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Robin Wood

New blog post, please encourage new community members

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I really liked this, thanks for writing. Our community is really bad for this I think (although as mentioned it’s definitely not unique - it’s a human condition and herding thing). 

It’s always amusing when I hear people dismissed as script kiddies, especially when they’re busy breaking through all the corporate security controls. If you think they have no talent and they’re able to get into your network, you might want to introspect. 

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Good stuff. Sometimes you have what some call those gatekeepers because they're just always on the forum/community. Maybe they have an incentive to inflate post-counts, but sometimes it's just that they have the free mental cycles to read and post. Some of those same people see the same questions/comments every day, and everyone at some point hits their limit of patience. And, of course, there's definitely that distance where you don't have to personally deal with someone else face-to-face, kinda similar to people in their cars acting certain way to others in their metal cages, separated by a little space and barriers (basically like anonymity, but that's really not the entire thing; nice people are nice when anonymous, too). Some of it is also elitism, trying to build themselves up, but at least online I don't always feel it's like that. Some people just don't deal with social distance well; ya know, the ones talking about my mom in Call of Duty.

In cases of Twitter, it's hard to convey nuance of tone in 280-chars or less. And by hard, I really kinda mean impossible. This is partly why some people don't talk, because you can say words and 10 people read it differently; some respond with positive comments, others with negative, others read more into what you said, others assume you're a newbie or making some general statement about security that we've been saying for 35 years. It can be dog eat dog. Like the wrong thing someone said that you didn't know was a pariah to others and suddenly you're swept up in someone else's drama.

But yeah, it's that vocal core that set the tone of a community. Helpful, welcoming, nice, engaged, active.

I think it's also about realizing no one knows everything; every person here knows at least 10 things I don't, and more, and I probably know 10 things no one else here does. And also that secuirty has no real answers that match everyone's situation beyond the very basics. I always get back to an anecdote I have where you could present a security problem to a room of 20 security professionals and you'll get 25 different answers, with only about 8 of them actually good answers, but only 5 people in the room could tell you which answers were in those 8, and so on. Respect, honesty, open-mindedness, empathy...skills that work in person still should operate in cyberspace. 🙂

I think some also get into the place of thinking you need to have built something or contributed something like nmap or ethereal to the community. I mean, that's a very easy way in (discover a vuln of varying degree or contribute a tool/brand new knowledge of varying popularity), but the rest of the community has to scrabble for that acceptance, quite often.

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Two things here:

1) Counter-intuitively perhaps, public text is a relatively poor two-way communications medium.  Nuance is lost, and it's easy to forget that most of the audience probably doesn't know you so what might "obviously" be a joke or a tongue-in-cheek comment in your head can be taken wrongly (and badly) by a reader.  I've seen countless arguments spiral out of control because poster A says something, poster B misinterprets it and responds aggressively, person A doesn't understand why B is so angry and responds in kind, and suddenly we're off for a dozen pages of slanging over literally nothing.

2) Sadly, some people are just dicks.  I've said time and again, with any demographic - christians, vegetarians, lesbians, comic book fans, you name it - it's a vocal minority giving the rest a bad name and they aren't representative of the demographic as a whole.  With any fandom where people are passionate about something there will always be that one guy who is hell bent on spoiling everyone else's fun.  Don't be that guy.

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