Roy recently posted his opinion about the decision of U2U from Belgium to avoid working with Israeli companies for political reasons (you can read my own opinion here). Being a famous technical blogger, Roy managed to attract a nice amount of responses, which can be roughly categorized as follows:
- People who agree with him
- People who don't
- People who think he should keep his blog technical and shut up about political issues
I'd like to talk about the third kind of assertments, but let's first start with rockstars...
I think it's great that rockstars use their influence to make the world a better place. Bono is probably the best example - he's been doing a tremendous amount of work to help those in need, with the highlight being his work to make the Group of Eight Summit write off Africa's huge debt. Had he not been the rockstar he is - he would never have been able to accomplish that (and a lot of other stuff). The thing is that in this work he had to get himself very much involved into global politics, and there are many people out there who completely disagree with his opinions.
I agree with Philip Haack when he says that "Joel is the closest thing the software community has to a bonafide rockstar". As such, I think it's completely appropriate for him (or any other famous technical blogger for that matters) to talk about non-technical things, yes - even politics!
When Mike Stall compared his baby to a finite state machine or talked about his dog teaching him about race conditions I didn't see anyone complaining. Neither did anyone complain when Scott Hanselman tiled his kitchen or when he talks about diabetes.
Bloggers are not just technical - they are first people. They have families, friends, hopes, regrets, ups, downs, the whole deal. I personally like reading a little more personal stuff about bloggers that interest me. I wouldn't want all their posts to be about their personal life, but once in a while, getting a glimpse of it, a small reminder that there is a person behind the words, is nice.
As for the question whether politics is in-bounds or out of it - I don't see any reason why it should be excluded.
So Roy, do me a favor, disregard these single-minded people who can't accept you have things to say other than "regular expressions", "agile", "test driven", etc - SAY IT, loud and clear!!!
I'll be there reading it :-)