How not to build a tribe

You don’t know the material.  RTFM.  I can’t talk to you until you’ve read these books, done this work, passed this test, worked on this open source project.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.  You didn’t do this in the tried-and-tested method from when I learned it.

These statements might be one of two things: minimum viable experience or an obstacle.  It upsets me more than anything that people who have a vested interest in things like information security and software development take a holier-than-thou attitude to an extreme that turns otherwise curious and well-meaning people away from the pursuit.  People I respect (or at least I used to) have used cudgels where a handshake and an FAQ are clearly called for.

When you put roadblocks in the way of genuine people asking genuine questions who have genuine concern for your wellbeing and the outcome of the work that you’re trying to do, you should be asking yourself an even more important question:

Am I putting these roadblocks in place to dissuade them or am I protecting my ego?

When you can answer the question openly, honestly, and without any hint of sarcasm or irony, you might actually be in the process of building a carefully curated tribe.  If you can’t, then the alternatives are isolation and irrelevance.  Choose wisely, because we’re all watching.

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