Old Dog, New Tricks writing and tales from @oisin

Xcake Talk - Resolutions and Predictions II

Last year, we had a resolutions and predictions talk to kick off the year for the Xcake Community

We had such a good time, we decided to do it again. More resolutions and predictions were collected from the community and, better still, we got to see how accurate we were on our previous efforts.

Slides marked with the iffy stamp were considered to basically be non-predications, because they were pretty much obvious or too safe. The second slide outlines what makes an iffy prediction in detail, sourced from the awesome Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast. If you see a picture of the genie from Aladdin (voiced by the late and missed Robin Williams), that prediction has also been considered to be a non-prediction and is instead merely wishful thinking.

Dev Meetups and Recruiters

In November 2013, I eventually gave in and created a Meetup.com group for the Dublin Xcake community. Now, seven months later, we are seeing triple the numbers attending a session, on average, and a total of 178 individuals signed up to the group. Using Meetup.com has been a good move for our community, and we are reaping the benefits of an expanded presence. We may never get to the 499 signups of Ruby Ireland (one more, please!), so we may never get to the point where there are grumblings about Recruiter behaviour in the group.

Recruiters, especially the newer ones with little in the way of network, can feel desperate and resort to what many developers consider to be intrusive tactics. We should, in my opinion, as organizers, give the group members a template for dealing with these situations.

By happy coincidence, I just happen to have on me at the moment:

  • If you don’t want to be contacted by others, set your Meetup.com profile have the Organizers Only email and notifications preference. New members to the group should be informed of this setting when they sign up. It’s a little bit hidden.

  • If you receive recruitment email that you didn’t want, then reply to them and ask not to be contacted again, or, if you don’t want to engage, just block them. Check their profile on the site. Do they identify as a Recruiter? If they do not, email the organizers to tell them that the person is a Recruiter. Note: I differentiate between Recruiter and someone who is recruiting - if recruitment is their day job, they are a Recruiter.

  • If they continue to send email to you, you’re good to report them to Meetup.com, and tell the organizers.

It’s fine for Recruiters to be part of a meetup group, just like anyone else. They are absolutely free to come along to the meetups, and talk to people and give out business cards, provided they are not harrassing others, just like anyone else. They are free to email people in the group, if that person has made themselves available to be emailed, just like anyone else. However, they must be transparent in their dealings. They are in the group specifically in their professional capacity to recruit talent. They must identify as a Recruiter in their profile. They must list the company that they work for. They must desist if asked to do so by one of their email targets. I would suggest that if Recruiters do not identify as such, an organizer should mark them as such in the Custom Title field of their profile. If they insist on staying in stealth mode, they should be considered for removal from the group.

Members can do their own thing in dealing with the recruiters of course, but abuse/harassment can go both ways, so a general anti-harassment code of conduct is useful - for inspiration, check out Portland Python, Girl Develop It, JSConf and Open Source Bridge.

In advance of the obvious question - yes, I haven’t yet done this for my meetup groups yet! I wrote this to see what people think about it as a reasoned approach. Then I’ll work with my co-organizers to make it happen.

Resolutions And Predictions

Ruby Ireland Talk - Tools of the Trade

I had the chance to do a short talk at Ruby Ireland this month, so I picked out some of the tools that I’m using day-to-day for Ruby development at Converser, explained them in brief and described how they all come together to make a nice workflow for the team.

The slides themselves are accessible, although there aren’t any slide notes - it may be helpful to read them while watching the video, since the camera aspect is a little jaunty.