Amy Stephen

Hacker Grandma


Constructive Feedback

I’ve coded for over 30 years. My first assignment was to replace eighty-column IBM cards with TSO datasets. That was a real awakening for me as punch card operators talked about striking the phone company, due to the uncertainty of their future employment.

Needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of change. Early in my COBOL experiences, memory was a premium because mainframe time was expensive. Everything was coded for optimal efficiency, the concept of throwing more machine at it was never presented as an alternative. People time was far cheaper than CPU cycles.

Later, I sold my candy-apple red 1967 Mustang for $3,500 and used that money to buy a Gateway 2000 486 with a 200 meg harddrive. People asked what I planned to do with that much computing power. My response was I didn’t know for sure but I had a feeling that PC’s were going to be important. My car was about the only thing I owned when I got married so I felt it was okay to risk it for my professional growth.

Several years ago, I left a very good paying job where I had a title I worked hard for many years to acquire. I wanted to be a part of open source development. I believe it matters, helps make the world a better place, offers creative freedom I want today to continue my lifelong learning in computing.

I am so blessed to have been able to follow my dreams in my life. I have learned so much from so many, I am indebted to those of you who freely share your knowledge with the world as I have studied your code. Those of you who answer my questions, I thank you. I listen and I take what you offer and study. I’ve worked very hard and have learned so much.

If I could wish for one change on the community it would be to install the ability to offer criticism in a constructive way, to see the good, to balance the value of what is academically correct against what is obviously helping people. It’s important to remember that our shared code helps people build websites, earn a decent living, feed their families. That matters.

There is only one danger to a community and that is that we might fail to support one another. That’s it. In the end, everything else can be incrementally improved. We have the facilities and the know how to do so. But, if we want to impact meaningful change, it’s important to learn to be constructive offering opinions to others.

blog comments powered by Disqus