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Apr 17, 2002: Happy Birthday SIGIA-L!

At the first IA Summit back in March of 2000, we put out the call for someone to create a discussion list for information architects. Shortly thereafter, ASIS&T stepped up to the plate, and SIGIA-L was born. The first brave posting, from Angela Picard, helped set a positive tone: she contributed some useful content for the benefit of her peers. Two years, 1,918 subscribers, and 8,033 deposits and withdrawals from the Bank of Karma later, SIGIA-L keeps jammin' away, a supportive and surprisingly multi-disciplinary community.

Well, hold on a second: is SIGIA-L really a community? That's up for debate. What exactly is it that distinguishes a community from a group of people talking about topics of mutual interest? Fodder for a future discussion.

Community or not, SIGIA-L is active and is growing. During 2000, we averaged 180 postings/month; in 2001, the number jumped to 389; this year, 581.

Total # Postings/Month

The list's posting rates started out at about 4 postings daily on average, and in some recent months have topped 20.

Average # Postings/Day

For no particular reason other than wondering if my name ever made it to the list, I've compiled the table below to show each month's most active posters. (No, I didn't make the list.)

MONTH# POSTINGSPROLIFIC POSTER
March 200239Ziya Oz
February 200240Ziya Oz
January 200261Ziya Oz
December 200120Ziya Oz
November 200132Ziya Oz
October 200120David Heller
September 200121David Austen
August 200154Ziya Oz
July 200117James Weinheimer
June 200130James Weinheimer
May 200116Christina Wodtke
April 200126Christina Wodtke
March 200116Karl Fast
February 200119Dick Hill
January 200113Dan Hoffman
December 20005James Weinheimer
November 20007Ed Houseman
October 200014Andrew Hinton
September 200025Gordon Montgomery
August 200011Gordon Montgomery, Ed Houseman (tie)
July 20008Gordon Montgomery
June 200016Gordon Montgomery, Chuck Lutz (tie)
May 200010Gordon Montgomery
April 200015James Weinheimer

Now come on class, let's not see all the same hands... Meanwhile, can someone help Ziya Oz find insurance coverage for what will likely be one nasty case of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Happy second birthday SIGIA-L!

* Note: May 2000 numbers are incomplete.

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Comment: Robert Dornbush (Apr 17, 2002)

Lou, this is of great interest to me as an IA / UI / ID guy. It is equally fun and interesting to track the evolution of SIGIA in comaprison to the evoultion of IA as a practice and my own personal career.

You have been a real guiding light for our community in what can only be described as the storm of uncertain development seas; soak up some rays and feel the love Baby!

Comment: Brian Christiansen (Apr 17, 2002)

Without getting into a "well, define what you mean by IA" discussion, and in relation to the number of members of the list, it makes one wonder how many IAs are there in the US, in the world? What percent are here on sigIA-L? (How many know I need a job in the Boston area? Did I say that outloud? ;-)

Thanks for the stats Lou.

~bc

Comment: Jonathan Heron (Apr 19, 2002)

Regarding whether or not SIGIA-L is a community…

At a Zeriously event [1] last year here in Dublin, the topic for the night was communities and in the course of discussion between the audience and panel the subject of what constitutes a community came up (naturally). One quite good suggestion (that I tend to agree with) is that you can benchmark a community based on the reaction to a significant event, be it to a person on the forum, or something like September 11th.

[1] http://www.zeriously.com/events/z7.asp

I've found this to be a good method of gauging whether or not a forum, mailing list or whatever else, is a community. A quick glance back through the logs of many lists I subscribe to revealed emails back and forth expressing sympathies to members living in the New York area; or checking to see had people been caught in the attack. Yet more discussion went even further OT to discuss te ramifications of 9/11 etc.

So, what distinguishes a community from a bunch of people discussing a topic of common interest? IMHO:

"With a group of people simply discussing a topic of common interest, no attention is paid to the nature, status, or personality of members of the group. In a community, members become living people."


Hmmm that sounded better in my head… but I've been working for 14 hours a day all week, and I'm coming down with the flu. But hopefully I've managed to get my point across =)

Oh, and happy birthday SIGIA-L. And… looking forward to the new book Lou!!

Comment: Andrew Hinton (Apr 30, 2002)

Ok. It's like 11 days later and I just now bothered to read the posting on sigia-l. And lo-and-behold I saw my name there (!) as the top poster in October of 2000! I'm so impressed with myself.
But, alas, there was no prize.
The irony is that I only read the sigia-l list after it reaches about 1500 messages, which is about the point at which it starts to scare me.

Comment: Brad Lauster (May 3, 2002)

Wow...I'm such a data slut. Great post Lou. Thanks!

Comment: Paula Thornton (May 23, 2002)

But since we've now had 3 conferences, I keep saying that we're 3 years old as a discipline (more formally, of course)!

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