conversations in comments, it has a key problem in its design – similar to StackExchange and even worse – it is a fundamentally psychologically unsafe community.
For someone beginning in the industry to get started with either reddit or StackExchange is an excruciating task. That is because first thing you get for a beginner question is a downvote – and frequently many downvotes.
Why are people frequenting reddit and StackExchange so keen on downvotes? To me reddit and to lesser extent StackOverlow and StackExchange are big PvP playgrounds. PvP players are usually more active and first to adopt new things and new technologies.
The problem however is that the vast majority of people prefer PvE playgrounds. And we are in a stage where PvE majority is getting into the field but being bullied by the established PvP community – and which can be seen on reddit and StackOverflow constantly.
That is why I believe that we need a moderated platform built on the principles of psychological safety. And that is what we are trying to do with our Discord DevOps Community.
I believe Discord is a good choice since it checks a lot of boxes:
- Discord allows for lengthy discussions on subjects using threads (threads are available since August 2021)
- Discord does not have message history limitations like Slack for free tiers (Slack paid tiers are prohibitively expensive for large communities)
- Discord allows for people to go into private rooms to continue conversations
- Discord has voice and audio-video channels and can be used to organize internal gatherings or events within community
- Discord allows for great level of moderation – which is essential for a health community to ensure psychological safety
So we are trying to leverage that and build DevOps / SRE / DataOps / Platform Engineering community on Discord on the principles of psychological safety. Again, here is the invite: https://discord.gg/UTxjBf9juQ