[theforum] A sound of silence

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Fri Nov 21 10:03:21 CST 2008

> 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

I guess I can only suggest you go back and read some of the archives
from a long time ago. Your impression of community simply is not
correct. Even today, there are not many true online communities in the
web dev world like we had.

> You appear to be implying that getting more people involved with the
> visual redesign will grow the community more?

Um, yes?

> An archive of interesting articles which continues to
> grow.


> > 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.

Articles and mailing list posts do not make a community. I still think
you are not on the same page, here. If you were here when evolt was
actually a leading, living community, I think you would have
understood that people truly did join to be a part of something and to
be associated with this leading, living community. If you were hear
when publishing an article on evolt was actually an impressive thing
rather than a response to solicitation, then perhaps you would not
have reacted to my post like you have.

> We happen to be in an era of web dev where frankly, not
> much really new and exciting is happening.

If that were true, I would have left the industry a long time ago.

> To imply that those
> questions and answers [on thelist] are worthless is to insult those people imnsho.

To imply that I said anything like that is disingenuous. I said there
is nothing special about the questions and answers on thelist, which
translates into having no reason to post to thelist over any online
forum or other mailing list. thelist did once have a very specific
niche and you simply could not find an equivalent. It offered very
specific value. It does not anymore. If you think saying so is harsh,
I'm not sure what to tell you.

> What's in it for them? Why on earth would db
> guru's be interested in answering noobie questions on thelist,
> repeatedly.

Again, I don't know how to respond to this. Even today rudy fielded a
"newbie" database question. He is not subscribed to thelist, but he
occasionally checks the archive for SQL and database questions.

Your question of "What's in it for them" is precisely what you and
everyone else here needs to understand in order to build community.
Again, I don't mean to be harsh, but I actually had a little bit of
faith in the likelihood of success from the responses to my last
couple emails until I saw yours.

We need to put the ego aside, recognize how overgrown the garden has
become in the absence of gardeners, and focus on what will build
community. Building community is about people, not technology. The
"roll your own" CMS idea was not about a technology need; it was about
people and common purpose and the community that is created around
such a project. You may disagree with the individual idea, but that
isn't the point. The point is that prior to the last couple of days,
the entire focus has been on HTML and server configuration and whether
fonts should be this or that. These are all good discussions and need
to happen, but they have nothing to do with community. If there isn't
some focus on community building ideas, then I don't really know what
we're doing here. This isn't about living in the past. It's about
recognizing that things have fundamentally changed in a negative way
in the last number of years, and people leaving and articles
stagnating and thelist post quality falling are all SYMPTOMS of a loss
of community.

If we can agree that we need to work on the community side of things,
I'm willing to help. If we don't agree about that, then let's just
come to that conclusion that so I can avoid wasting my time.


Matt Warden
Cincinnati, OH, USA

This email proudly and graciously contributes to entropy.

More information about the theforum mailing list