[theforum] A sound of silence

adrinux adrinux at gmail.com
Fri Nov 21 09:09:55 CST 2008

2008/11/21 Matt Warden <mwarden at gmail.com>:
> No, that's backwards from what I was trying to say. We lost our
> community.
I find this statement troubling. For me the community was always
mostly thelist and the occasional article on evolt.org. It's certainly
not lost, though it has diminished, for reasons which we've already
gone over.

> I'm starting from the point where we have agreement that we no longer
> have an evolt community, at least like we did.
I disagree. My community is still there.

But this nostalgia trip keeps coming up for all of you that have been
here for a while, not just Matt, and I'm getting a bit fed up of you
all going on about what you've lost, how things used to be better, how
to get back to this mystical golden age when things were more fun and

It seems to me (as more of an outsider) that the 'community' you lost
is actually just a group of friends, smart, intelligent, witty people
that were part of thelist and part of the evolt.org admin and that
have mostly moved on. Change happens, let go of the past, move on and
concentrate on what evolt is NOW and how it can be improved. Focusing
on what it was and trying to recapture good times will be an exercise
in frustration and disappointment and you know it.

> Upgrading our technology is not going to build community.
Well duh. So WTF even bring up RoR vs Drupal?
Tempest has an unsupported OS, running an unsupported version of
Drupal. Upgrading is a technical necessity, partly from the point of
security, party for improved performance, partly because it provides
new features.
The technology provides a foundation on which everything else - IA,
visual redesign, community building - is based, you can't build
anything strong on a crumbling foundation.

Yes we need to do other stuff. But we do need to upgrade. And we can't
do everything at once.

> The visual redesign has
> some potential, but right now 1-2 people are working on that (I could
> be wrong -- I haven't been following it closely), so that's not going
> to build community much either.
You appear to be implying that getting more people involved with the
visual redesign will grow the community more?

You're damn right the visual redesign has potential. All communities
have turnover, people arrive, people leave, as long as the latter
doesn't become greater than the former, the community survives.
We need fresh blood to stay alive and right now evolt.org isn't in a
state that can attract much fresh blood. A visual redesign is an
important part of keeping the community going, and it can't grow again
unless new people are attracted.

> What is our common purpose anymore? Why, other than history and
> stubbornness, are we even bothering with evolt anymore?
A unique browser archive. A well known and helpful mailing list. The
infrastructure on which another well known and helpful mailing list is
run (css-d). An archive of interesting articles which continues to
grow. This is what evolt is right now, if that's not enough for any of
*you* to keep bothering then let go, walk away, *move on*. I can tell
you it's enough for me to want to stay involved, to keep it going.

> People join a community because they are passionate about the common purpose.
No, I think y'all started evolt.org because of that. I got involved
without even thinking about that.

> People join a community because the community offers value to them personally.
This is why I got involved. This is the number one reason people join
communities like evolt, and when it loses value to them they leave.

> People join a community because they wish to feel a part of something
> positive and bigger than themselves.
No. That's why they get involved in admin/content of evolt.org, and
that's a subsection of the community, not the entire community. That's
not why people read articles or subscribe to thelist.

> have 10 softball posts per day on thelist with an answer and question
> quality that could be found anywhere on the web.
Such is life. We happen to be in an era of web dev where frankly, not
much really new and exciting is happening. To imply that those
questions and answers are worthless is to insult those people imnsho.

When something interesting does happen - like say microsoft announcing
that IE8 will default to IE7 compatibility mode - the quantity of
discussion goes up (quality is more arbitrary, certainly they get more
interesting to me).

> If we have no ideas on how to revive the community that was
There you go again, harking back to times gone by.

> should stop wasting our time, give the treasury funds to something
> that is actually useful and positive in the world, and turn off the
> servers.
And again, dismissing everyone currently posting and answering on
thelist. It may not provide value to you, I'm betting it provides
value to them.

> some db gurus from the past to do guest articles, which
> could perhaps pique their interest in evolt again.
Great, new articles! But. What's in it for them? Why on earth would db
guru's be interested in answering noobie questions on thelist,
repeatedly. evolt is a generalist community, they've moved on into
more specialist circles (I presume). Soliciting articles sounds great,
expecting them to get involved again...

Adrian Simmons | http://perlucida.com

More information about the theforum mailing list