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Editorial: A small PSA about CodeWalrus

Started by Juju, February 14, 2018, 12:42:33 am

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Juju

Well, you might have noticed the pink notice at the top of the page.

Quote from: xlibmanDear 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 instead.

We encourage everyone to join our Discord server now.


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 :)
Read Zarmina!
YUKI-CHAAAANNNN
In the beginning there was walrii. In the end there will be walrii. All hail our supreme leader :walrii: --Snektron



if you wanna throw money at me and/or CodeWalrus monthly it's here

Caleb Hansberry


DJ Omnimaga

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.

123outerme

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!

gameblabla

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.

TheLastMillennial

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!

Thank you for your time, go make a paradox, have a good day.

_iPhoenix_

Please spam here: https://legend-of-iphoenix.github.io/spam/

"walruses are better than tuxedo chickens, all hail the great :walrii:" ~ me
Evolution of my avatar:

Juju

Read Zarmina!
YUKI-CHAAAANNNN
In the beginning there was walrii. In the end there will be walrii. All hail our supreme leader :walrii: --Snektron



if you wanna throw money at me and/or CodeWalrus monthly it's here

Caleb Hansberry

Yeah I'm here too :) I was always a rather reserved poster though...

DarkestEx

March 01, 2018, 03:56:51 pm #9 Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 04:01:07 pm by DarkestEx
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.

Caleb Hansberry

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?

DarkestEx

Quote from: 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?

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.

gbl08ma

March 02, 2018, 10:48:58 am #12 Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 10:51:25 am by gbl08ma
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. 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:

QuoteI 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.

Juju

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.
Read Zarmina!
YUKI-CHAAAANNNN
In the beginning there was walrii. In the end there will be walrii. All hail our supreme leader :walrii: --Snektron



if you wanna throw money at me and/or CodeWalrus monthly it's here

Legimet

March 03, 2018, 05:23:47 am #14 Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 03:41:45 pm by Legimet
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.

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