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The Purpose Of A Community

  1. Dec 2, 2006 #1
    Online communities generally have several purposes, in my opinion. There are two that strike me as most important.

    The most obvious and prominent one is to learn through one another, and share information and opinions freely.

    But the other, equally important purpose, is to accomplish something together, as a community. Many communities do a project, where all of the members combine their skills to produce something of material significance.

    We are lacking significantly in purpose, with respect to the latter aspect. There are Distributed-Computing Applications stickied in the Biology forum, but no one seems to be using them. A community of this amazing size could really make an impact if we were all to come together and contribute to one of these projects.

    It would be nice to see the importance of joining a team on one of the Distributed-Computing Applications not under-stated. Also, there is much potential for the Technology and Science divisions to come together and make some useful Applications or Software.

    I'm done with my rant. What's your take?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2006 #2

    FredGarvin

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    I think that the tutoring and support of scientific learning is a common goal and accomplishment. It appears to me that all of the members here do indeed combine their skills to help bring people to a better understanding of things. What can be a better puropse than that? Especially in the US where it is apparent that scientific education is headed in the wrong direction.
     
  4. Dec 2, 2006 #3
    Yes, I agree. That is a fantastic accomplishment of Physics Forums. Its support for new learners is unprecendented beyond any other forum I have ever visited.

    I had considered that more in the realm of the first purpose, however. "The most obvious and prominent one is to learn through one another, and share information and opinions freely."
     
  5. Dec 2, 2006 #4

    Danger

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    As far as I'm concerned, this site is unbelievable in its accomplishments. From a high-school project to the foremost science site on the web is one hell of an achievement.
    The communal spirit is to teach science. A side benefit is that some of us become friends. And there are various levels of those friendships. Some here know my real name. I know the real first and last names of some, the real first names of some others, and only the user names of others. But, we are a community... almost a family. We have our tender moments, and our squabbles, but it all works out. Just because Astronuc and I don't PM each other every ten minutes doesn't mean that we don't consider each other.
    Lie back and get into the PF scene. If it isn't adequate for your needs, then there are probably other places where those can be fulfilled. Just know that you're always welcome here regardless.
     
  6. Dec 2, 2006 #5
    I did not intend for this to sound like a complaint sparked from inadequacies. The focus of this thread is at the bottom of the post. "It would be nice to see the importance of joining a team on one of the Distributed-Computing Applications not under-stated. Also, there is much potential for the Technology and Science divisions to come together and make some useful Applications or Software."
     
  7. Dec 2, 2006 #6

    chroot

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    Sometimes I honestly don't get it, Sane. You really like to complain about the site, but the things you complain about are minute, and the ways you suggest changing them often don't really make any sense.

    Sure, our membership has the potential to work together on a distributed-computing project. We also probably have the potential to write a *****in' game. We might even have the potential to design a pretty successful Martian rover!

    But... that's not what this site is meant to do, even if the people who frequent it could do those things. This site's purpose is to connect people who know things to other people who don't know the same things -- and we do it admirably, in my opinion.

    There are already many websites that recruit users into teams to work on distributed-computing projects. There are already many websites that recruit computer programmers into large-scale, important software projects. (Just browse sourceforge for about, oh, three minutes.) I bet many of our members contribute to those communities, too, but that doesn't mean we should try to duplicate their purposes.

    We are not a Swiss Army knife -- we're an educational forum, a site with one rather well-defined purpose. Diluting the website by having it cater to too many other purposes would only hurt it. If you would like to start sister websites, consider speaking to Greg. If they're relevant enough, they might even get linked at the top of each page.

    - Warren
     
  8. Dec 2, 2006 #7
    I've sent you a personal message regarding the part of your post directed at me.

    For the rest, you're right. A website as large as this would not benefit from having multiple purposes. The reason this got so popular in the first place, is because of what it had to offer. Collaboration belongs in a website intended for such.

    I think you've mistaken the tone of my first post. I'm not the kind to complain, and inversely, not the kind to use "emoticons" to make my posts reflect the tone of voice I'm actually using. :wink:
     
  9. Dec 3, 2006 #8

    Astronuc

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    I have to disagree that PF is lacking in purpose.

    I would simply echo what FredGarvin and Danger mentioned. Assisting students in homework and others in learning, or providing guidance or information on scientific and technical matters is too me a significant accomplishment.

    Beyond the educational aspect, PF enables one to socialize with people who have a common interest and passion for science and life in general. We gather from all over the world, and that is a rich experience. And many people become friends. I already met a couple of PFers in person, and I'm looking forward to meeting many others.
     
  10. Dec 3, 2006 #9
    Yeah...talking 'bout meeting in person. I submitted an abstract for the april 2007 MRS conference. In january i know if i am accepted or not. If so, do we meet in San Francisco, Astronuc (and anybody else) ???

    greets
    marlon
     
  11. Dec 3, 2006 #10

    Astronuc

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    I'll have to see. I'll be pretty busy next year, and actually I'm hoping to be in Europe. It looks like I'll be in England in January.

    Beyond that there is a conference in Oregon in March, and one in Boston during June. The first one, I am planning to attend, but its not mandatory. With respect to the conference in Boston, I'm a member of the steering and technical program committees, in addition to other responsbilities, so I have to be there, and its relatively close to home.

    I don't know if I'll be on the west coast in April, but I might be able to schedule a trip out that way. :biggrin:
     
  12. Dec 3, 2006 #11
    Wow, that's really cool. I've never been to a forum before where people have actually met in person. I've almost been in that situation myself, but am unable to travel these days.

    Unless anyone has anything more to say, a moderator can feel free to delete or lock this thread. My observations are withdrawn.
     
  13. Dec 3, 2006 #12

    chroot

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    If people are meeting up in the bay area, let me know. I'll buy the first round. ;)

    - Warren
     
  14. Dec 3, 2006 #13
    ....Walks in just in time. Did I hear free booze?
     
  15. Dec 4, 2006 #14
    Stupid question by a stupid European guy : where is "bay area" ?

    marlon
     
  16. Dec 4, 2006 #15

    FredGarvin

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    San Francisco.
     
  17. Dec 4, 2006 #16
    OOHH OK.

    CHROOT et al. If all goes well i will be in San Francisco at the end of april in 2007. I will let you know more specific details as soon as i know if i can go (depends on conference admission).

    marlon
     
  18. Dec 4, 2006 #17

    mathwonk

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    stupid question by math type: what is MRS?
     
  19. Dec 4, 2006 #18

    robphy

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    Anyone going to AAPT/AAS Seattle (Jan 07)?
     
  20. Dec 4, 2006 #19

    ZapperZ

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    Materials Research Society - at least, that's what I'm familiar with.

    BTW, if anyone missed the MRS 2006 Fall meeting recently, wait till you find out what you missed - their first ever "Materials" Film Festival! (I kid you not!)

    http://www.nature.com/news/2006/061127/full/061127-14.html

    Zz.
     
  21. Dec 4, 2006 #20
    Good to see everyone found a use for my thread! :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
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