I recently had an interesting conversation with my daughter. She couldn't believe I grew up in a house without a telephone. We got a phone when I was 13 years old. But the reason for getting it was primarily to keep in touch with my grandma. Just calling a friend was expensive at that time. Who you spent your free time with was determined by who lived nearby. Today, I enjoy not limiting my activities primarily to people in my local area. On the Internet, I can easily communicate with people who share my interests.
The question here is what it means to be part of a global community. It's hard for me to draw the line between when you are part of a community. Just like in any group, there are subgroups and different opinions. Who belongs to the community and who does not? Which is the right opinion? Since the initial question currently engaged me I felt targeted and so this text came about.
Working together with like-minded people
Active in the Joomla community, I was able to have a very interesting experience. I was a mentor in a Google Summer of Code project. The Indian student who worked on our team was the same age as my daughter. When it comes to your own family, you are often biased. Working with the student gave me a distancing insight into the world of someone just starting out in their professional life. I also became aware of the similarities between student life in Germany and India, and what is different in the other country. On the day when my biggest concern was to fix my daughter's favorite jeans properly, our student complained that his parents went to their country house a few days earlier than him and he was going to be alone in the city and had to cook his own food. As an aside, we didn't just work on the actual issue. We also discussed questions like "Someone asked me if I would like to work for them. I would like to earn money. But I'm not sure if I can finish my studies well in this case." Of course, such questions must be discussed primarily with parents and friends. But an opinion from more experienced people in the same field from another country is undoubtedly a valuable enrichment if you want to work internationally. And to get this opinion, participation in an international open source project is an ideal starting point.
Members appear and disappear
In the Joomla community there are many local groups: the Joomla User Groups or JUG's. Getting to know like minded people nearby is possible in many areas. I like this.
But: you never get to know other community members in person. I often wonder what happened to Joomers who were active for a while and then suddenly stopped. I was often surprised about my feelings when I heard stories of others I never knew personally. Also in conversations with other open source contributors I have noticed that one develops a relationship with people with whom one communicates only virtually. I wouldn't have thought that was possible 20 years ago. Last year, an active participant in a local Joomla forum suddenly stopped posting. I looked at her recent posts because I suspected a disagreement/conflict. Another user investigated further and found a death notice. As he published it, other posts made it clear that a large number of forum participants were very affected/concerned, even though they didn't know each other personally.