How to Be a Positive Member of the Blender Community (don't be a fanboy)

(Jonathan Williamson) #1

The Blender Community is awesome but is sometimes rife with fanboys

I just posted this over on Blender Cookie but I wanted to post it here as well.

The Blender community is a very cool and humbling place that is unlike most any other online community. I have been a part of the Blender community for nearly 10 years now and I owe a very large part of my success to this community. Without the Blender community I would not have received answers to my numerous questions, I would not have gotten critiques on my work, and most importantly I would not have continually been inspired by the incredible artists around me.

The Blender community is an awesome place and it’s an honor to be part of it. In the time that I have been part of it, the community has accomplished some really incredible feats. For example, how many communities do you know that came together and raised over 100,000 euros to buy it’s own software in order to release it under GPL?

The “Free Blender” campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR, as a one-time fee so that the NaN investors would agree on open sourcing Blender. To everyone’s shock and surprise the campaign reached the 100,000 EUR goal in only seven short weeks. - source

How many communities do you know that have helped fund a significant portion of not one, but four Open Movie Projects and one Open Game Project?
How many communities can say they actively help support, fund, and develop the continued progression and success of the software it revolves around?

Blender is being made by 100s of active volunteers from all around the world; by studios and individual artists, professionals and hobbyists, scientists and students, vfx experts and animators, and so on. - source

In short, the Blender community has a lot to be proud of. However, the community has one big downfall, it’s users. The majority of Blender users are friendly, responsible, and contribute to the community and the software in positive ways. There is, however, a small minority of users that do more harm to the community and Blenders reputation than good. This group of users are generally referred to as the “Blender Fans.” They are the users that refuse to hear anything bad about Blender and will standup in blind support of it, regardless of what the issue at hand might be. As is common with these small minority groups, they also speak the loudest and often give a false impression of Blender and its community.

These are the users that commonly say things like:

Blender is the greatest!!! We’re so much better than those crap Maya and 3DS Max softwares!

And this:

Oh my god! Blender is the greatest thing ever made! We should all boycott Max and put Autodesk out of business!

When I see these kind of comments this comes to mind. Having been a part of this community for a long time now (since before BlenderArtists was BlenderArtists) I have seen these comments over, and over, and over again. The problem is these comments do nothing but harm to the Blender community and Blenders reputation. I constantly hear professional artists from other software talking about the “Blender Fans” and how it’s one of the things that keeps them from even considering Blender to be a professional tool. Let’s face it, these comments and the people making them represent the essence of fanboyism.

Fanboyism: The collective outlook and behavior of a group of people concerning a subject (movies, games, hardware, comic book characters, etc.) which when challenged results in an antagonistic, passionate, and unreasoned response.

Fanboyism doesn’t help anyone. It just hurts the rest of the community and particularly those trying to make a living with Blender. I love Blender as much as the next person and I love what it represents. However, we must all keep in mind that Blender is merely a tool that provides a means to an end. In this industry, it has gotten to the point (for the most part) where the tool does not matter, the results do. And I think this is the way it should be. We are in the practice of making art and making tools that enable us to make art so let’s please, for all our sakes, stop putting Blender on a pedestal and throwing everything else to the dogs. It’s just a tool. Albeit a tool that we all love and have a stake in.

> Let's help this progression to keep moving forward, rather than backwards by adopting a more positive, constructive outlook on Blender and trying to avoid being a fanboy. Over the last few years, Blender has slowly fought back against its hobbyist and amateur status in the professional realm. Let's help this progression to keep moving forward, rather than backwards by adopting a more positive, constructive outlook on Blender and trying to avoid being a fanboy. Instead work to actively contribute to the narrative, accept criticism of Blender (and its users) with an open mind, and accept that Blender is not always better.

-Jonathan

8 Likes
The future of blender after 2.8
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(ideasman42) #2

Great post Jonathan, but I think you made a mistake by not setting this sticky! :smiley:

1 Like
(Jonathan Williamson) #3

Good call! Stickified!

(Kris) #4

I can only agree to everything said here. Coming from the professional AD community, this community was the first thing I noticed, both good and bad. Unlike how I felt with AD products, I’m committed to Blender as a tool.

(Peter18) #5

OMG Jonathan you are the greatest blenderererererer in the world…we should build you a statue!!! What do you think? a little much? i agree with all thats been said even if i just joked about it. There are also a few trolls around here too…

(4tonmantis) #6

Nice sentiment. I think a lot of the people who typically speak up like that have little experience or training in other software… and don’t realize that the application you use to create 3d art (static or animated) is the equivalent of the brand of wrench a plumber uses to tighten a pipe… or the brand of brush or pencil used to create analog art.
Blind, black and white viewpoints towards software or anything for that matter, is never helpful.
When I was first learning Blender, I caught a lot of flak because I had been trained on 3ds Max and Maya in college. The combination of that and general responses of “check the wiki” to questions led to me just sticking to Maya and Max. Now that there is a ton of training and a few mods that change the feel to be closer to those apps, I’m able to use Blender. I still use the other applications… and I think for me that’s the point… I need to be able to go back and forth easily.

(Jonathan L) #7

I couldn’t agree more, great idea for an article. Perhaps it will die out over time as Blender gets more professional?

(michalis) #8

I do agree!
Well said, JonathanW!
However, if you were not a CG cookie crew member or an ex moderator, I wonder, what could happen then. They could eat you alive.
So, it’s not fair.

(Jonathan Williamson) #9

They can try, I’m here to stay (regardless of moderator or CG Cookie status) :slight_smile: I would rather speak up and get flak than to not speak up at all.

(4tonmantis) #10

The community needs members like JonathanW making posts like this… As a point, I’d say that the open-project, GSOC, etc members also should be setting good examples like this. It’s understandable that they’re busy being productive but this is basically a PSA and he has stepped up to be a mouthpiece for the community. That’s admirable IMO.
EDIT: It’s admirable because it’s basically a thankless job that gets little outside of grief in return. I’m not trying to kiss-ass or anything like that… just pointing out that he’s not getting $$ for this… he’s just trying to improve the community.

(Writer's Block) #11

Well said Jonathon.

It might help to name them something else; whatever they may think of themselves as, they certainly are not fans of Blender.

Maybe naming them as fan-boys, in their mind, legitimises them. Not sure what they are though.

(holyenigma74) #12

i agree blender sucks.

(Peter18) #13

YAY a troll :smiley:

1 Like
(JamFX) #14

Fan boys will happen whatever the platform, no one in there right mind would take note of the “wtf best thing eva omg omg” mentality of such people. at least this community does’t have the Elitist mentality that i see in commercial software forums.

(ideasman42) #15

Probably its possible to be a fanboy without being a jerk, sometimes when you find something awesome its easy to become irrationally happy with it :).

But since blender has so much room for improvement, these fanboys really need to tone it down a bit, perhaps when all bugs are fixed and we have multi-threaded everything, all simulators integrated so they can interact with eachother… etc - they can feel free to cut-loose.

(TheElwolf) #16

There’s a saying in french which I’ll try to translate ‘’ Talk about it in a positive way or talk about it in a negative way but… talk about it.’’
I agree that fanboys are a curious lot but that is how I became curious about Blender myself; because fanboys were telling how great the program was compare to the professional ones. And so I wanted to verify it for myself. Although I don’t see it as better then the others, I did chose it as my primary tool for my upcoming project. The number one reason; It being open source thus free. But then I became aware of the community in general and how the Devs seem to have a passion for what they’re doing for Blender.
I guess what I’m trying to say is for me the Magic about Blender is where it’s at now and how it all began.

Perhaps it will die out over time as Blender gets more professional?

I dont think that the population of ‘‘fanboys’’ will decline in the future. I think that what drives them is the fact that Blender is becoming more and more proffesional but still FREE. (and will remain so) Seriously that’s the real magic of Blender don’t you think. At least a big part of it.

Lets speculate for a moment that in the future, you’ll have to buy ‘‘Blender Pro v3.2’’ :wink: I can assure you that those same fanboys will start finding flaws and bugs and critics about their now favourite/best/godly 3d app there is.

FANboys is a word derived from FANattics write?

Fanatics are worshipers of a ‘‘power’’ they cannot understand. Professional and free… no…it cannot be…both cannot coexist. It must be worship and spread the word it is the best… no… not the best… THE BEST.

Anyway you get the point. :slight_smile:

Frederick

Edit:

But since blender has so much room for improvement, these fanboys really need to tone it down a bit, perhaps when all bugs are fixed and we have multi-threaded everything, all simulators integrated so they can interact with eachother… etc - they can feel free to cut-loose.

Even then. Why would Blender be the best 3d app out there. Do you believe that fanboys would still be in aw about Blender if for example Maya would become Free or even open source and still being for Pros? For me Blender is special to my hart for what it is (other then the app itself) What I mean is what Blender really represent other then being a 3d app. Of course I imagine some Fanboys do think like me in this regard but I don’t think it’s the best 3D app out there.

That said, don’t get me wrong. I’m quite pleased with what as become of blender since v2.49b and I know it has a great future. (v2.49b was just to incomprehensible for me with its interface so I never bothered until v2.50)

Frederick

(Big Fan) #17

>perhaps when all bugs are fixed

well we are going to miserable for a long time then :frowning:

(GLakie) #18

What Jonathon said. Here, Here.

(larmannjan) #19

so the purpose of this message is to point our the fan-boys as the are the presented problem. the only fan-boy i know here is the 123abc guy or was it abc123. fan-boys should not hinder a studios productivity. The reason studios do not use blender is most likely compatibility, stability and pipe-line integration.

(Sanctuary) #20

I wonder where are those legions of “fanboys” on the Blenderartist board this thread seems to refer to ?
I notice from time to time in the CG discussions a post that sounds indeed like a “Blender is the best, other apps are bad” kind of comment, but that’s really very rare, the majority of people on the non-support part of BA (like the CG discussion sub board here) always discuss the good and bad side of Blender.

I constantly hear professional artists from other software talking about the “Blender Fans” and how it’s one of the things that keeps them from even considering Blender to be a professional tool. Let’s face it, these comments and the people making them represent the essence of fanboyism.

So “professional artists” will judge an application as being professional or not depending on a few user of such application writing in an internet forum “application is the best, other apps are bad” ?
Really ? they’re not judging the professionalism of an application about how good, polished, stable, usefull etc… the tools in the application are ?