Every time I read something from Ayn Rand, I get really irritated. Yet at the same time, whenever I try to do something just for the benefit of others, I also find myself irritated. It seems you can’t do anything for anyone without hitting some issue.
I like writing software. It’s a great profession and it gives me plenty of opportunity to experiment, create, and solve problems. It’s not always work for me. So there are plenty of times I will create a small utility to fix something or make a task easier for me and I think maybe someone else would find some use from it. So, I put it out on the Internet. The idea is nothing new and is pretty well known as open-source software.
I’d been hesitant to do any promotion of my latest creation because I feared a backlash of people that are, in modern vernacular, “haters”. They contribute nothing but criticism and have no intention of ever offering help. You know, “I’d love to contribute to your project, but your coding style sucks.” “Too bad it’s in VB.NET, I could really add some features.” “If I helped out, I’d end up rewriting all of it.” None of these statements have happened, but they are very likely coming from the elitists out there.
A few days ago, I tentatively responded to a couple of forum messages suggesting they try my utility to solve their problems. On one forum, someone replied and said they got an error message. So, I responded with some troubleshooting suggestions and gave a link to my blog for more information. When I submitted the message, the forum told me my message was marked for review.
Later that night, I got a private message from a forum moderator saying that I was receiving a warning for posting a link to my own blog. This was not allowed because it was considered “self-promotion”. Then the message gave an excerpt of the community rules and a message that I was expected to follow them. As a final insult, the moderator requested a “Read Receipt”, which basically says, “I want you to tell me you’ve seen this so you can’t argue this in the future.”
That completely spoiled my day. Here I made something to help people, and I have information to share, but I’m not allowed to post it. The moderator took the time to verify my link when to my personal website, but didn’t seem to notice there was no spam, advertisements, or solicitations on it. If I had replied as a different person and posted the same link, it would have been fine, because it wasn’t “self-promotion.” Posting information about another person is fine; posting information about yourself is bad.
I don’t even know where to go from here. The urge to be extremely childish is really, really strong right now. But how do you even talk sense into people with a viewpoint like that? The best course of action is to just walk away, and the assholes win again. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.