In particular, the Ledface article on ‘Knowledge is not mine, not yours. Only the arrangement is ours’ is interesting, because we can see these concepts manifested in the SQL Server community. For me, Ledface make a very subtle point about helpers seeing an improvement in the overall domain in which they care about. I think that’s true in the SQL Community: I can see the passion where people really care about the next level for SQL Server, and pushing it forward for the benefit of SQL Server, its users, and the people who look after it. It’s about making it better for everyone else, as well as for individuals.
In order for this to work in a social environment, however, there needs to be minimal organisation with little or no rules. For example, if you use the Twitter hashtags incorrectly, then the community may sanction you by voicing this directly in a robust 140 character riposte, or by simply unfollowing you. If you’re really unlucky, you’d be blocked! For this to work, then I think that there is something in swarm intelligence to the SQL community; we organise ourselves, we help ourselves, and we sanction ourselves. The community is decentralised since we work all over the globe, which means that help is available 24 x 7 in a ‘follow the sun’ methodology.
In the SQL Community, we see examples of this helpfulness in many different ways. For example, a newbie SQL novice contacted me recently to ask for links to T-SQL forums on the Internet, where they could post up some T-SQL questions. Here is a quick list of some useful resources:
– Microsoft forums – This is a dedicated T-SQL forum, which is always useful
– I use Twitter in order to answer questions sometimes. I like doing this, because it means you are helping someone in ‘real time’ at the point at which they need it. The Twitter hashtag is #SQLHelp and if you need to know the very informal rules around asking these questions, a useful resource by Brent Ozar is here. Although the help is ‘real time’, Jamie Thomson looked at this issue in his blog and I’d suggest you take a look.
Brent Ozar rightly points out that, as a courtesy, it’s nice to thank the Twitterati who have helped you via the #SQLHelp hashtag. I’d extend that courtesy out to the people on SSC and the Microsoft forums.
In my opinion, the SQL Community is stellar, partly because of our collective intelligence, but the ‘helping hand’ that we extend to one another. Long may it continue. I look forward to your comments.