One of my favorite things about working in online communities is that you can spend nearly all your time with someone online but have no idea what they look like. I went out to dinner with a friend that I’ve known for ages from the DevOps community, and he went up to order and put it on the tab I had open—and he couldn’t remember what my real name was. He came back to the table and we had a good laugh about it—how we’ve known each other for some time, we’re good friends, but there’s some things that you just miss out on.
The face-to-face meetings are really important because you get to know why someone reacts a certain way to ideas that are proposed—in person. It’s really hard to hug it out over video chat, even though you can indicate a lot in email, in chat, and mailing lists.