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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
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David Botton <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Sun, 27 Aug 2000 21:57:10 -0400
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Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
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Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
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<[log in to unmask]> from "David Botton" at Aug 27, 2000 03:36:43 PM
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[said David]
> > As for the SIGAda talk, specifically which talk?
> > Have you contacted the
> > speaker to bring him or her up to date?
>
> The speaker was aware, but it is unimportant. I was
> only pointing out that I find in the small community
> we have that there is small effort to bring together
> the scarce resources we have and that there seems to
> be reluctance on the acceptance of _new_ things in to
> the camp.

I don't think it's reluctance as much as it is, simply,
not focusing on it. I've been in this community a long
time and find mostly that people are busy and can only
spend X much time on "volunteer work".

> If I was burning up from the incident, I
> certainly would have said something at least privately
> to that individual (I've never been called shy).

OK.
>
> > AdaPower is a great website, but I don't remember
> > David's asking
> > anyone's permission to set up yet another site
>
> Actually, I did ask. Before I created AdaPower (or at
> that time the Ada Source Code Treasury), I first
> posted messages on comp.lang.ada about it (no one
> directed me to Team-Ada to ask there also, and I was
> still new to the scene). EVERY step of AdaPower's
> growth has been directly through community involvement
> and requested or perceived need.

I was sort of kidding about the permission thing. But perhaps
you realize now that there are many Ada fans (myself included)
who don't (anymore) include c.l.a. on their reading list.
>
> > instead of building
> > it as a section of (say) SIGAda, which already has a
> > large site at
> > ACM and would, I'm sure, have hosted this one. I
> > think the same goes
> > for AdaIC/ARA.
>
> My idea, and yours as expressed to me once in an
> e-mail (funny you should use this argument here), is
> that there should be many different Ada sites. I have
> always believed that having additional _functioning_
> Ada web sites gives a larger impression of our
> community living and growing (AdaHome has been dead
> for many years now and a site to take its place in the
> eye of the public was very badly needed, thus The Ada
> Source Code Treasury became AdaPower). AdaPower was
> born from need and with much discussion. Mostly on
> comp.lang.ada, although some things have been born out
> from the Team-Ada list, and now frequently from its
> various chat boards and e-mail lists.

I quite agree. I have no problem with their being lots of
sites, and couldn't prevent it even if I wanted to. But it's
just unrealistic to expect everyone to know about everything,
so you (and Tom Moran, for example) have to be a bit patient
and not too quick to complain about "balkanization". We cannot
have it both ways: if we are going to be decentralized, we
can't complain too much about not seeing every site mentioned
on every other site or in every news article or in every
conference talk.

I don't believe anyone is trying to freeze out AdaPower
or any other resources; I just think not everyone knows about
everything.

(If you think there's anything more deliberate than that out
there, let's discuss that on the side.)
>
> > SIGAda and ARA are the two biggest Ada organizations
> > (at least in the
> > US), but obviously cannot (and probably should not)
> > prevent others
> > from setting up their own websites.
>
> Unlike AdaPower, I never saw advertisements on the
> SigAda site for people to set up shop their own sites
> and services. Perhaps if I had in those days seen such
> an advertisement, I would have considered it. Neither
> site has ever to my knowledge tried to prevent others
> from creating websites, but neither have they
> encouraged it or supported it.

Well, SIGAda is a membership organization that's built around
Working Groups (WGs). The website is organized that way. I
think if any group had proposed (for example) a Linux WG to the
elected board, it probably would have been accepted (still
would, I think).

It's true that SIGAda does carry an annual dues, which
is $25/year, not a horrible amount. It _used_ to be true that
one had to join ACM to join a SIG, and enough people complained
about that policy that ACM changed it.
>
> I am hardly a rebel. I am and have been a member of
> SigAda (and ACM for that matter) and certainly
> encourage others to join. I wouldn't be doing
> tutorials and a talk for bubkis if not my belief in
> strengthening the organization and community as a
> whole.

Hey, I didn't mean to offend or imply that you weren't doing
your part - you and AdaPower have made a big contribution to
the community. But just as there were things you didn't know
about SIGAda, there are people in SIGAda who might not hang out
on the net and do not know about you.
>
> AdaPower is not an organization. It is a resource for
> Ada Developers. It is an important complement to
> SigAda and I doubt any one would like to see it go
> away soon.

I agree.
>
> > Anyway, let's all try to publicize the resources we
> > have as widely
> > as we can. That's the most that can be expected.
>
> Exactly and all that is expected :-)
>
> > Nobody is in charge
> > of this community; I don't think we'd want it any
> > other way. (In a
> > sense, the government used to think it was "in
> > charge" of Ada - did
> > that help?)
>
> In charge no, but I would like to see SigAda take more
> of a leadership role in not just advertising Ada to
> the out side world, but with in the Ada community
> (on-line and off). There are many great public Ada
> projects going on, a little time spent seeing who are
> the movers and shakers (ie. the future) and recruiting
> them and their ideas would be time well spent. Things
> are changing and it would be good for SigAda to be on
> top of it.

Well, keep in mind that SIGAda may be an organization, in name,
but it is really just a bunch of volunteers. Nobody gets paid
a dime, and the most we get from our employers is some time
to go to conferences. So when you say "SIGAda should...", it
would help if you tried to suggest a mechanism for this to happen.
SIGAda is not a "thing", it's just a bunch of people. The union
of all our knowledge is probably all of Ada and its world,
but we cannot expect everyone to know everything.

Much of the discussion you desire goes on at the annual conference.
We netheads may think it all ought to happen here on the net,
but not everyone agrees or feels like spending as much time
online as we do.

BTW - SIGAda has four sources of income:

- annual dues - at $25. apiece this doesn't go very far, as a lot
  just goes into publishing AdaLetters, which members still seem
  to like in paper form.

- income from the conference - a SIGAda conference is not LinuxWorld.
  There's a little surplus, but not a whole lot.

- a few institutional sponsors - see the inside cover of AdaLetters.

- a small amount of funding from ARA.

This is not a high-profit operation - it really does depend on
volunteers.
>
> Being relatively new to SigAda and SigAda '99, I spent
> most of my time observing how things worked. I admit
> that I am still in the dark about SigAda operations
> and organization even after being a member for two
> years now.

Well, the organization (officers, WGs) is laid out on the
SIGAda website, linked from "SIGAda Organizational
Information." All the officers, etc., are given there.

http://www.acm.org/sigada

> Basic stuff, like when are elections held,

Good question - I never remember this myself...

I think it would be a good idea to post the SIG by-laws on the
web. I'll pass this idea on, or you can do it.

> general meetings, how do workgroups work and operate.

Each WG has its own culture. Some are quite active, others quiet,
others exist in name only.

> None of this is up on the SigAda web site.

Are you sure? I just checked the site and found quite a lot of
info. Obviously there is never enough info, and there are always
good ideas for more, but what's there is a pretty good start
and saying "none" is going too far.

> I am
> certainly willing to work at improving things as much
> in the organization as I have out of the organization.
> Is there a list where SigAda discussions take place? I
> certainly would have joined it long ago.

On the website is a list of 23 mailing lists associated with
the SIG, including sigada-talk and team-ada. Interestingly,
I forgot about sigada-talk myself. Subscription info is
given on that page of the site.

THe general attitude has been that as an ACM group, we should
try to use ACM services where possible. I wish ACM focused on
having the most up-to-date list services, but they still use
listserv so there's no web interface.

(Don't get me started on ACM's IT services; this is a case of
the shoemaker's children going barefoot.)

SIGAda does have an open business meeting (forum, whatever) each
year at the conference. That's small consolation for those
who don't or can't go to the meetings. Some of the officers
read team-ada and c.l.a., but not all. They're friendly people,
though, and their e-mail addresses are given on the website.

> David Botton
>
Mike Feldman

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