Monday, June 20, 2005

losing my MIND

The past few months, MIND, the Malaysian Independant dotNet Developers Community Forums, have been quiet. This is a pity, because this time last year it was a thriving commune for like minded people to exchange thoughts and hang out.

Here are my reasons for why it has been losing its appeal over the past 6 months
  1. Loss of knowledgable and regular members
  2. Antiquated Forum engine
  3. MS Trolls are tolerated by the moderators
  4. People move on


1. Loss of Knowledgable and regular members
Gone are the days where we can exchange code snippets and discuss the details of the CLI, with a healthy mixture of jokes in between. Kahfui seems to be preoccupied with his new job, and Tim seems to be galavanting the region. Derek is still around, but his one liners are to few and far between nowadays. Firedancer has decided to do her dance down south.
Of course it takes an interesting topic to stir things up, but what is more important is a stable of reliable posters who would respond to things. The newbie posts are tolerable but really, we should have better quality questions, puhlease.

2. Antiquated Forum engine
The Forum engine looks old and feels old.
- There are no 'Edit Posts' feature which is not a problem for me, but evidently quite a problem for other users.
- It doesnt scale. After a while, the forum slows down to a crawl and refuses to work, until the admins have to lob off old posts to let it return to an acceptable performance level.
This is a good workaround, but its terrible as a forum, because we would want to have a more permanent record of posts, otherwise issues would be raised again and again. Having a track record is quite important. Currently it goes back to 2003.
There has been much talk on converting the server over to Community Server, but I heard that a year ago. People say, give 'em some slack, since its a volunteer effort. ... Fine, but isnt Microsoft paying for something? (MS sponsors MIND in a way, as they provide the meeting space, and they fund INETA which MIND is part of)

3. MS Trolls are tolerated by the moderators
Couple of months ago, some members decided upon themselves to post up attention grabbing, controversial but totally misunderstood posts. Because these persons was suppose to be 'well respected' in the community, and the posts were very pro-Microsoft (MIND sponsors), moderators found themselves caught in whether to moderate the posts or not. In the end, they didnt, they allowed a subset of posts to go through, which brought alot of antagonistic feelings in the community.
I'd be the first to admit it that I was involved in a few heated exchanges, as I felt that misinformation is best left to mainstream newspapers and government controlled TV stations. However I kept discussions open and tried not to sink below bridge level.
The MS Trolls have since been quiet but since their departure, they left a rank stench on where they've trodden. Their acceptance by the moderators mean that certain thoughts would be condoned, no matter how illogical they may be, just because of the 'politics' with the sponsors. As an engineer, merits on logic and reasoning should be the determining factor on whether a post is moderated or not.

4. People move on
Peoples interests and job requirements change over the months and years, and ultimately their communities change. We cant expect the same cast of people to remain at the forums; greater and better things are always attracting their attentions. Its the community which should make contributers feel that they get much more out than what each puts in.
Lately Im hanging out at #myoss, the Malaysian Open Source community via the IRC, and there is an exciting buzz to it. I dunno, but perhaps thats where I should help develop instead. People there are knowlegable, friendly, openminded and helpful. Just like the old MIND I used to know ...

yk.

12 lewsers:

Yoon Kit said...

I just read some of Marauderz blogs, and he has voiced some problems faced by the organising committee of which he is involved in.
It's Hard To Run A Developer Community

It started off good, but eventually its just a critique of the Malaysian audience gunning for the free pizza.

I think its important to stress the Independant in MIND to allow a looser exchange of ideas and a growth of the dev community. Whether or not people are subliminally attracted to pure MS tech, only time will tell, but thats the only way to keep this community growing.

Anonymous said...

The other thing u missed out was that people got better things to do than to post at MIND/forum.

I myself seen salary raise with natural increase responsibiility and have lots of things to do. That would include hanging out at any oosig forums as well.

Gradually but surely will be joining the silent community of post listeners.

Yoon Kit said...

> The other thing u missed out
> was that people got better things
> to do than to post at MIND/forum.

See point #4. But yeah, it takes a critical mass to get the forums going too. And it looks like that critical mass has dispersed.

> Gradually but surely will be
> joining the silent community
> of post listeners.

Ah, its nice to stalk.

yk.

Anonymous said...

>See point #4.
I fit point #4. I have changed.

Others not participating in the first place was that they have better things to do. People who are not involved in the forums in the first place have no interest at all to be exposed in public. Thus forums are not easy to grow, unless you have open minded people who are willing to evolve their opinion. which many don't.

There are other constraints which stop people from participating in forums. Company generally do not like staff to be visible in public. Sad. But it is a need for success of corporation.

> Ah, its nice to stalk.
That was not my first option. Many "stallks" to keep low profile. I was outspoken, got burned and that is it. Just listen in, type no more opinions but instructions (i mean codes).

Thanks yk, i hv to stop. :D.

Yoon Kit said...

> unless you have
> open minded people
> who are willing to evolve
> their opinion.
> which many don't.

Huhuhhh.. I know what u mean. Some idiots are so steadfast in preaching and are not open to the possibility that their opinions may be incomplete. Even in the slightest.

> I was outspoken,
> got burned and that is it.

Well, as they say; Flame, and be prepared to get burnt...

Some people are more fun to flame, though!

yk

Anonymous said...

>not open to the possibility that their opinions may be incomplete. Even in the slightest.
That is up to what knowledge the readers hold. There are many angles of perception to a topic, where one stand is where one see.
(I am not going to argue with you about opinion of some as there is no such things as crime, as crime are deem so my a set of people ... that is hard to swallow).

>Flame, and be prepared to get burnt...
More like, if percieved as flame and be prepared to get burnt...

>Some people are more fun to flame, though!
You mean Az..i?

Things catches fire quick in most IT forums.
I hardly seen any flames on other forums (but a lot of spam). Why? Why IT forums are so sensitive?

Maybe I interact with you. I find this interesting on how ppl interact on internet. I trust you can dig me out from the IP add. Hope you keep it quiet.

Yoon Kit said...

> Why IT forums are so sensitive?

Only some trolls in forums are sensitive. I would like to think that the majority are not as egoistical nor self centred, and are more accomodating to other ideas.

I dont think its just an IT related forum issue. Most other forums show lusers who are just as polarised.

> I trust you can dig me
> out from the IP add.

Nah, blogspot doesnt keep track of the IP addresses. Too bad.

yk.

Anonymous said...

>Most other forums show lusers who
>are just as polarised.

Seems like extremists are everywhere. lol.

I guess the other forums I went, there are more people who are willing to share and make positive conclusion of a post, rather than to vent their ego on other posters. With some exception of course.

I do wonder how long will MIND forum post be kept. What do you think?

Yoon Kit said...

> I do wonder how long will
> MIND forum post be kept.

I always wondered about this...
I hope they dont the old stuff, cos quite a few gems got deleted the last time the forum slowed to a crawl.

Ah well.

Anonymous said...

> cos quite a few gems got deleted

format the server... lol...

After MIND, a people moved to their respective groups. To stay way from one another. Which is not a bad thing... What was left was half dead MIND... LOL...

I do think they need a better system where one poster has just one segment where poster can edit and upgrade their opinions...

Yoon Kit said...

> I do think they need
> a better system where
> one poster has just
> one segment where poster
> can edit and upgrade
> their opinions...

like a blog...?

yk

Anonymous said...

u mean like mindblogger? LOL...

A system to improve the opinion as the forum evolve is the key for a succesful forum.

Nah! I gain more listening and reading. Always use a pseudonym from now on.