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The future of TPU

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 02, 2002, 11:53:44 AM

I haven't been too pleased lately with where the TPU legacy is heading. Its entirety is mostly this web site at this point. To summarize what transpires here, I'd say that most of it is personal and "off-topic" conversations between a few regulars on message boards. There are occasional real questions that don't require a specific "teen" sites for answers, and occasional "i want to program tell me how please" posts that are much better handled by static content, though apparently these people don't care to read the documents on that topic that we already have. People submit their personal site URL's from time to time, and then I think that really includes everything that goes on.

I wonder if there really is a demographic out there anymore like that to which I have always thought TPU is aimed. I'm talking about people who love to code for fun. It de facto excludes people who only learned programming in school, people who want to learn to code to make money, and people who only use simple dynamic web development tools. It never included people who have no programming experience and want help learning everything from the ground up.

So one question is if TPU should really be created for different demographics. Another is if all of the fancy dynamic web site stuff is any help, or if it in fact just distracts people and hides the complete lack of substance of TPU as an organization. We started out with a static web site hosted on a personal ISP account, with all membership changes made by e-mailing one person, who would update the pages. We've had mailing lists, newsgroups, IRC channels, and many other things not web-based. IRC worked out incredibly well for a while, but now it's pretty much just ooooold regulars in #TPU. I don't know if "the new generation" even learns about and tries IRC for the first time, or if they confine their attentions to flashier things.

Below are two links to archived versions of old TPU sites from its first year of existence that I uncovered. If you'd like to have some glimpse into the TPU of the past, you can check them out. The first one comes a few months earlier than the second in time.

I'd like to read any ideas about where TPU should go from here. It seems obvious to me that what exists now is near worthless, so this is an important question.


Posted by vladimir_l [send private reply] at February 02, 2002, 12:06:14 PM

Yes - I have read throughly throught what you wrote. It seems so. The points you make are all true ., in one way or another. I am very sorry to that , pehaps there are not as many people intrested in programming any more. If , I can , I would like to comment that from the 3 English schools I have been to , not a single person , has been intrested in programming or maths. Pehpas TPU needs to move on too , there are consiberably less & less people wanting to program for "fun" not profit. Pehaps there are still some people like that , true programmers.


Posted by miken [send private reply] at February 02, 2002, 08:00:08 PM

>> pehaps there are not as many people intrested in programming any more
I highly doubt that; in fact, I believe there are more people interested than ever before! The problem is that the site is being overrun by newbies and people needing homework help. Other sites exist for those purposes, and I sympathize with Psion's viewpoint ... indeed, a site for teens whose motive for programming is nothing but for fun is desparately needed.

I think, though, that one major point is that those who do passionately program will not be on the Internet; in fact, I believe that the Internet corrupted my old programming more than helping it. The point being that if one is truly interested in programming, his time will not be spent aiding others and reading message boards. Perhaps this is the largest fault of GameDev's Help Wanted boards - the site is populated by newbies who will never program well because they are addicted to the message boards and don't try anything for themselves!

Admittedly, a few people exist and it would be quite an experience to work with them, but getting them interested in the site and participating is a hard-to-reach goal. There just isn't a way to restrict access to those who are truly interested, and perhaps this is the problem with the Internet as a whole - people always spoil each others' fun.

So in conclusion (back to TPU), I think that the goal is correct - it should fill the everpresent need of some, the need to communicate with like-minded programmers where none exist in the local community! Indeed, in my town it often seemed I was the only one (actually, there were three of us - all identified in high school!, but I didn't realize it until now - one moved and is the president of a Linux company at 17, one is almost finished a 3d DX 8 engine, and I'm still plugging away at advanced applications and games :), and a group like this was a reminder that I was not the only one to have this habit. So no, do not change the focus because if you do this site will not be special; the focus would become the same as other sites and wouldn't serve a viable purpose.

I know what your dream was Psion, and it was once mine too, but while these people may be found on the Internet, it'll be a tough journey to get them here, perhaps too tough ...?


Posted by CodeRed [send private reply] at February 02, 2002, 11:28:03 PM

Well in one year I won't be a teen anymore and lets face it, I'm carrying this place. The way I see it, once I'm gone TPU has no future.

Posted by vladimir_l [send private reply] at February 03, 2002, 04:57:09 AM

You are right Internet corrupts programming , for 2 years , I used a 486 armed with Win 3.1 and nothing but Fortran Power Station Basic and Quick C , from there I learned most.Really there aren't as many people wanting to do it for the fun of it , not some $5 which no ine is gonna pay for their software anyway , not homework for school , but for the fun and enjoyement.


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