[Haskell-cafe] Maintaining the community

James Britt james at neurogami.com
Fri Jul 13 12:42:36 EDT 2007

Donald Bruce Stewart wrote:
 > As we sit here riding the Haskell wave:
 >     http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~dons/tmp/cafe.png
 > with nearly 2000 (!) people reading haskell-cafe@, perhaps its time to
 > think some more about how to build and maintain this lovely Haskell
 > community we have. Just yesterday I received an email:
 >     "I posted it to Haskell-Cafe and received loads of brilliant
 >     responses. Wow, those guys are awesome. I'm definitely going to
 >     learn Haskell now."
 > Which is *exactly* the kind of (view of the) community we want to build
 > and encourage, so we can keep the Haskell project growing into the
 > future.

Hear, hear.

I'm a Haskell newbie.  I've not posted much, but my copy of The Haskell 
School of Expression just arrived from Amazon, and I'm stoked.

 > I think the main thing we need to remember is to help train new experts
 > in the community, to be fluent in the culture, ensuring that expertise
 > and a knowledge of the culture diffuses through the new people arriving.

All important.

I've spent a fair amount of time in the Ruby community.  I got started 
on Ruby around 2001, and found the community welcoming and helpful, even 
when I was asking what were likely many dopey questions.

The general climate was sufficient to make me want to be more involved; 
I went and started ruby-doc.org to do my share to help the community 
grow, and tried to stay active on Ruby lists to help others as I had 
been helped.  This was quite different from my experiences when learning 
other languages. To be fair, I don't really recall to what extent I was 
using  Usenet and discussion groups when learning Perl, PHP, or Java, 
but I don't think there was the same emphasis on niceness and the 
promotion of an explicit community culture.

I think Haskell has a reputation for being "hard", of being a dense, 
academic, egghead language. In short, it's scary.  The more people who 
try it who can report good responses from the community and code success 
stories the more people there will be who can help each batch of newcomers.


James Britt

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