The concept of a library technology Stack Exchange site as a google-able
repository of information sounds great. However, I do have quite a few
1. Stack Exchange sites seem to naturally lead to gatekeeping,
snobbishness, and other troll behaviors. The reputation system built into
those sites really go to a lot of folks' heads. High-ranking users seem to
take pleasure in shutting down questions as off-topic, redundant, etc.
Argument and one-upmanship are actively promoted--"The previous answer
sucks. Here's my better answer! " This tends to attract certain (often
male) personalities and to repel certain (often female) personalities.
This seems very contrary to the direction the Code4Lib community has tried
to move in the last few years of being more inclusive and inviting to
women instead of just promoting the stereotypical "IT guy" qualities that
dominate most IT-related discussions on the Internet. More here:
2. Having a Stack Exchange site might fragment the already quite small and
nascent library technology community. This might be an unfounded worry,
but it's worth consideration. A lot of Q&A takes place on this listserv,
and it would be awkward to try to have all this information in both
places. That said, searching StackExchange is much easier than searching a
3. I echo your concerns about vendors. Libraries have a culture of
protecting vendors from criticism. Sure, we do lots of criticism behind
closed doors, but nowhere that leaves an online footprint. Often, our
contracts include a clause that we have to keep certain kinds of
information private. I don't think this is a very positive aspect of
librarian culture, but it is there.
I think a year or two ago that there was a pretty long discussion on this
listserv about creating a Stack Exchange site.
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2014 8:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Stack Overflow
Presumably I'm not alone in this, but I find Stack Overflow a valuable
resource for various bits of web development and I was wondering whether
anyone has given any thought about proposing a Library Technology site to
Stack Exchange's Area 51 (http://area51.stackexchange.com/)? Doing a
search of the proposals shows there was one for 'Libraries and Information
Science' but this closed 2 years ago as it didn't reach the required
levels during the beta phase.
The reason I think this might be useful is that instead of individual
places to go for help or raise questions (i.e. various mailing lists)
there could be a 'one-stop' shop approach from which we could get help
with LMSs, discovery layers, repository software etc. I appreciate though
that certain vendors aren't particularly open (yes, Innovative I'm looking
at you here) and might not like these things being discussed on an open
Does anybody else think this might be useful? Would such a forum be shot
down by all the vendors legalese wrapped up in their Terms and Conditions?
Or are you happy with the way you go about getting help?
Joseph Schulkins| Systems Librarian| University of Liverpool Library| PO
Box 123 | Liverpool L69 3DA |
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> T 0151 794 3844
Follow us: @LivUniLibrary<https://twitter.com/LivUniLibrary> Like us:
LivUniLibrary<https://www.facebook.com/livunilibrary> Visit us:
http://www.liv.ac.uk/library Special Collections & Archives blog: