I've lurked on this list for some time...but I must chime in here for a
moment. I think that the following two statements go back to an earlier
post by Dorothea Salo today, which really summed it up nicely for me as
a lurker who hasn't been very involved in this community:
>* The core audience for the journal would be the more-or-less-hardcore
>coders and developers, plus any "accidental techs" willing to
>participate in hardcore-type conversations.
>* The journal MUST reach out to people beyond the current code4lib
>community. Several people have said this is a good argument in favor of
>a more formal structure.
It comes down to the goals of the group, and I'm not sure that it's a
question of whether the proposed journal is formal vs. informal in
structure. If libraries are to move forward technically, then there is
a need to attract people from outside the libraries who have the right
skills, and to help "accidental techies" who are on the periphery within
the libraries build their skills.
So if the goal of the group is to move libraries forward technically,
then the real need is to create a welcoming atmosphere that draws
outsiders in. That's really hard to do, especially when you've got a
solid and active core group, like this one does, that has gelled over
time and has developed in jokes and ways of thinking and communicating.
That's not an inherently bad thing necessarily, but it does raise
(probably unintentional) barriers to newcomers.
If, on the other hand, the goal is to enjoy a social network among
like-minded guys in the profession, then the status quo is fine, but the
group should not be surprised if this fails to attract new people.