TPU ChatChat on IRC
Internet Relay Chat?
Java Applet client
Who's on IRC?
Doubts about plans for TPU
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at September 23, 2002, 10:04:42 PM I've been thinking about the plans for getting TPU on track that I've mentioned here and partially implemented. (I point out here as a simple statement of fact that no one else seems to want to do anything active towards this end.) The problem that occurs to me, and has kept resurging over and over throughout the years, is that the sorts of things we're spending time planning have nothing to do with the sorts of things that made TPU a great organization in its heyday.
I'm really feeling less and less like having TPU cater at all towards people who find learning programming hard enough to not be able to learn from resources found elsewhere. Certainly, such people were not involved in "Golden Age" TPU, and we had a very flourishing environment then. We had Interest Groups "back in the day," but I don't think they ever did anything but accumulate member names. The only exception I can think of is the "Codename: Flash" project, which was affiliated with the DJGPP interest group, but there wasn't really a reason that interested parties couldn't form that project without an interest group behind it. Any "old-timers" reading this may want to correct my memories of the past.
The primary thing we had going then was enthusiasm. We had lots of people who wanted to be on IRC and talk about programming and other things. We had lots of people who wanted to be ambitious and join projects they would never finish. We _didn't_ have a web infrastructure like this one that makes setting up impressive looking facades and then never doing anything real an easy task.
So.... I'm thinking it might be a good idea to forget about the Interest Groups and try to get some projects going, projects supported by as little automatically generated content as possible. Another possibility is that, with the sizable number of regulars that we have here, we could find someone to run some kind of themed contest, IRC event, etc., every week (or other time interval) to generate interest and build a community like the thriving one in days of old.
I think the primary things to shoot for are just to get enough people interested in programming hanging out in #tpu (and perhaps frequenting these message boards, but these will _never_ be a substitite for IRC) and joining together to work on projects. I think it would be best if TPU itself didn't provide resources for projects, because setting up a web page at sourceforge, etc., encourages people to get more involved with the project, and also sets up a small entry cost to discourage the most frivolous proposals.
Another issue that diego's questions about "Volunteer Coordinators" bring to mind is the danger of getting distracted by pointless structure and hierarchy. Here I made up an arbitary term to designate people who could control what exercises show up on the LG pages, and now it becomes a small scale debate. I want TPU to have as flat a structure and as much participation by everyone as equals as possible. I hope everyone else feels the same way. Everyone hanging out on #tpu on Freenode with no ops is a pretty good realization of this ideal. =)
It may be a problem with the commercialization of the Internet, society in general, etc., that people today are less willing to engage with an organization like TPU as an equal, contributing member. Whatever the case, I think we should do everything we can to surmount that problem.
Reactions? Ideas? Volunteers? I'm going to start e-mailing everyone who visits the site regularly but never posts if I don't get some feedback here. =)
Those of you who joined us in 1998 or later may want to look at these archives of the first TPU web sites:
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at September 23, 2002, 10:47:39 PM I have thought the same sorts of things on occassion..
Now that's out of the way - I agree that IRC should be TPU's main medium - real-time true interactivity is a good thing, with these message boards being not anywhere near as good.
However, there is a fairly high barrier to entry for IRC; it is not uncommon to have several hours with no conversation. Every now and then, someone pops up, says "hello", says hello again 5 minutes later, than goes away. If it was easier to idle at all hours and know when conversation is happening, this might be avoided.
So my solution: We should write a TPU irc client, to run on windows (but hopefully be reasonably portable). This IRC client would have two parts, one a notification window and the other the main IRC window. The notification window would live in the system tray, or might perhaps be a small (emphasis on small) window that lives on one of the edges of the screen. This window would do something moderately invasive, but still not invasive enough to disturb ones work, whenever some discussion was happening in #tpu (but only if the irc window was not already visible!) - it might flash, for instance. The main IRC client (which might, foreseeably, actually be a modified x-chat or scripted mirc) could be opened with the notification window. This way, people can idle for hours on IRC without having an IRC window to worry about - it would just be there in the same way that an ICQ, MSN, or AOL window is.
That should let us get people to IRC. Other than agreeing with everything that Psion said, I have no further thoughts to present.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 23, 2002, 10:58:33 PM As an addendum to buzgub message:
buzgub suggested something useful but what he didn't know was that mIRC (at least, the 6.01 version I use but I know it was the case for some earlier version) can configured to be minimized to the system tray in Windows.
Just check the Tray section in the Display options in mIRC. You'll find: "Place mIRC in tray when minimized" and if you set the "Flashing" (in the system menu of the channel window you want) option, the mIRC icon in the system tray will blink when something will happen.
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 01:48:35 AM Getting some projects going would be kinda nice (even though they never finish).
Also you might not want to force people to "sign up" to a project (except maybe the coordinators if there is going to be anything like that), since that somehow forces people to work - just let 'em contribute some little piece of code to it.
I belive that's also the main reason nothing ever happened with the LG/IG's. Noone knew what to do there :/
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 09:22:13 AM [NB: There are probably numerous english error in this message. If something is not clear because of my lousy english, don't hesitate to ask me to rephrase it on the forum or on IRC]
I also believe that getting some projects going (even if they get nowhere). Those projects could be 'sponsored' by TPU and be clearly linked to it. For example, if a project ever reach a working version and is publish on Freshmeat.net, there should be a clear link with TPU... That's the kind of discreet advertisement we need.
But on the other hand, I believe that limiting TPU to #tpu on IRC is a very BAD idea. Many people will never ever want to come to IRC unless there is some kind of formal meeting or something... IRC is fundamentally non-productive and most of the time, the people that actually have a life rarely likes to hang-out on IRC for unless there is a good reason.
Based on this, I believe TPU should be EVERYWHERE it can. I remember in the old days when ICQ was still a innocent IM program, there was some kind of TPU ICQ group. The group was not very popular and eventually became unused but I believe it's that kind of small things that may eventually link more people to TPU.
I don't know much about the services the other IM clients out there provides (I only use MSN) but I think most of the clients out there provide some kind of group service.
USENET might also be a good place to advertise on but I'm not sure this network is very favored by young people.
We should also find a way to show our presence on email as some people only use this.
On IRC, buzgub objected that this would only split content. But what content? Like Psion likes to say, TPU as always been more about people than about content. I think every teens on the Internet have their own prefered way of showing their online presence and TPU should be everywhere geeky teens are.
All we need now is few people with a precise assigment on a particular online service (Few on ICQ, few on MSN, few on AIM, etc.) to seach and reach people where they prefer to hang-out.
The website and IRC should still be the heart of the group, but TPU should have roots EVERYWHERE.
Posted by taubz [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 09:30:14 AM I agree with Psion in spirit, but you can't make people want to hang out in IRC and form groups. Picking out from what Psion said, in order to shift TPU in that direction, the audience of this website must be changed from "anyone in need of programming help" to "teens really interested in what they can do with programming." The IGs, member creations (because they're low level), and resource links should all go, and the front page of this site would need to be updated to clearly indicate that our audience is high-level and/or highly motivated.
On the other hand, since I'm not a teen, I don't feel that my opinion should count for much. But, if the teens here agree with that premise, then those are the steps I suggest TPU take.
This site is good for what it does -- answering basic questions. The core members of this site (anyone reading this thread) must come together and decide on what TPU's mission should be.
So, my counter question is: In one sentence, what do you think TPU's audience and mission/goal is?
Posted by diegoeskryptic [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 09:48:14 AM After all this shit... I summurized it to this (psion):"It may be a problem with the commercialization of the Internet, society in general, etc., that people today are less willing to engage with an organization like TPU as an equal, contributing member. Whatever the case, I think we should do everything we can to surmount that problem." And I would have to agree that this site has become more and more diluted with stuff that is not related to programming... And the IRC's dont make it any better, All i hear about in there is communism and other dumb shit.. so therefore Im all for contributing with projects... now where do we start?....
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 11:27:18 AM taubz, I think even with only 5 people starting out who agreed with that purpose (and everyone else shown the door), we would be better off than how we are now. I think the strength of the idea and community can bring in many additional people.
I've already said that I'm not too keen on IG's, but they aren't newbie-related by their very natures. Resources links aren't a _negative_ thing to have as long as they aren't stressed. Member sites are just fun to be able to browse.
You may remember that I added a page of text shown to each new member who signs up, explaining what TPU is and isn't about and suggesting how to get started. I also added a warning on the pre-sign-up page summarizing topics unwelcome at TPU. This should be just as good or better than any alternative. We would just update these to fit the philosophy we choose.
One sentence mission: TPU exists to help teens interested in programming for the fun of it to meet, work together, and learn. That's not very different from the description you'll find in web directories everywhere from when I submitted TPU to a bunch in 1998 or so. :P
diego: You sound like the typical person who has hardly any experience with realtime chatting on the Internet. There is no such thing as "on topic"/"off topic". Everything contributes to a community and makes it a friendlier place to talk about the ostensible topic when it comes up.
I like Neumann's ideas as well! I remember that, at one time, there was an ICQ groups system available, but that the server only ran in Windows NT. =(
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 12:39:59 PM My idea is to use things as they already provided. ICQ groups didn't need required anything else than ICQ and a web browser. That service may have changed since that but I believe it still exists. We should use the huge popularity of instant messenging to our advantage...
MSN forums might also be a fine place, MSN chats, AIM group, AOL (eh! they must have something usable). We should all brainstorm about everything we could use to extend TPU presence on the net.
Also, when I said there should be people dedicated to each online service, I thought about peoples that already use the service. If anyone in TPU is using MSN forums or ICQ groups, he could be responsible of TPU in that sector... That would keep the structure as light as possible.
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 01:03:58 PM I think we should maybe use those methods to attract peole, but once their attracted, move them over toIRC - I think it is best if we keep things centralised.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 01:19:33 PM RDD: I agree it would be best to keep them all in one place but I'm 100% sure that any attempt to bring the majority of the interrested people on IRC will fail. Only a minority of people will ever come on IRC. Using FreeNode as our choice network doesn't help as most people prefer to hang-out on a single server and disregard mIRC hability to connect to multiple servers (oh joy). And we all know that FreeNode doesn't include the all-too-popular non-geeky channels like #teens or #sex and all the others :P So no, I don't believe IRC is the solution.
Unless of course, we decide that TPU stay limited to the elitist geeks hanging out on #tpu...
I think the best thing would be to look for people where they are instaed of trying to drag them out and bring them on IRC. Members that don't want to come on IRC might like to get involved in some project online or simply represent TPU in their own place. They will stay valuable members even if they never hang out on #tpu for more than 5 minutes.
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 01:22:56 PM I meant IRC as in use one single real time chat area, it doesn't necessarily have to be IRC.
And #tpu isn't made up purely of "elitist geeks". There are trainee geeks in there too.
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 01:26:09 PM and keep the message boards here! (is nothing else, they are fun to read)
projects would probably help the "teens really interested in what they can do with programming" - part, since with projects one can experiment and have fun. You also see what people contribute to them and (thus) are interested. [it also covers the part where "TPU exists to help teens interested in programming for the fun of it to meet, **work together**, and learn"]
Also, i don't mind helping "newbies" (remeber there is nothing called an "stupid question", just a stupid answere) as long as they seem to be interested in what they ask and don't ask out of sheer lazyness.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 01:28:52 PM Trainee geeks can also be elitists :P
#tpu should/will stay the center of TPU whatever we decide to do. I agree on that. But we must realize that it will only drag a minority of members. Unless we decide that's too bad for them, I think IRC shouldn't be our only communication channel. TPU.org is the front page of what is decided on IRC.
Posted by diegoeskryptic [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 02:24:53 PM "diego: You sound like the typical person who has hardly any experience with realtime chatting on the Internet. There is no such thing as "on topic"/"off topic". Everything contributes to a community and makes it a friendlier place to talk about the ostensible topic when it comes up."
First off, I could give 2 $#!TS about what you think I sound like in a realtime chat. Secondly, if there is no such thing as on topic/off topic, then why did you implement that locked thread policy?
IN the previous forum you say
"We have people here who see a thread with lots of messages and go post something else into it just to "get in on the action." This is to avoid that."
Now you say "...everything contributes to a community and makes it a friendlier place to talk about the ostensible topic when it comes up."
what are you really trying to avoid? If everything contributes then that policy should not be implemented in such a way...
Posted by Linux_Penguin [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 02:27:38 PM Well I think that I qualify as a "geek in training" and I do find that over the period of time that I have been at TPU there have been many schemes and plans on getting things back to the "golden age". Cleaning things up is a great idea and also IRC is totally optional, go if you want otherwise don't it should be totally up to you... there are people that either don't want to or cannot spend all of their time there. Also I don't think to many of us have a broadband connection I for one do not, so I could not idle in #tpu for hours at a time (although I am sure that I have).
Thats all I can think of for now but I am sure I left out something...
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 02:29:39 PM diego: There is a major difference between realtime chatting on IRC and online web forums.
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 04:35:24 PM diego, as Neumann said, IRC is far less permanent. You don't clutter up a web site forever by discussing things there.
Posted by gian [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 06:18:07 PM Also, you can happily ignore things on IRC that don't concern you.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 06:20:19 PM For the love of God please don't base this website at all on that IRC channel.
Posted by gian [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 06:35:41 PM Why not? #tpu is a really good channel, that has at times embodied all the qualities we want TPU as an organization...
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 06:40:44 PM Couldn't the same qualities be replicated on other media, forums, web things all around there?
Posted by mop [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 06:42:10 PM I have never heard programming talk that wasn't my own there. And I have always been insulted for it.
Posted by gian [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 06:50:26 PM mop, TPU is a community of Teen Programmers! We have lives outside of programming too, and #tpu is a place to socialize... Being "on topic" is irrelivant. What you had for breakfast is just as important as how to do pointers in C++...
Posted by mop [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 08:11:40 PM "I think the primary things to shoot for are just to get enough people interested in programming hanging out in #tpu (and perhaps frequenting these message boards, but these will _never_ be a substitite for IRC)"
But we should have more focus on answering programming related questions at least..
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 09:01:56 PM I don't think so. That was never a focus before recent years.
Posted by Linux_Penguin [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 09:52:52 PM I have had plenty of help on IRC with programming related questions... but yes I guess that sometimes it COULD be a little more into programming, but then again sometimes it couldn't... I guess what Im trying to say is #tpu just needs to have some kind of change but I am not sure what exactly.
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 10:23:56 PM If you want #tpu to talk about programming, then pop in and start a conversation on programming -- We won't stop you. The people in #tpu will generally talk about anything that interests them, and there's no reason why you should be an exception.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at September 24, 2002, 11:21:45 PM Thats never been the case with me..
"I don't think so. That was never a focus before recent years. "
Then whats the point of this website?
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 07:03:28 AM mop, unfortunately, the website has degenerated to that because pretty much _no_one_ but me wants to do anything but act "as a consumer." This isn't a company trying to sell you something. People need to volunteer to do things for this to be a thriving community.
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 07:30:52 AM I'll volenteer as GameDev Coordinator and C++ coordinator ^^
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 08:12:37 AM I'm not really sure what I could volunteer for? I also think that it's normal we get questions about programming since TPU is Teen PROGRAMMER Unite... When someone new enters here he probably expects we are a bunch of geek that will willingly answer his immediate questions about programming. Some few real people want to hang-out on a geek site, they rarely ever come back...
Posted by taubz [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 09:22:55 AM Mop: "Then whats the point of this website?"
Wrong question, IMO. What do you, mop, want to be the goals of TPU, and then does this website facilitate those goals?
Posted by jay_dee [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 09:25:31 AM Unless they are geeks also.
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 12:10:40 PM I'd voluteer, but I'm not experienced enough to do anything of value. Is this pages web engine still run on Servlets or did Psion change over to ML.
#tpu: Why not write our own server that will accept connections from multiple networks simultaneously and push everything into a single stream, which can then be resent over all the various networks. Or would that be impossible, or so hard that it wouldn't be worth it. I would like to do that, but I wouldn't have a clue where to start so I couldn't
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 25, 2002, 12:33:25 PM rdd: It's not worth it. We should follow the simplest path possible.
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at September 26, 2002, 03:18:50 AM rdd, that's not worthwhile. If we wanted something similar, we could just set up more eggdrops. It's easy enough to get clients that can do multiple servers that it's reasonable to expect people to have one. The website is still using devlocus/tea/java.
Posted by unknown_lamer [send private reply] at September 26, 2002, 08:31:10 AM Why use Eggdrops when you could use Bobot++, a bot maintained by a member of TPU...it wouldn't be terribly difficult to adapt Bobot++ to new protocols, just rewrite Server and ServerQueue (I'm trying to figure out how to make the bot as independent of IRC as possible right now).
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 26, 2002, 08:32:45 AM Good plug unknown_lamer... but I don't believe we are gonna do it anyway...
Posted by mop [send private reply] at September 26, 2002, 08:57:22 AM But we would be programming in a project, sounds like a good "this is what TPU does" thing to me.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at September 26, 2002, 09:05:11 AM This thread also deteriorated... we need to come up with a solution or decide on Statu-quoe (sp?)
Register as a new user