[PythonistaCafe] Why PythonistaCafe exists

Hey there,

In one of my last emails I talked about how some online communities in the tech space devolve over time and turn into cesspools of negativity.

This relates directly to how and why I started PythonistaCafe:

When I talked about this topic on the dbader.org Python newsletter in early 2017 I received some amazing and supportive reactions—

For example, here's what newsletter member Charles said:

~~~

This was a great email. I've felt this way many many times. Toxicity is one of the reasons it took me so long to get into software development. I felt stupid and I thought maybe I'm not smart enough to be a software developer...

I've gotten more used to it now, but I don't post on those sites very much anymore for this exact reason. I'm looking forward to more discussion on this topic. Keep up all of the good work.

~~~

Matt also dropped me a line:

~~~

The sad truth is, haters gonna hate. Frustratingly, the anonymity that people think they have online makes even 'normal/balanced/insert term to differentiate from psycho' people behave like arse holes.

There is no getting away from it. The answer is in learning how to deal with that kind of person and it takes a certain mindset to be able to blow it off without affecting you too much.

~~~

Also this came up in a conversation I had with Bill:

~~~

I have such an incurable case of impostor syndrome that I have rarely posted on the main forums. There always seems to be some asshole that stands guard and flogs all who enter.

~~~

Vladimir chimed in with the following:

~~~

I know the feeling. I was discouraged to post some questions on StackOverflow when I saw how many guys are treated... very bad.... it's like a competition who will first take you down (of course providing zero useful stuff) with "this is a duplicate of blah, blah..." closing your message when you don't even know what actually happened.

~~~

And Nikola had this to say:

~~~

Those who provide bad comments and negative feedbacks are typically people who never made anything significant or never actually contributed to the community. Those who try to give back to the community are those who thrive!

~~~

(And there was more.)

Seeing all these responses pour in was the "trigger" that led to the launch of PythonistaCafe—

It made me realize WAY MORE folks than expected were fed up with toxic online interactions, especially in tech and academia.

And it was awesome to see Pythonistas from all over the world reply back and share their thoughts.

I'd been thinking about this stuff for months and it felt great to finally turn it into a real conversation.

And many of the people you saw reply eventually became founding members of PythonistaCafe.

Now, let's go back to the original question—

Why do many online communities end up generating that kind of negative and unacceptable behavior?

My hunch is that anonymity ENCOURAGES toxic behavior.

If someone can hide behind the veil of anonymity with a cryptic pseudonym and an abstract avatar picture, it encourages trolling and aggressive behavior.

Trolls can protect their real identity and get to lash out at will, without repercussions. And if they do get downvoted enough or banned eventually—well, big deal.

They'll just create a new account with a new email address or through a VPN and are off to the races again...

As a result, even the majority of "good people" in the community now need to hide their real personalities to shield themselves against personal attacks.

Using a pseudonym can make it easier to ask (seemingly) "stupid" questions, or to help someone muster up the courage to join the community in the first place.

But these things are all crutches—

They don't solve the real underlying problem. The main reason why we need anonymity is so people can defend themselves against bullying and aggression and feel "safe."

But this is the wrong approach for a fix. It creates barriers between people and keeps interactions forever shallow.

So how could this be improved then?

I believe that strong and positive communities thrive because they foster REAL HUMAN CONNECTIONS between their members.

This is a key ingredient:

A strong and healthy community is always built on the connections shared by its members.

The key to making this happen in an ONLINE community is to constantly remind people that there's a human-being on the other end—

And this starts with removing the need for anonymity, pseudonyms, and keeping your guard up perpetually.

Inside PythonistaCafe we encourage the use of real names and avatar photos.

If I can read the thoughts you've shared and feel a human connection to you because I'm seeing your face and your name right next to what you've written—

Then it's MUCH easier to fall into a mode of communication that's close to how we would talk to each other in a 1:1 conversation.

It creates the kind of learning environment that's supportive and "safe." And it fosters the kinds of interactions PythonistaCafe members enjoy participating in.

If you're interested in becoming a PythonistaCafe member you can start the application process by going to the link below:

-> https://www.pythonistacafe.com/apply

— Dan Bader

Older messages

[Sublime + Python Setup] How to become a happier & more productive Python dev

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Hey there, I really struggled with setting up an effective development environment as a new Python developer. It was difficult to build the right habits and to find a set of tools I enjoyed to use.

[PythonistaCafe] What makes PythonistaCafe different

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Hey there, Mastering Python is *not* just about getting the books and courses to study—to be successful you also need a way to stay motivated and to grow your abilities in the long run. Many

[PythonistaCafe] Q&A

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Hey there, At this point you should have a pretty good idea of what PythonistaCafe is about and what makes it special. In this email I want to answer some common questions that I get asked about the

[PythonistaCafe] What's in PythonistaCafe for you?

Friday, July 30, 2021

Hey there, A couple of years ago I'd become quite interested in martial arts. Hours upon hours of watching "The Karate Kid" growing up must've taken their toll on me... And so, I

[PythonistaCafe] Why PythonistaCafe exists

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Hey there, In one of my last emails I talked about how some online communities in the tech space devolve over time and turn into cesspools of negativity. This relates directly to how and why I started

Already hyping the iPhone 14

Monday, September 27, 2021

Now available on your smart speaker and wherever you get your podcasts Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play | iHeart Radio It's Monday, September 27, 2021. Is this a record? No sooner has the

GCP Newsletter #261

Monday, September 27, 2021

Welcome to issue #261 September 27th, 2021 News Cloud Deploy Official Blog Introducing Google Cloud Deploy: Managed continuous delivery to GKE - The new Google Cloud Deploy managed services makes it

Import AI 267: Tigers VS humans; synthetic voices; agri-robots

Monday, September 27, 2021

What happens when AI assistants become AI directors? How large can a computer get before distances between processors and memory offset scaling gains View this email in your browser Welcome to Import

Amazon haircuts 💇, OpenAI book summarization 📚, AlphaBay founder returns 👨‍💻

Monday, September 27, 2021

Amazon's first hair salon in London opened to the public at the end of May. TLDR Daily Update 2021-09-27 Discover a future without legacy and join the No‑Code revolution at Unqork Create 2021 (

Issue #64 - Busy - New Owners, FSE Themes, Upcoming Projects

Monday, September 27, 2021

Read on Website WP Weekly 64 / Busy It is super busy for the WordPress ecosystem from every direction. Be it the crowded aspect of who acquired who, a slew of new product launches, WordPress themes

[PythonistaCafe] Q&A

Monday, September 27, 2021

Hey there, At this point you should have a pretty good idea of what PythonistaCafe is about and what makes it special. In this email I want to answer some common questions that I get asked about the

SRE Weekly Issue #289

Monday, September 27, 2021

View on sreweekly.com A message from our sponsor, StackHawk: Semgrep and StackHawk are showing you what's new with automated security testing on September 30. Grab your spot: https://sthwk.com/

Congratulations, Mini, you made the stupidest turn signals ever — and JSFuck (2012)

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Issue #538 — Top 20 stories of September 27, 2021 Issue #538 — September 27, 2021 You receive this email because you are subscribed to Hacker News Digest. You can open it in the browser if you prefer.

[Sublime + Python Setup] How to become a happier & more productive Python dev

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Hey there, I really struggled with setting up an effective development environment as a new Python developer. It was difficult to build the right habits and to find a set of tools I enjoyed to use.

Why creativity matters & Organize like a genius

Sunday, September 26, 2021

In this week's issue of Creativerly: The simple and smart way to manage your work, the future of note-taking, fly through your calendar, and a lot more. Creativerly Why creativity matters &