CompSci/Programming Social Network?
September 25, 2012 11:32 AM   Subscribe

So, I'm getting back into programming and am interested in comp-sci type stuff. I've been thinking about maybe rejoining G+ and socializing with various ubernerds who are into that kind of thing... I left over the nymwars, but it seems they still haven't fully fleshed out their policy yet, so I'm still hesitant to jump back onto it. Is there any other sort of social network for nerds? I mean, like, a social network, not just a question/answer site stackoverflow, but some place where you're really feel like you're interacting with others? I feel like G+ still probably has a solid set of users from the technical fields, though I could be wrong, since I haven't used it in over a year, but at the time it had plenty of geeky people. I subscribe to the /r/compsci and programming subreddits, but I'd like something more personal and less forum-y...
posted by symbioid to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This. not happy with the lack of nymbleness on G+

What about edging up on maker groups?
posted by tilde at 11:37 AM on September 25, 2012

Response by poster: My local maker group is a cross between hardware geekery (we have the esteemed Ben Heckendorn in ours :)), and a lot of web designy type people - from what I've seen, not a lot of particularly programming language nerds, alas.

I suppose it doesn't hurt to try. Or did you mean that there's a "Maker Forum" out there (i.e. the Maker 'zine site or something associated with it)?
posted by symbioid at 11:39 AM on September 25, 2012

There are lots of programming-oriented IRC networks and channels that could serve that function for you, depending on interest.

The StackExchange sites in general have a bit of that feel to it. Lots of overlap in the userbase, and quite a few of them are more "ChatFilter"-y than SO, while still being topical.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:06 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you do rejoin google+. There is a Hacker News circle. I get a constant flood of tech news and programming chatter through g+

Oh, it goes without saying check out Hacker News, there is a lot of startup fluff but there are solid technical people there.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:06 PM on September 25, 2012

r/programming if you're happy interacting with reddit?† (plus the reddit programming related subgroups)

Given the level of sexism and general fuckwittery on reddit, I can quite understand someone not wanting to go near the place. Some of the prgramming-related subgroups appear to be ok though.
posted by pharm at 2:19 PM on September 25, 2012

Diaspora is full of nerds. Pretty much only nerds, which some people see as a bug. It is not. It is a feature.
posted by lollusc at 4:13 PM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I do actually sub to compsci/programming subreddits (I mentioned it at the end of my question, actually)... But yeah, that's where I found a lot of good stuff, but mostly it's links and shit. I don't feel a bond/kinship with people as people to discuss it. It's usually just one off queries or links. Diaspora is probably closer. I haven't looked in ages. Have they ever fixed their security issues? I had an account at one seed shortly after they opened up, but never went back. Then I heard they had drastic drastic security problems.

Maybe I'll go look again. Really I don't mind a small userbase, as long as it's solidly cool in whatever way I'm down with. I like LJ for that reason, but it's not quite a nerd-haven, I have to say...
posted by symbioid at 4:55 PM on September 25, 2012

Lambda the Ultimate is a pretty good place for programming language nerdery.
posted by vasi at 9:10 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Similar Question on HN. Oddly, someone recommends Metafilter.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:18 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Chiming in because I'm looking for something similar to you. I'd definitely recommend HN (, but with the disclaimer I'm looking because I want to get away from it myself.

I've learned a massive amount about practical use of frameworks, code, development approach, business, startups etc. and I got into Python in a big way because of that site. Need to get out though because the tone and attitude is grating on me in a way I can't put my finger on. Nothing major, just feel like I need somewhere a bit more relaxed to learn.

Having said that don't let me bias you, it's a great place to hang and there's some seriously hardcore clever people there who are doing big, public facing stuff. I'll be keeping it on the books as an occasional read-but-don't-get-invested type of site.
posted by bemetta at 1:53 AM on September 26, 2012

Sorry symboid, I failed to spot your reddit mention. If you want to actually interact with the ubernerds, then find the IRC channels where they hang out?
posted by pharm at 3:10 AM on September 26, 2012

NB StackExchange mods have pretty much banned 'chatfilter' type interaction as far as I can see.
posted by pharm at 3:11 AM on September 26, 2012

Response by poster: I love reading L:tU, but I never joined, and now it looks like due to issues, they've shut down new user registration.

Forums like HN, while good for news, also seem to me a lot like reddit in the sense that it's a forum and not quite the same thing as a social network where I connect with people. One user who replied to the "Similar Question" that Ad Hominem linked above has the right idea, that the forums aren't quite the same thing. HN is a bit more broader about the geekery, for one thing, and the culture/attitude I see there seems more slashdotty than I would hope to get out of it.

I think bemetta has their finger on the pulse wrt to HN... It seems to be a general problem with coders, the alpha-geek issue. That's why I'm hoping to get into something more serious, because while I'm sure there's still some alpha-geekery happening, I imagine that people tend to be more focused on the issues than snark.

One of the reasons I'm not quite sold on IRC is due to the fact that it's "mere" chat. Not to say that I can't or shouldn't utilize that (I admit, despite all the other internet stuff I got involved in, I've only used IRC a couple times in the mid-90s, and then never really did anything to learn it), but I want something less real-time, and more "permanent". Hence the desire for something more social networky.

That also seems to be the problem in general with most social networks is that they're more "stream" based not "blog" based. Even G+ would have that problem. It seems to be the problem I'm noticing with Diaspora. It's taken the FB/Twitter/G+ model. It tends to shorter posts and doesn't feel like I'm interacting with people in a meaningful way.

One thing that someone on HN pointed out (and I'm sorry for all these digressions, it's just sort of explaining what I see as the general state of social networks/connections nowadays, and not necessarily about compsci per se, I guess)... They read the comments and don't connect with WHO the reader is, and I guess that's what I'm looking for. More of a connection with PEOPLE. Chat would allow that more than a seemingly quasi-anonymous forum.

I think the architecture of the comment itself is part of that - I noticed on Reddit that the username is on top of the comment (and I think Slashdot is the same way, and HN as well)... Whereas with social networks, they have a large icon to see who it is, at least, a visual indicator that says "BAM - This was written by this user". And one reason I think that mefi works so well is that the user-title is on the BOTTOM of the message. I can see, quite separate from the message WHO posted it, not just some random user, and that's helped me feel more at home here than I ever did in a place like /. or reddit (and I'm guessing at HN).

Now that I think about it, though. I'm really wondering - I mentioned Blogs and Streams. What about a WIKI-oriented social network... (OK, now I'm just into GYOFB territory!) Wonder how that could/would work. I know that there was stuff like that with whatever it was that Andreeson tried setting up years ago, but I think it could be a niche market.

Anyways, I think L:tU is the closest in terms of depth to what I'm looking for, but not quite the presentation, even though it's better than reddit/HN...

I appreciate all the mentions here, because it does show the variety of ways to interact with people.

My friend asked if I'd thought about taking classes, and I've seen Coursera recommended, and maybe I'll do something like that. It might not be a social network, but it might be deep and I'd have some professional training with it, and I could always utilize these resources you folks mentioned to supplement my education.
posted by symbioid at 10:52 AM on September 26, 2012

Something I completely forgot about in response to this: what sort of region do you live in? If you're in a major metro consider your meatspace options in terms of hacker labs, coding meetups, etc. It's all the density and depth that a forum provides with the bonus of courtesy and face to face communication.
posted by bemetta at 2:14 PM on September 26, 2012

They're not quite "social networks" but another option is blog aggregators, at least in the open source world. Unfortunately they're vertical silos, and the topics tend more towards "programming" rather than "computer science", but the authors definitely show their personality and respond to each other as people. The "Planet" aggregators, like Planet Gnome and Planet Debian are among the better ones.
posted by vasi at 7:07 PM on September 26, 2012

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