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CODE4LIB  January 2022

CODE4LIB January 2022

Subject:

Re: code4lib mailing list over the years

From:

Joe Hourclé <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 15 Jan 2022 06:54:45 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (63 lines)

I haven’t seen the attachment— my phone is choking on it for whatever reason, so I’ll just answer the questions asked

(Or start to answer them, then veer wildly off tangent)

> 
> On Jan 14, 2022, at 5:45 PM, Tim Spalding <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> "Mailing lists aren't what they used to be. Of the mailing lists in which I
> subscribe, zero discussion happens. There are really only announcements. I
> suppose the Code4Lib mailing list is no different."
> 
> At the risk of starting a discussion where nobody discusses:
> 
> 1. Why are mailing lists dead for discussion?

I don’t know if it’s all mailing lists, or just this one.  When I first joined,
Many of the ILS offerings didn’t exist, and those that did exist didn’t have forums for discussion about them.

Code4Lib provided a space for discussion about both broader discussions about both technology and policies related to it, as well as more specific discussion when someone might ask ‘who has experience with (x)?’ Either to solve problems they had, or to get opinions on how well it would fit their needs.

I suspect that those issues have moved to other more specialized lists… although that can also be a problem for the evaluating for needs case, you’re not going to find the people who specifically had issues with the software and had to move to something else.

Mailing lists also have a very asynchronous nature to them— you post a question, and it might take a few days or even a week for the discussion to really flesh out.  I don’t think that slack, or Facebook, or any of those other communication networks that have opened up are any better at anything other than speed of response, but that satisfies for many people these days.

(And I should mention— due to a stalker in my past, I don’t use most social networks.  I’m on LinkedIn, but only connect with people I went to school with or worked with professionally… and only if I felt comfortable recommending them for a job)

> 2. Has discussion of the topics here moved elsewhere? If so, where and why?

I can’t say for certain, not using most other online mediums, but the closest thing that I can think of to code4lib that I knew of was the Libraries StackExchange site before they went to ‘StackExchange2.0’.

(For those not aware, Stack Exchange used to offer their platform for a fee.. with 2, they went to a model where groups of people could propose new sites, and if they got a sufficient level of support, they got a site for free… but the level of support required was enough people so had experience in a StackExchange 2.0 site; they wouldn’t count experience on the former Library specific site.)

I suspect that other forums have gained users because of these larger social networks that draw people in and have actively done research into making things ‘sticky’. (Gamification and other things to appeal to people’s addiction centers so they stay on their sites for longer)

Before this mailing list, I assume there would’ve been Usenet forums, and maybe an IRC channel for these sorts of discussion, but I didn’t join until after 2005, when I started my master’s degree.

And I know there used to be mailing lists from professional forums — ASIS&T, ALA, SLA (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days), so maybe there are still groups there.

(I don’t even remember how I found code4lib… it might’ve been through someone at ASIS&T, it might’ve been because I saw mention of it online as I think I found perl4lib first, and they weren’t very active)
 

> 3. Is any of this about Code4Lib specifically, about libraries
> specifically, about coding and tech specifically… or is this just a symptom
> of larger phenomena? What phenomena?


I think it’s a few things— code4lib (not simply the mailing list) serves a niche, but there are now more focused niches within the community, so this becomes a catch-all group for technology within libraries that doesn’t have a more specific home, and that possibly doesn’t get answered quickly via other channels (slack or whatever people are using)

Many people have moved away from email, as others have mentioned.  Most of us now get flooded with spam.  Of course, I hear that the same thing happens on Facebook, but Facebook has people to try to tune the algorithm to give you just enough reward that you put up with it.

Not seeing the data, I can’t say it there might be any bias in it, but I think it would also be worthwhile to try to analyze ‘discussion’ vs ‘announcements’.  I don’t know how difficult it would be to look at job postings, or only threads that had a reply to them.  I suspect that ‘discussions’ have likely decreased even more significantly than would be shown by looking at overall traffic.

(And then how much has ‘too posting’ affected things if you analyze by word count?  People are much less likely to trim what they’re replying to these days because the mail clients put your cursor up top when replying)

-Joe

Ps.  I actually met Eric in person many years ago… I think it was at a DCC meeting in Chicago  (Found out he just went by ‘Eric Morgan’, so I assume the ‘Lease’ is an artifact of his school’s mailing system policies)

Pps.  I’ve only been to one code4lib conference, in DC a few years back, but it was after I stopped working full time.

Ppps.  And now that I quit my job, I still watch through the job postings, trying to decide if I want to get back in or not.  (There was a JWST support position that went by this week, but I don’t know if I’ve burned too many bridges at NASA and AURA, and if that’s going to be too close to the environment that triggered me to quit)

Sent from a mobile device with a crappy on screen keyboard and obnoxious "autocorrect"

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