Haskell Communities Survey - Call for Contacts (update)

C.Reinke C.Reinke@ukc.ac.uk
Fri, 21 Sep 2001 20:12:58 +0100

First, a big thanks to those of you who immediately volunteered
to act as contact persons to their communities. That means that
five of the areas are already covered.

  *** keep those contact offers coming!-) ***

  *** if you can't cover a whole area, status reports for any of ***
  *** the sub-areas listed can still be a good starting point    ***

To avoid duplication of work, and to remind everyone which areas
are still looking for contact persons, here is my current list
(note that there are more topics covered than contacts;-):

  Generic Programming/Generic Haskell
    [contact: Johan Jeuring]

  Hierarchical library proposal
    [contact: Simon Marlow]

    [contact: Simon Marlow]

  Concurrent Haskell
    [contact: Simon Marlow]

    [contact: Simon Peyton-Jones]

Thanks also for the positive feedback - it seems that many of you
have waited for something in this direction. There have been a
few alternative suggestions as well, all of which could be
pursued, if someone is willing to make a start. So I would like
to pass on those suggestions to the list, with a few comments.

- Tom Pledger points out the inevitable problems of a hierarchical
  structure, and suggests a keyword/phrase glossary instead, with 
  definitions and links to project summaries, tending towards Wiki.

I think Jan Sibinsky had started a nice glossary - unfortunately,
he still seems to be offline? Has someone saved his work? As for
Wikis, I've never been impressed with their apparent inability to
self-organise, but we do have a Haskell Wiki, so everyone is
welcome to prove me wrong there! Other structures for presenting
the information might work (we'll see), but from my experience,
it takes some active prodding and definite goals to get others to
contribute.  Hence the present structure for a start.

- Ketil Malde suggests a web zine, with a group of people
  monitoring and summarising mailing list traffic. I'm not so
  sure about that specific mode (any volunteers out there?), but
I do think that functional programming as a whole would profit
from some kind of magazine-style publication, to bridge between
the academic forums and the increasing number of (would-be)
Haskell practitioners out there who have no need to conform to
academic quality guidelines but would still want a quality
forum more permanent and organised than mailing lists.

Such a magazine would collect, edit and archive contributions
about Haskell (or other FPLs) in practice, how to design, how to
solve all those problems that are not really scientific in
nature, but still need to be solved. I think many academics would
be happy to contribute as well, focussing on their own role as
practitioners. Many of those nice explanations on the mailing
lists would no longer be lost to mailing list archives, and
volunteer (that word again) reporters could write about
interesting projects, events, etc.. That would still need some
good and active editors in place (and twice a year there could be
a special issue on Haskell, including the Haskell communities
report;-). So a Haskell or FP web zine is a good idea, and
complementary to the report we are trying to get together now.

- Last, but certainly not least, Andrei Serjantov supports the
  idea of a separate mailing list for applications of Haskell
  discussions, pointing out that some potential posters to the
  current lists are unsure whether their own questions and
  contributions have any place amongst those highly technical
  discussions about advanced language extensions or recent
  implementation details.

AFAIC, those "other" contributions are welcome as well on the
current lists, but a separate applications list would still
make a lot of sense (I would subscribe).

Just remember that anything good needs volunteers to get things
started (without them, we wouldn't have the language&library
reports, not to speak of implementations). And that means you,
dear reader!-)

I'll be at IFL next week, but keep those contact offers coming!