## Self.congratulate

So, LtU is 12!! I don't think this should go unnoticed. But as I was mostly quiet around here this year I am not qualified to offer a state of the lambda retrospective. Feel free to do so in the comments and, as they say, have some '(cake).

## Comment viewing options

:)

### The future of LtU

Any thoughts or reflections on the last 12 years? And what about the future? How could we promote LtU, or change it, so that more of the PL community feels like this is a nice place to hang out? I would especially be interested in hearing from lurkers, or anyone who has been frustrated with the experience here (e.g., Brendon Eich), and what we could do to make that better?

### Suggestion

And what about the future? How could we promote LtU, or change it, so that more of the PL community feels like this is a nice place to hang out?

I had been thinking a few times to post about this under the "site operations discussions" but since Sean's relevant comment conveniently invites so here...

Here's a suggestion I have for Ehud easy to implement: just another section in the topic tree shown on the "Departments" page where researchers or practitioners could post their "LtU-official" links (*) to their languages' "Reference Implementations" (preferably open sourced :) whether those be hosted at Google code, github, or some other "acme"-forge, or merely privately owned sites, etc.

With just a courtesy rule to follow as best as people can, and some I'm sure are already familiar with:

Cool URIs don't change

I think that over time this could built up into a nice, famous, A MUST-BE-checked-out hot spot/hot list for whoever is looking over the WWW for any language that the design / implementation is also discussed here.

Cheers!

(*) (only ONE main link per language's or major language revision would make sense I suppose)

### I would like an area which

I would like an area which is more informal on the site, for off-topic discussions and beginners questions. The format should be linear instead of nested as in the main forum, to invite more fluid conversations (newer goes at the end).

The main forum would remain the heart of the site, and the informal space more suited for tengents and off-topic discussions.

Happy birthday lambda-the-ultimate!

### I second that.

LtU takes the high-brow academic stance on developing a community. The academic ideal seems to be to post academic papers, and limit the topic to those papers. We might even be glad that there's a 'play' section in this site where people can post relatively arbitrary posts.

It doesn't meet the demands of a 'normal' Internet community where people, who get to know each other, feel it would nice to share common life ideas with each other. Moreover, LtU doesn't diversify into topic such as Embedded Computing, High Performance Computing, etc. If you'ld overhaul LtU in a form such as 'physicsforums.com' LtU would get a lot more followers and traction.

Then again, maybe this forum is just a niche of niche of a niche, and we're all just fine posting here, and a small number of people will come and go. Personally, I have the feeling that there isn't a site which meets the demand of people in CS, and at some time, it'll just pop up, and then I'll lurk there.

### I see no bias here for

I see no bias here for papers. Ya, some of us communicate better through them, but there are many more non-academic sources as well as random ideas originating on the site itself.

One weird aspect of LtU is the front page; anyone can post but few posts get promoted to front. Given LtU's traffic, however, I rarely see a need to bother even looking at that.

### I've been here too long

Yah. You're right. I looked at the front page, and now it seems to be mostly acadamic papers, academic projects, and important -or funny- industrial news.

It just used to be different. ;-)

### Well.

Communicating through papers is fine, I personally read a lot of papers when I am interested in a subjects.

But that's not my point. I would like to see some general site somewhere, and I don't think LtU is it, which has sections on 'Embedded', 'Graph Theory', 'Languages', etc. But it's just a like, not a demand.

### Having been a lurker on this

Having been a lurker on this sites for years I must say I always had the impression that this was exactly what makes LtU different and a lot nicer than the usual internet forums: that it focuses on quality over quantity and substantiated argumentation instead of unfounded opinions. So what might be more interesting than getting more users would be getting more of the right users (and behaviors).

I think a good signal-to-noise ratio would be most helpful, apart from having insightful discussions in the first place. Most of us have limited time and probably also limited interest to wade through huge amount of chit-chat on tangential topics. It might be useful to have some semi-separated area where discussions that get too long-winded or off-topic could continue their life without "spamming" the main site, though. It might help to avoid scaring away those that might have no interest in that kind of discussion without having to cut the discussion short and loosing some useful insights to those still following it.

### It might be useful to have

It might be useful to have some semi-separated area where discussions that get too long-winded or off-topic could continue their life without "spamming" the main site, though. It might help to avoid scaring away those that might have no interest in that kind of discussion without having to cut the discussion short and loosing some useful insights to those still following it.

### The C64 turned thirty

The above isn't really relevant, but I wonder how long it will take us to view LtU as 'really, really, really old,' because everybody needs to keep hitting refresh to see whether a conversation has new content.

### The single biggest improvement...

...would be the adoption of MathJax. It is just too painful to say anything theoretical without adequate support for mathematical notation.

### ponies

As long as we are asking for ponies:

• Lightweight markdown language and linking (ala reddit/mediawiki); include some math support.
• Rich paste support (the ability to paste from an IDE and preserve formatting - some blogging editors support that)
• Swiss typography, a more modern asethetic.
• Rethinking the topic architecture, could we possibly fork topics when appropriate? Intrinsic topic cross referencing support.
• Extensible tags
• Karma up/down votes for social engineering/community building purposes (down vote a comment/post to give someone a hint that they might be trolling and should think about what they said vs. getting involved in a flame war)

None of this is necessary of course, they are all ponies.

### Those would all be nice, but

Those would all be nice, but MathJax doesn't seem like a pony to me -- you can add MathJax support just by adding a single tag to the site template. In the head block (or, indeed, anywhere in the body), add:

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/latest/MathJax.js?config=TeX-AMS-MML_HTMLorMML">
</script>


and you're off to the races.

Furthermore, since MathJax is a Javascript library that finds and parses TeX code in a webpage, all the rendering happens client-side. So there's no increased load on the server, either.

### Forum discussions

One of the features that makes Stackoverflow work so well is the dense linking between questions in the "related questions" box. I have no idea how this is implemented (automatic algorithms, user flagging etc), but the effect is quite marvellous. It lets the visitor walk around the section of the site that is specific to that particular issue, see previous discussions and gain a feeling for how common the issue can be.

After a quick look I could not even count the number of discussions in the forum (of course this could just be me looking in the wrong place). It looked like 2200 pages of about 25 discussions per page. That is a huge archive of material about programming languages that is very difficult to use. While I would not assume that simply cramming some "related discussions" box into each page would be the way forward, what would allow people to navigate through this archive more effectively?

Every year (at least once) there is a discussion about high-brow vs low-brow, and increasing traffic to the site (immigration to the community) and other general questions about LtU operates and if it is going in the right direction. These are all quite healthy and good to see. I guess I am a "low frequency" poster, but not quite a lurker so I'll chip in quickly and say that I like the focus on high-brow discussion even if it leads to lower traffic volumes. There are many other sites out there that choose the opposite focus and LtU is much like an oasis. On the list of annual discussions about the nature of the site I would add: role as an archive / repository. Is there a way to enhance the repository role of the site, as doing so would increase visitor retention and (possibly) increase activity as a side-effect?

### It's a great forum

I'm mostly a lurker. I love this forum. Personally I'd like to see more on user interface and syntactic issues, but that's much less important, in my opinion, than keeping the focus on quality rather than quantity. So it's just fine with me if the forum continues exactly the way it is.