Scott A. Golder golder at hcs.harvard.edu
Wed May 17 22:24:13 EDT 2000

What I'm seeing right now, is a cadre of seniors who are seeing 'the good old
days' through rose-colored glasses, and are using the high perch of years as a
pedestal from which to piss on the rest of us.  I resent this.

Let me first begin by expressing what made me personally choose to become part
of the HCS.  It was great finding a group of people who like computers and are
using them to do neat things.  I like computers, and wanted to do neat things
with them as well.

I believe strongly that though the HCS is a fun and sociable place, that is an
extension of the _projects_ we undertake.  We've had many project ideas this
semester (and, I might add, this year) but nobody seems to want to
participate.  We announce meetings and get great turnouts, mostly from younger
students, for first meetings.  People get excited, and then, bam.  Nobody
shows up at the second meeting.  Part of the reason, I think, my position
exists, is to keep this from happening.  After keeping project leads on their
toes and trying to keep people informed about the project, we still find
people not getting involved.  Can't get blood from a stone.

People whine, we don't do any interesting projects.  One thing we tried, was
to write a game.  A fucking game!  We've never done that before, and it could
be a really engrossing project.  Lots of people at the first meeting.  Three
at the second.  Can't get blood from a stone.

As I write this, I see an iMac ad on TV.  That's quite emblematic of what's
going on in the world.  Computers are everywhere, and that presents both a
problem and an opportunity.  The opportunity that the proliferation of
computers presents, is that our efforts can benefit an ever greater number
of people.  The problem, of course, is that people who would otherwise be HCS
members and help develop our projects, are finding other outlets for their
computing, not least of all startups, CS courses, and webmastering for student
organizations (whose sites, ironically, are housed on hcs).  Anyone who thinks
this is not costing us people is foolish.  I have spoken to those we've lost
to startups, etc.

AcctServ is a great project, something we should not give up.  Aside from the
hardware and other benefits we get, which are invaluable,  we are also
providing a resource for our student community, helping bring computing to
others.  But Suhas says AcctServ is understaffed.  I can't talk to this,
because I simply don't know the numbers.  I know Rory had initiated at least
one or two new AcctServ'ers earlier this year. 

So if there be answers, then I cannot see them.  One thing that may help is
revamping our web site.  I don't mean with especially interesting
technologies, like XML or something -- I mean we need an informative page
specifying what we do and who we are and (1) why you might like to get
involved; and (2) what we can do for your studorg.

Maybe the issue _is_ enthusiasm?  Where has the enthusiasm gone?  Is it
because we're not doing projects that people find interesting?  The HCS as I
see it is an open group, and anyone can start something new, or even just
suggest it.  Nothing at all would make me happier than getting three e-mails a
week with new, exciting project ideas.

But more than projects, we need people to participate in them.  I think we've
made great strides in terms of accessibility -- the office is open most
afternoons during the week for anyone to come in and hold a project meeting or
just to hang out.

So if there is an easyt answer I've overlooked -- and I hope for HCS's sake
that I have -- then let's work on it, and make the HCS more enjoyable, useful
and above all, engaging.

If you're just a cranky senior, stop bitching.

Scott A. Golder '03                              golder at hcs.harvard.edu

On Wed, 17 May 2000, britt wrote:
:Who here thinks it's about time to put the HCS to sleep?  the
:society has been pretty much dead for a year now... 
:-- --------------------------------------------------------------------
:Britt Bolen               britt at bolen.com               britt.bolen.com 

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