[theforum] back to basics

Tara Cleveland tara.cleveland at gmail.com
Mon Nov 17 17:07:43 CST 2008

Okay... so... I realised that I didn't really say anything about what
I thought evolt was or what I thought our goals should be... so here

I think evolt is a gathering place for professional internet geeks.
It's a place for us to share. That sharing tends to happen in three
main ways:

1. through articles and resources
    that members write and that people can download (browsers)

2. through thelist
    where people write to ask and answer questions

3. through evolt's social network (and we do have a social network -
not of the web 2.0 variety, but it is a network in any case)
this happens through #evolt, thechat and theforum - and offline in
beervolts and other social gatherings (for instance my flatmate is
garrettc and genghis and bri got married and a bunch of us went to the

Do we need more ways to share? Can we jettison some of the ways of
sharing that aren't working so well anymore? Do we need to formalize
or make easier some of the existing ways of sharing? How can we
improve on what we do have now? What do we think works and what
doesn't work? Is sharing a far too hippy-dippy idea for evolt?

What is it that we do that other sites don't do or don't do so well?

I think we have done the community thing better than lots of others.
For me, evolt is more than just somewhere i ask questions or read
articles - it's about *people*. I wouldn't even know how to get
involved in ALA if I wanted to. I suppose I could submit an article...
but is that really being a part of the community? I can post comments
on articles... but does that make a community? What about other sites
that do internet geek things? Do the sitepoint forums count as a
community? Do any of these sites have people that meet up in
meatspace? What makes a community?

As a community we seem to have become quite insular - so that the most
active and vibrant parts of evolt are between people who are old
friends - #evolt, thechat, etc. -  that's where I'd focus my attention
- on turning that vibrancy outwards and attempting to engage new
people. I'd like those new people to be everyone from people new in
the industry (aka newbies) to actively soliciting articles from old
hats that are well known in the web world and who can share their

I'd also like to see more general web world articles... issues and
societal things and not focus on particular languages, platforms or
such like. Or to talk about what it means to be an internet
professional. How do we do our jobs every day? What frustrates us as
people in the industry? What do we wish the internet could be?

I'd also like to see member profiles - I'd like to go out and find new
people who aren't part of theforum or thechat - people I don't know
and maybe people you don't know - who are evolt members and who have
something to share - can we bring them out of the dark and shine a
light on them?

Does it make sense to have an editor-in-chief? Someone who goes out
and actively shapes what types of articles we publish? Perhaps going
out and trying to get people to write things instead of waiting for
articles to come to us may help to improve what's on the site

Does it make sense to keep the browser archive? William was talking
about wanting to profile weird and wonderful old browsers - and maybe
even review new ones. Would that make the browser archive more
relevant and useful? I'd love it to be resurrected as something that
had life to it in a way that it doesn't right now and I think profiles
of browsers would be a neat way to do that.

I'd love to have much more than just planet.evolt.org. I'd like to
really have more beervolts - maybe even regular ones - and to list
them online. Could we share photos of beervolts and other evolt
related stuff? Could we get people to talk about their passions that
aren't web related? Can we get more people on to IRC? Can we get
people to talk about their local stuff and encourage more people to
meet up?

Okay... I think I'll stop now. I could go on a *lot* more. But I'm
interested to see what it is that other people value about #evolt. I
know that other people have had some really cool idea about where to
go and projects to start. So I'd love to hear them talked about on


PS. at the end of this thread, maybe we should synthesize it in one
larger document and decide where we should go by voting on points or
something? I'm not sure what to do with these ideas...

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