Episode 63

Community Teaching With Discord

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About this Episode

In this episode, Sean and Kelly speak with Leon Sandøy, one of the owners of Python Discord about making connections and community teaching. With the dynamics of teaching changing, how can Python Discord become a space to further educate the Python community?

Also this week, we're excited to announce the launch of the new Teaching Python shop, where you can get fun t-shirts, mugs, hoodie sweatshirts, and even some flip flops to show your support of the show. Use FRIENDS15 to get 15% off your first order!

Learn more about Python Discord below from Leon.

History of Python Discord

I’ve been involved since 2017, when we had ~200 users.

We worked hard to grow this community, and leveraged some pretty creative marketing strategies to find that growth. These eventually paid off, and as soon as we hit a certain critical mass, it’s been a runaway success story with win after win.

The past year has been incredible. We’ve quadrupled in size, worked closely with Discord, with the Python Software Foundation, we’ve restructured the entire organisation from the inside out, launched new community features like the Help-channel system, started producing high-quality original content, and started reaching out beyond the Discord platform.

The culture of Python Discord

When I was growing up, IRC was a toxic and unwelcoming place where you went to talk to grumpy and jaded old programmers. We want to be the antithesis of this experience, a place of warmth and inclusivity that holds your hand until you find your footing. It’s the wholesomest place on the web.

As a leader, I believe that we should be searching for these magical synergies between personal goals and community growth. I look for situations where I can put someone in a situation that will benefit both them and the community, perhaps teaching them a valuable and relevant skill while building us a valuable system. This has really paid off for us. I believe that managing a voluntary organisation requires a strong willingness to spend resources on cultivating motivation. Yes, this sounds like a TED talk. I’m sorry. It plays better as a conversation than as a long paragraph.

You’d be surprised how much work goes into our community. I have 4 hours of weekly meetings, one-on-ones with staff members, interviews, programming and code review, and sometimes I record silly parody songs for our YouTube. This eats up literally all my free time, and the free time of everyone in admin team. We don’t do this casually, this is like a second job to us - or a second family.

Major community features

The help channel system
Stay up to date by subscribing to our news channels, where you get Python podcasts, Python mailing lists (especially ideas and announcements), ongoing tech conferences, most popular Reddit r/python posts, and lots of other Python ecosystem info.

Topical chat, featuring channels for all the different use cases that are particularly interesting for Python users. Many of these are populated by notable members, like our #async channel has asyncio core devs hanging out, and we people from Kivy, Arcade, Pyglet, Panda3D, and notable PyGame developers hanging out in #game-development. #microcontrollers has a number of Adafruit employees (including some of CircuitPythons key contributors) as frequent guests.

Support Teaching Python

Episode Links

  • Python Discord | Home — We're a large community focused around the Python programming language. We believe anyone can learn to code, and are very dedicated to helping novice developers take their first steps into the world of programming. We also attract a lot of expert developers who are seeking friendships, collaborators, and who wish to hone their craft by teaching and getting involved in the community.
  • Primer on Python Decorators – Real Python — In this tutorial on decorators, we’ll look at what they are and how to create and use them. Decorators provide a simple syntax for calling higher-order functions. By definition, a decorator is a function that takes another function and extends the behavior of the latter function without explicitly modifying it.
  • Shop Teaching Python | Products for Teachers & Coders — Check out the brand new Teaching Python shop! Use code FRIENDS15 to get 15% off your first order.
  • Magnus' Kingdom of Chess - Play Magnus and Dragonbox — Discover the Wonderful World of Chess!
  • 🎵 The PEP 8 Song 🎵 - YouTube — A songification of that most holiest of Python Enhancement Proposals, the PEP 8. Based on an idea by Daniel "Mr. Hemlock" Brown.