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After 2 Years I M Finally Defining Evolt

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Scott Dexter

Member info

User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 10

First of all, I must congratulate those who worked (and continue to work) hard on v2.0 of thesite. --Philanthropy and its best, if you ask me. With the 2nd year Anniversary of evolt, I would like to share what it has come to mean to me.


Like a lot of us, I threw myself into the Webmonkey fray as soon as I came across it, which was somewhere in 1997. Yes, 1997. It was obvious that there was a core group of guru's and active posters, and I felt like I came to know them (building personality sketches in my head). The list would go through periods of high quality, and periods of high noise. The innovation I saw that made the world Right again was the <objunky> --a little piece of web-centric tidbit to offset the noise.

--An unsolicited little insight. How perfect, finally an example of what I fell in love with the 'Net in the first place: Free Information. No banner ads, no mailing list registration, just people helping people cause they wanted to.

Then came late 1998. Just through the year I spent on MJ there was a ton of content, most of it valuable. None of it archived. --A tragedy at the very least. Seeing a need to retain this wealth of information, someone you know posted a web-accesible archive of content generated on the MJ mailing list. And the storybook ended. MJ, owned by parent Wired --then soon-to-be parent Lycos-- realized they had missed an income generating opportunity, and sent their lawyers knocking. This event and the formation of evolt is clearer elsewhere, but evolt as we know it was born.--A small group of highly skilled, highly dedicated web workers who want to share what they know, and constantly learn from each other. The notion of the <objunky> was kept, known as a <tip> to you and me. --A payment of currency not based on precious metals, but oh so mush more



On March 9, 2000, I received an email from Adrian Roselli (aardvark), extending the invitation to join evolt's admin core. I jumped at the chance. Little did I know my paid-for productivity would suffer so much ;).

I'd always considered Evolt a resource, and the people I knew by email address alone were evidence of a skill I never thought I had: people networking. Once inside the walls of the admins, these folks became friends. I've never met any of them in person, and have spoken to only one admin's answering machine. I relate to them as friends when I speak of them; its not, "this person I know in Buffalo," rather "a friend of mine in Buffalo." --To me a dear and important distinction.

There's a running joke among the admins that joing them invariably leads to one or more of the following: job change, marriage (or significat love life change), or dwelling change. Call it simple mathematical coincidence or not, but its true, and in the past month I more-or-less qualify for all three. A breakup of a 3 1/2 yr old relationship requiring a move-out, and I received a serious salary increase with a shifted direction here at work. --Oh and our offices are moving this week. Crazy, ain't it?

Evolt changes people. I've learned more about the intricasies of browsers than I could ever research on my own (thanks James), more about database design than I could ever learn (thanks Rudy), and more about pragmatic, pedantic right way of doing things than I could ever listen to (thanks Adrian). Evolt's shown me the strength in peer networking (people, not computers), and has proven to me that it is primary in furthering education and expertise in this crap. I get charged up (pun intended) to help someone on thelist. I love putting aside paid work for a couple hours on Fridays to hopefully spark some insight, if not exposure, to what the world of web development is for me on a day-to-day basis. I'm sharing information, and its free. That gets my blood pumping.

Its been mentioned that this year has been a wonderful growth year for evolt. To be specific, we've been mentioned numerous places for our browser archive, but above that, our recognition as a web development resource has lept beyond word-of-mouth. We're trusted. We (all of us) have built ourselves a solid reputation of one of the highest quality, lowest noise mailing lists there is. That's something to be proud of. And everyone on thelist is resposible for it. Yes, give yourself a smile. You've done something to give back to the Web, and that's what it lives for.


The hardware running thesite and thelist has been upgraded a number of times to keep up, and Dan has literally rewritten then tweaked the living shit out of mailing list software, producing some of the fastest response times from mailers I've seen (and I'm on a number of lists).

We're far from the 35 people that started evolt.

35 people.

Just this summer we passed the 1000 mailing list subscriber mark. From 35 to over 1000 in less than 2 years. That's about 2 new subscribers a day. For a resource that does not advertise, that does not buy ad space, that runs completely on the word of its members, this is incredible. Yet again, we need your help to continue the growth of evolt 1000 people reading thelist, wow! --But how small is a community of 1000 people? --Less than the seating capacity of two 747 jumbo jets.

And we are growing. Steadily, healthy, and as one of the best free resources on the Web. We're not going to charge for content or swap banners for cash (though the offers have been made). Your posts to thelist are yours. Your articles, yours. We're here to give you the box. You stand on it and make a difference. I love that.

Thank you, Evolt. Thank you.

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