I'm passionate about Linux. So much so I've earned a nickname from cohorts and am known as "Weird Linux". They labeled me that one day because I was hacking a work around to run the Juniper SSL VPN agent on Ubuntu and SUSE when Juniper said it can't be done. I tend to spend time seeing what I can do with Linux frankly because it lets me. Breaking things apart to understand what makes things work and how things run has always been in my blood. Linux affords me the opportunity to explore and advance my horizons. Perhaps that sounds a bit silly, but it is true.
Being able to satisfy my natural curiousity and build / create things with Linux was one of my princple reasons I chose to focus my career in Linux. Although I have a host of other reasons, another primary one was the fact of the Linux community. Being able to come to a forum, board or email list and ask for help and assistance from like-minded individuals was a perk. I could make friends, learn new techniques and be taught new things. Lately however I've begun to notice a trend I'm not so excited about seeing.
Recently I've been reading on boards and hearing from others that some of the communities that have built up around Linux have become cliquish. Meaning, unless they accept you or ask you to be a part of them, you are persona non gratta. Take for instance a member who posted in our Linux.com forums that he asked some questions about a particular distribution at another site's forum, as well as how to use some of the software and was mocked openly.
There's a difference to me between the playful or "playground rough housing" banter between distributions, but actively going out of the way to ridicule or mock those who are wanting to learn just doesn't sit well with me. Linux is not Linux without the community. Cliques usually end up destroying what is good.
My hope is that this may be an anonmaly or isolated experiences. I use, professionally and for hobby, several different distributions. I will say that my primary choice these days is Ubuntu. One of the major reasons I prefer Ubuntu is their community. It is one of the most open and encouraging groups I've found out there. Granted there are trolls everyone who come in and say stupid things like "no one is helping, I'll go back to Windows". Fine, go back to Windows. Linux is about learning. But Linux is also about helping. The way to grow and market Linux is by reaching out and helping those who are new or have questions to learn and have a positive experience. It passes the word about how Linux can do everything and then some that Windows can do...all for free. I'm not thumping or preaching, but I am saying this is something I've noticed.
I've really enjoyed Linux.com and want to encourage everyone to contribute and help build this site up. Make this the central community of helping and exploration or Linux!