Getting noticed on the Internet and what to do about it

By Indradhanush Gupta Comment

On Monday, 29th May 2017, I walked into RC to realize that Dan Luu had shared my post on Writing a UNIX Shell - Part I and it was trending on Hacker News. This was a first for me, and naturally I found it hard to believe.

I was elated!

The irony to all this was, that I had spent so much time wondering about all this in the past and it happened when I least expected it to.

What next?

I felt very happy about it. But this lasted for a short while, when more comments started to flow in. The harsher ones. They looked something like this:

  1. This is completely wrong.
  2. Author doesn’t know what they are talking about.
  3. How did this get upvoted so much? Not a great tutorial.

But the most important one, where one of commenters pointed out a mistake in my post, and mentioned that I should state the fact that I am not a subject expert in this and am sharing my learnings as I go forward myself. So I fixed the error and put up a disclaimer on the post, and thanked them for pointing it out.

I was speaking to Saul Pwanson about this incident and he pointed me to Cunnigham’s Law:

The best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer.

What did I take out of this?

  1. The internet is a harsh place.
  2. Do not take comments as a personal attack. Also do not take everything to heart.
  3. A lot of people found it useful. The number of upvotes and the comments were proof for it.
  4. Ignore the ones without any constructive feedback. They don’t help you in any way.
  5. Accept it when you are wrong (which is always possible and not a bad thing) and thank them for pointing it out.
  6. You can ensure that you are never wrong by following this one simple rule: Don’t work on anything. Ever.
  7. While there are people who would jump to criticize, there are more people who understand that making mistakes is okay. And that is the way we learn.
  8. A few extra followers on Twitter.
  9. Move on. The internet forgets easily.
  10. Don’t get disheartened. Share whatever you are working on, even if it is half baked. This enforces you to understand things much better than you thought you did. This is also known as the Feynman Technique

I hope you find this useful when you are in a similar predicament. And if all else fails, go and talk to someone about it.

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