The statement on the actual "code4lib website" (not the Journal's website) can be found here:

I have no idea how old that statement is, or how often it's been changed -- it looks like it's got some stuff added to it at least as a result of recent discussion?  But at any rate, it probably wasn't consensed upon by any large group of people, it's probably somebody at some point thought made sense and put there, and it's stayed there because nobody found it objectionable (possibly because nobody noticed it). 

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I think that's how our community works!  But it means it's not set in stone or anything, or representative of 'everybody', or representative of everyone's thinking.  Particular projects done by code4lib people have particular missions and goals and organizational structures -- "code4lib" in general has none of these things, it's just a bunch of people, nothing more or less.  (With regard to that 'about' statement particularly, if you want to change the 'about' there, draw up a draft, get feedback from others on it, install it when general consensus seems to be reached. It sounds like some people may have been doing that recently, although perhaps they skipped the "tell folks you're changing it and get feedback" step. :) )

But anyway, here's the 'about' statement on the actual code4lib website. (Personally, I would not refer to code4lib as a "collective", as 'collective' to me means more of a cohesive organization with defined membership; I'd call it a 'community'). 

code4lib isn't entirely about code or libraries. It is a volunteer-driven collective of hackers, designers, architects, curators, catalogers, artists and instigators from around the world, who largely work for and with libraries, archives and museums on technology "stuff." It started in the fall of 2003 as a mailing list when a group of library programmers decided to create an overarching community agnostic towards any particular language or technology.

Code4Lib is dedicated to providing a harassment-free community experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. For more information, please see our emerging CodeofConduct4Lib.

code4lib grew out of other efforts such as the Access Conference, web4lib, perl4lib, /usr/lib/info (2003-2005, see and oss4lib which allow technology folks in libraries, archives and museums to informally share approaches, techniques, and code across institutional and project divides. Soon after the mailing list was created, the community decided to setup a #code4lib IRC channel (chat room) on freenode. The first face-to-face meeting was held in 2005 in Chicago, Illinois, USA and the now-annual conference started in 2006 in Corvallis, Oregon, USA, and has continued since. Local meetings have also sprung up from time to time and are encouraged. A volunteer effort manages an edited online journal that publishes relevant articles from the field in a timely fashion.

Things get done because people share ideas, step up to lead, and work together, not because anyone is in charge. We prefer to make community decisions by holding open votes, e.g. on who gets to present at our conferences, where to host them, etc. If you've got an idea or an itch to scratch, please join in; we welcome your participation!

If you are interested in joining the community: sign up to the discussion list; join the Facebook or LinkedIn groups; follow us on Twitter; subscribe to our blogs; or get right to the heart of it in the chat room on IRC.

From: Jonathan Rochkind
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 9:02 AM
To: Code for Libraries
Subject: RE: [CODE4LIB] What is a "coder"?

> The mission statement on the code4lib website says "The Code4Lib Journal
> exists to foster community and share information among those interested

I want to clarify that the Code4Lib Journal is a specific project with a specific list of people on it's editorial board. In this way, it's unlike the broader "Code4Lib Community" of which it's a part, which really is a community in the ordinary sense of the word, not a formal organization or project.

The Journal only speaks for the Journal, not for "Code4Lib".  That mission statement is on the Journal website, and is the Journal's mission, as agreed upon by the Journal's founding editorial board; it is not "the code4lib website", the mission statement was agreed upon by nobody other than the Journal's founding editorial board, and it applies to nothing other than the Journal.

(But I don't think I've ever heard ANYONE say that "only coders are welcome at code4lib", I think it's a straw man and I'm not sure why it's being 'debated'.  I just wanted to clear up the relationship between The Code4Lib Journal and it's website to "code4lib".  Perhaps the Journal website needs some more clarifying language on it's website? I think it probably does, hmm.)