CodeWalrus

CodeWalrus Website => Site Discussion => Site News & Announcements => Topic started by: Juju on February 14, 2018, 12:42:33 am

Title: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Juju on February 14, 2018, 12:42:33 am
Well, you might have noticed the pink notice at the top of the page.

Quote from: xlibman
Dear visitors and members, with the staff having moved on to other life interests and as a result of changes in people's internet usage habits, the CodeWalrus community have migrated almost entirely to Discord, IRC and WalrusIRC and is now essentially a place where to hang out, chat about gaming, programming, music, anime, and chill. As a result, even though the CW forums will remain open for posting, for faster TI, Casio or HP calculator help and news we recommend using the bilingual TI-Planet forums (https://www.tiplanet.org/) instead.

We encourage everyone to join our Discord server now (https://discord.gg/cuZcfcF).

Yeah. Let's face it, posting is quite low these days and none of the admins have motivation nor time to even write this post to manage and improve this site other than the minimal moderation and maintainance, so yeah, we'll still give it minimal maintainance for the time being until things get better or it just becomes a ghost town. (Which we hope not.)

Don't panic, though. It's still going to be the fun place to hang around and share your projects as long as there's any people here, on the forums or on IRC/Discord. It's just that, if you have a question, don't expect an answer right now, if you don't get it you might as well try again on TI-Planet. (Yes, they speak English, don't worry.)

Of course, that doesn't mean we won't throw some events once in a while, we might do that actually, so stay tuned for further announcements! Until then, I dunno, invite your friends, and feel free to give us some suggestions, we might actually consider them :)
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Caleb Hansberry on February 16, 2018, 05:38:08 am
I suppose you're right.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: xlibman on February 26, 2018, 06:22:31 pm
Note: Our Discord server will also remain available for use via IRC and WalrusIRC at #CodeWalrus on EFnet, along with some of the sub-channels that already exists. However, remember that from time to time, the bot that relays IRC and Discord conversations doesn't work properly (Discord messages will fail to send to IRC/WIRC in such scenario), so using Discord is recommended.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: 123outerme on February 26, 2018, 11:43:36 pm
It's really unfortunate how interaction has gone down. I thought it would just be down for the summer since nobody thinks about school supplies then, but we're in the dead center of the school year and it's still not very active :(
I'm doing my best to promote activity, though. I'm posting as much as I can without mindless commenting and I'm still updating Gateway to Legend in the topic I have for it!
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: gameblabla on February 27, 2018, 02:03:29 am
It's still a good place to post projects (which IRC & Discord are not suited for) but other than that, it does not entice to activity. (at least the medium)
Too bad that we pretty much switched to something proprietary like Discord but the open source alternatives have their own quirks too.

That and calculators are pretty much dead thanks to legislation.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: TheLastMillennial on February 27, 2018, 04:03:13 am
Oh I missed this! I guess I'm part of the problem.  :-\
This seems like a great place, I hope CW eventually picks up again in the future!
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: _iPhoenix_ on February 27, 2018, 10:19:54 pm
I saw the new message :(

Don't let CW die :/
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Juju on February 27, 2018, 10:26:09 pm
Well, we're still here~
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Caleb Hansberry on February 28, 2018, 03:13:51 am
Yeah I'm here too :) I was always a rather reserved poster though...
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: DarkestEx on March 01, 2018, 03:56:51 pm
I wonder what led to the decline of activity.
The stats are indeed quite sad to watch and now that many of the original people left, it might have put even more people off. We're at about 10% of the usual activity now, which is quite scary.
But Discord isn't and will never be a viable replacement for a forum. It's also, as already mentioned by gameblabla, a commerical service, with no gurantees in long-term availability and there's no control over the code.
Hopefully CW will recover again. Omni seems to be completely dead by now, considering that you can often see messages that are 1 day or older in OmnomIRC.
And Cemetech does not appear to be all that active anymore, even though it's still a lot busier.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Caleb Hansberry on March 02, 2018, 04:55:05 am
It must have something to do with the society around graphing calculators. The forums were always supported by mostly bored students with a few experts, but they aren't coming like they used to. Is the graphing calculator in the classroom dying, or are students just not curious about pushing the abilities of graphing calculators anymore with all the newer tech?
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: DarkestEx on March 02, 2018, 06:45:16 am
It must have something to do with the society around graphing calculators. The forums were always supported by mostly bored students with a few experts, but they aren't coming like they used to. Is the graphing calculator in the classroom dying, or are students just not curious about pushing the abilities of graphing calculators anymore with all the newer tech?
It may very well be that they are on their way out.
As previously mentioned, Germany ditched them and some other countries are switching to boring tablets.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: gbl08ma on March 02, 2018, 10:48:58 am
I think graphing calcs are much less of an appealing platform for development and for teaching programming than they were a decade ago.

- Recent models are more restrictive than ever in order to comply with new exam regulations, and in some countries said regulations have done away with graphing calculators entirely;

- A decade ago, when we weren't in "everyone has a smartphone"-era, calculators were the only affordable and relatively common handheld platform where development could be made on the device itself. Nowadays, everyone who buys a graphing calculator most likely also has a smartphone. Naturally, people wonder "how can I make smartphone apps and games?" before they even wonder "how can I build calculator games?". I think you all agree that a smartphone offers way more possibilities while still having the handheld form factor (just think of all the I/O of a smartphone that is missing on most calculators: sensors, radios, speakers...), with the plus of being so much more commonplace (which is very appealing for beginners who are heavily motivated by the fact that billions of people will be able to play their game/use their app). As for programming on-the-go, you can write scripts and run them on a smartphone, or even compile code, and you get to use a (small) QWERTY keyboard and not an awkward calculator keyboard;

- People looking to play with embedded systems programming, for example because they find the idea of developing software for machines with few resources appealing, there's all the IoT stuff (from RasPis to Arduinos to ESPs) which is way more beginner-friendly than any calculator platform (and has the benefit of appealing to people who like to tinker building physical, hardware stuff), and there are also all the retro game consoles and handhelds, like the Gameboy;

- "But you can't bring a smartphone to exams!" I got into Prizm development largely because of the appeal of "cheating" on tests. I never really "cheated" much but I must say it was quite appealing to be able to run my own code, my own software, in a context where you are supposedly deprived of much computing aid. However, going back to my first point... new exam regulations mandate the introduction of exam modes and similar stuff which makes it notably more difficult to run your own stuff during exams - to the point where doing so would definitely, beyond any doubt, be considered cheating and one would face serious consequences if caught. If I was buying a graphing calculator today, with the new regulations in place, I would most likely never have much interest in building software for it;

- Most tech depreciates and becomes a commodity over time. Again, smartphones: you can find models at any price point from $50 (or less!) to $1000+. However, graphing calculators have, for the reasons we all know about, kept their prices (or even slightly increased them!) unless you buy used. The fact that calcs are perceived as being an expensive thing makes people fear "breaking" them, and sometimes with good reasons (yes, I, too, have bricked my Prizm once...). And they are not just any "expensive item", they are something you need for school and thus can't afford to go without. This obviously disincentivizes exploration of the calculator platforms.

Now, if you don't mind, some thoughts on forums as a discussion medium. Some months ago, I posted this lengthy post at Cemetech (https://www.cemetech.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=262817#262817). Much of what I said there was specific to the Cemetech topic in question and Cemetech itself, but there are some thoughts there that apply to any forum:

Quote
I feel that since a few years ago, with the rise of discussion platforms more similar to Reddit, Hacker News, StackExchange, etc., as well as with more and more discussion taking place behind walled gardens like Facebook, there are fewer people interested in participating in a "traditional" forum like Cemetech. (I frequent other "traditional" forums and even used to be a moderator at one, and this is something that affects all kinds of forums.) Some communities also started centering more and more around real-time chat services like Slack and Discord. For example, often you'll see that a project on GitHub uses their issue tracker, and besides that, discussion takes place on Slack. Another example: for UnderLX, I'm using a Discord "server" as the only place for discussion, posting changelogs, etc.
I don't participate in them, but I also know there are large communities around programming languages, frameworks, etc. on Slack.

Personally I spend a lot of time on Reddit and Hacker News. However, these types of websites are not good for long-form, ongoing project discussion (for example: on Hacker News, you can do a "Show HN" about your project, and receive feedback, but there's really no way to keep a discussion going on for weeks/months as the project evolves). I think this is one thing Cemetech excels at: a place for people to post development logs of their projects and discuss them in an ongoing fashion that can be easily be read from any point (unlike IRC, Slack or Discord, which as Alex mentioned are hard to catch up to after a few weeks or even days). But for it to be worth posting about a project at Cemetech, there has to be an audience. In this sense, you may become stuck in a catch-22: nobody posts projects because there are not enough people participating; nobody participates, because there are not enough interesting projects.

Finally, I think the graphing calculator communities have always suffered from a serious fragmentation problem, which has become especially acute in the past few years as (due to the reasons I mentioned above) the amount of people participating and the amount of discussion decrease. As much as I hate saying this, because I really like how each community has its own style and quirks, there are too many communities for a topic that is more niche than ever. If I were the king in the world of graphing calculators, I would be forcing a merger, like any sane CEO would. Since that is not possible, perhaps not even desirable, then I "prescribe" Codewalrus exactly what I "prescribed" Cemetech: that you (we) work towards making this a community around discussing and supporting each others' projects and other topics that interest us, and maybe leave graphing calculators in our past, and try to avoid "drama" at all costs. "Drama" confuses newcomers and makes them feel like they don't belong. I have observed this over and over again in multiple forums, including some where I was staff for quite a long time.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Juju on March 03, 2018, 01:00:36 am
Well, yeah. We already kinda felt this back a few years ago when we founded CW. So since the beginning, while our audience was at first the calculator community, we opened ourselves to everything else that might interest one who enjoyed hacking their calculator. But, well, since everyone we invited over here was pretty much from the calculator community and the other forums would also see this problem, once the newness worn off we'd going to see the same problem as well. That was our fear since the beginning. We're becoming stagnant because the whole community is becoming stagnant because, well, more and mpre countries are limiting or even disallowing use of calculators at school, and those who did use calculators don't have any use outside school or maybe engineering. For the most part, we're just hobbyists who were tied to a specific piece of hardware for pretty much fun.

Well, how to solve this, well, we're not sure. Our marketing isn't quite good, but eh, if you can invite friends from other communities here, then that would be pretty nice.

So what's the future? Well, I don't know. We still have a nice user core and I intend to do everything to keep it, even though everyone here moved on. Can we still be considered a calculator site? I don't know either. We still have ties to the other ones, but if we're no longer doing that, where are we going?

Only the future will tell.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Legimet on March 03, 2018, 05:23:47 am
I was never one of the more prolific posters here, but I don't think I've posted here (or worked on any of my projects) in months. For me, it has nothing to do with calculator regulations, I'm just constantly busy with college.

EDIT: Also, graphing calculators are mostly useless to me in college. As opposed to high school, in which the classes were easy and I would sometimes just play games on my calculator.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: gbl08ma on March 03, 2018, 12:48:54 pm
Yeah, I think this highlights another thing: people only have so much free time to dedicate to each community and project, and thus will choose to spend the most time on the stuff they find most rewarding. I would love to have time to participate more actively in CodeWalrus, Cemetech, open source projects I have contributed to like Haiku OS and Sming, participate in more discussions on Reddit and Hacker News, perhaps visit my old friends at the FreeVPS forum once in a while, post more on the Lisbon subway thread at SkyscraperCity, engage more with my Twitter circle, post more on my blog, work at least a couple hours a week on Clouttery, finish the home automation projects I have had going on for years and, on top of all this, keep pursuing my master's degree, keep working on UnderLX, keep maintaining my servers and other websites so they don't go down and aren't breached, play computer games and, last but not least, spend more time with my family and friends.

Even if my days had 240 hours I'm not sure I would have enough time to do all of this. Note that I only listed the things that I find enjoyable and would love to do more often (and I probably forgot some) - I completely skipped over the chores, which also take quite a lot of time, and stuff like eating, sleeping and staying healthy. Of course, people will prioritize activities in their life, and once they have some time free for doing whatever they want, they will naturally choose the activities they instinctively find most appealing/rewarding at that moment, and choose to spend time with the communities they find more interesting or that are more closely related to those activities.

What does this mean for CodeWalrus? I means that, somehow (I have no idea how), if we want to see more activity here, we must become a more appealing/rewarding community for a larger set of people, from existing members to people who find us by chance or are invited here. Personally, I think maintaining an healthy chat/Discord component is very positive, because that way the community appeals to two different kinds of interaction: both real-time, short-lived, mobile-friendly interaction in the form of chat messages, and slow-paced, long-form interaction in the form of forum posts. Many of the subreddits I subscribe to have a Discord server, and I am in some of them (although I rarely if ever look at them, because, again, my days don't have 240 hours). These servers don't seem to have reduced the amount of posts in the respective subreddits (at most, they reduced the amount of low quality posts and offtopic), and thus I believe it's entirely possible to keep an active CodeWalrus forum and an active CodeWalrus chat (which already has a very good thing going for it, which is the fact that it is bridged across multiple services, making it easier for anyone to use their preferred platform).
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Caleb Hansberry on March 05, 2018, 02:24:38 am
If we could somehow advertise to kids in schools we'd have more people, Cemetech does something similar to a small degree.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: _iPhoenix_ on March 05, 2018, 11:30:02 am
If we could somehow advertise to kids in schools we'd have more people, Cemetech does something similar to a small degree.

I could potentially help with that. I think we'd have to publish a calculator programming book, but I don't have the heart to compete with Kerm, because his book is awesome and got me into the calculator community. If more codewalrus people put CW info in their sigs on other calc/programming forums, we might get more traffic.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: DarkestEx on March 05, 2018, 11:53:53 am
If we could somehow advertise to kids in schools we'd have more people, Cemetech does something similar to a small degree.
I could potentially help with that. I think we'd have to publish a calculator programming book, but I don't have the heart to compete with Kerm, because his book is awesome and got me into the calculator community. If more codewalrus people put CW info in their sigs on other calc/programming forums, we might get more traffic.
I hope my new TI84 Mainboard with Raspberry Pi CPU will help the community gain attention again. I will be gross posting this project to casemodder forums.
Also with a more powerful CPU, WiFi and Linux with all it's programming languages will attract more people to code for a monochrome screen with a calculator keypad.
If the project receives enough support, I will manufacture a small batch on preorder basis.
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: Juju on March 06, 2018, 04:18:12 am
If we could somehow advertise to kids in schools we'd have more people, Cemetech does something similar to a small degree.

I could potentially help with that. I think we'd have to publish a calculator programming book, but I don't have the heart to compete with Kerm, because his book is awesome and got me into the calculator community. If more codewalrus people put CW info in their sigs on other calc/programming forums, we might get more traffic.
That's how we gave the word back when we founded the site, actually. That works.

If we could somehow advertise to kids in schools we'd have more people, Cemetech does something similar to a small degree.
I could potentially help with that. I think we'd have to publish a calculator programming book, but I don't have the heart to compete with Kerm, because his book is awesome and got me into the calculator community. If more codewalrus people put CW info in their sigs on other calc/programming forums, we might get more traffic.
I hope my new TI84 Mainboard with Raspberry Pi CPU will help the community gain attention again. I will be gross posting this project to casemodder forums.
Also with a more powerful CPU, WiFi and Linux with all it's programming languages will attract more people to code for a monochrome screen with a calculator keypad.
If the project receives enough support, I will manufacture a small batch on preorder basis.
That would be pretty cool to see here. Maybe Hackaday would run an article about it and link back here, who knows?
Title: Re: Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus
Post by: _iPhoenix_ on March 31, 2018, 11:17:17 pm
I might start doing some projects that I don't cross-post to other forums, users have to come here.


This will cause more users to come here.