Happy Birthday, dear Lambda!

Eight years ago LtU was born. In terms of internet phenomena that is truly remarkable longevity (heck, even google is hardly ten years old), but even in "real world" terms I think this qualifies LtU as a venerable institution.

Ever since Chris posted the first LtU birtday message back in 2001 it has become somewhat of a tradition to post a birthday message each year, and these have become a good place to reflect on the sate of LtU and the direction it is taking. Looking at the previous birthday posts sure got me reflecting. Here they are: year one, year two, year three, year five, year six, and year seven.

So how did we fare this last year? I think that overall we did pretty well, much better than I expected last year when we were in the middle of what looked like a losing battle with spammers. I think we (and by that I mean Anton, first and foremost) managed to pretty much keep spam under control without imposing unnecessary restrictions on new users. LtU was always welcoming to new users, and we strive hard to keep it that way - which leads to the second issue...

We were worried that with too many new members signing up the quality of discussions will go down, and the atmosphere of the site will change. While this happened to some extent from time to time, I think that in general most discussions remain as informative as ever - in fact, some have become too highbrow even for me... Quite a few new members have become regulars, and even contributing editors. I am very glad to see this happen, for all the obvious reasons. I am especially glad to see that we stopped attracting so many "drive-by members" who sign up only to ask one question and are then gone. LtU is not the best place for such questions, which in the past also proved to be mostly off-topic. New members, on the other hand, always add something new to the community.

Indeed, what is truly phenomenal and inspiring about LtU for me is not the continuity of the site, but the continuity of the community. I've been saying this every year, I think, but it is worth repeating. What gives LtU its unique flavor are the many members that have been part of the community for many years, some from the very early days. While not an online sewing circle, I think LtU does encourage long time members to become contributing editors, to share their interests more explicitly, and even to mention from time to time, if they so wish, their own changing circumstances. This is a professional community, but a community none the less.

The community is what holds LtU together, but it is hidden in the forum. The public face of LtU, and what should be the main focus of the discussion on the site, are the home page news items. From the early days there has been a tension between the forum and the blog aspects of LtU: while ideally all good links should be on the home page, and these should be the focus of discussion, quite often the forum takes on a life of its own. Since some members do not follow the forum discussions closely, and since the home page items are a good way to stir the direction of the site, this may be less the ideal. The solution, as always, is for the contributing editors (who are those members who manage the home page group blog) to be more active, and for more members to become contributing editors. If you are a regular, and think that you can contribute semi-regularly (i.e., as often as you want) to one or more of the LtU departments, you should consider signing up.

Let me conclude this rambling message on a more personal note. This year I moved to Menlo Park, California. Hearing from and meeting local LtU members made the move easier. It was a great experience to encounter people in various places who recognized my name, and asked "Are you the guy from LtU?" (the next question usually being "So what do you say about Scala?", by the way). Being extremely busy I didn't take advantage of all the activities around here this year, but the one time I did manage to go to a BayFP meeting was great fun.

Who knows what the next year will bring? For now, thank you all for your participation. You are LtU!

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I've only been a member for a little over a year, but I sure wish I'd known about this place long before.

I love LtU because of the interesting topics and discussions, but also for the people. It's nice to see "big names" having discussions like they were just plain old people!

Here's to another 8 years of great reads and discussions!


Thanks Ehud, Anton and all the contributing editors. I've appreciated your work over the five years that I've been lurking here.

And what do you think about Scala? :-)

Happy birthday, once again!

Thanks as always, Ehud, Anton and everyone, for making this such a great place for so long!

Happy Birthday

Thank you Ehud and Anton and all the contributing editors for making LtU such a wonderful place.

And thank you to all the discussion posters for keeping the forums a wonderful place by (mostly) writing with clarity and good humor.

Happy Birthday

... and these have become a good place to reflect on the sate (sic) of LtU and the direction it is taking.

Dear LtU,

may your state always be well confined in your closure.

Yours, Bjoern

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday!

I know how hard this can be, as I haven't updated my web domain magicdragon.com in two years, it having been launched in early February 1996 (and thus is about halfway through its 13th year).

I've been watching and admiring your work here for quite a while, long may it wave!

Happy birthday!

I've been on and off LtU for some 4 years, I guess. Many good discussions and I often think of it as some kind of comp.lang.* all under a single web interface. Good to see many of the old regulars still around. :)

Some Birthday Numbers

Updated my LtU Index Pages today after falling behind five months. For BDay purpsoses, the following were pulled as arbitrary statistics for the website (includes LtU Classic posts),

Total Number of Posts: 49329 posts scattered over 5255 Stories/Topics

Top 25 Posters: Sees that no one will ever catch Ehud. But Anton is starting to threaten my second place position (hence my recent spate of posts).

Ehud Lamm62587/28/20008/2/2008
Chris Rathman14728/1/20008/2/2008
Anton van Straaten141912/19/20017/23/2008
Paul Snively13086/19/20017/23/2008
andrew cooke10577/30/20007/8/2006
Andris Birkmanis9972/21/20047/16/2008
Isaac Gouy8968/11/20036/20/2008
Marc Hamann8548/18/20034/3/2008
Frank Atanassow8221/11/200311/28/2007
Luke Gorrie66410/1/20017/9/2008
Philippa Cowderoy63312/5/20067/30/2008
Achilleas Margaritis59512/5/20067/23/2008
Scott Johnson5817/5/20087/22/2008
Derek Elkins53812/20/20048/2/2008
Patrick Logan5242/3/20029/15/2005
Dominic Fox4508/17/20037/30/2007
Matt Hellige4455/20/20037/28/2008
Dan Shappir4208/22/20016/2/2004
Mark Evans3989/17/20036/20/2007
Andreas Rossberg3705/26/20067/8/2008
Peter Van Roy3462/18/20046/26/2008

Top 10 Discussions: (not always a positive sign)

5/27/2006249Isaac GouyBuried Treasure - No Fluff Just Stuff
8/4/2005220Riaan MollObjective scientific proof of OOP's validity? Don't need no stinkun' proof.
3/29/2005216el-vadimoexpressivity of "idiomatic C++"
5/1/2006187John CarterWhat do you believe about Programming Languages (that you can't prove (yet))?
7/15/2004187Anton van StraatenWhy type systems are interesting
1/10/2007186szobatudosWhy people don't use functional programming?
5/14/2004166Chris RathmanThe Case for First Class Messages
4/21/2005164David WaernWhy do they program in C++?
8/19/2006160el-vadimoClosures for Java or money back
5/5/2005160Achilleas MargaritisLet's make a programming language!


Hey, I'm in the Hall Of Fame. :-)

But I'm most impressed by Scott Johnson, who apparently posted almost 600 messages in only two weeks. Are you sure there's no bug in your data mining procedure?

Scott was probably inspired during those 2 weeks

Sees that the start and stop dates were sorted based on the date that the original thread was created. So Scott's posts look something like this. So the counts look right, but the starting and stopping date are not calculated correctly (though they accidentally happen to work most of the time).

Such is the life of a software developer. I'd blame it on Python if I thought I could get away with it. :-)