Welcome to our 2020 update - it’s another big one!
Can you believe that next month the forum will turn 4 years old? Hasn’t time just flown by!? A lot has certainly happened these last few years and it’s fair to say the forum has well and truly come of age, achieving pretty much everything it set out to achieve… and then some!!
We’ll go into detail in a moment, but first let’s talk numbers.
The forum has now sent out just under a whopping 4 million emails! We also receive over 200K queries from search engines every month… and that’s just from our top ten traffic sources! That’s the equivalent of dealing with over 6,000 questions or queries every single day! All that from just 16K threads! This nicely highlights that questions and posts you make today can go on to help hundreds, possibly thousands of people tomorrow
You may also remember that in our first year we served just over a million pages, now, we’re averaging 868K a month, with the last three months at 873k, 865k and 978k, that’s a monthly figure that’s fast approaching what we served in our entire first year!!
Another way to look at it is that in the last three years we’ve witnessed a growth of 10X!!
Some of you may remember what Devon said back in 2017…
It was a lot to live up to and we hope we have come close to delivering!
There is, however, lots more that everyone who has helped make the forum what it is (that’s you btw!) can be proud of. If anything the stats above are a bonus, with the following being some of the things we were actively trying to achieve:
- Becoming a useful resource. That’s thanks to your posts and threads - with the forum doing its bit to help ensure they are accessible and of the highest quality possible through our various moderation and other policies. These include a relentless focus on editing of thread titles so they describe each thread adequately, as well as guiding content and discussions so that they are amicable, valuable and accessible. (Much of this also makes browsing the forum a pleasure and also pleases search engines, which in turn makes it easier for you to find answers in future, lightening fast.)
- Representing Elixir in the best possible light. Everyone can be very proud of the high standards here. Our community is mature, fair and incredibly smart. You’ll notice there is an absence of drama, childishness and pettiness here, with us preferring well intentioned and sincere discussions and interactions. All this makes for an appealing and enjoyable community - one that you can most definitely be proud to be a part of <3
- Helping prevent interpersonal, inter-community or even cross-community issues from developing . Sometimes a single incident can lead to a community or project imploding, which is something some of us have witnessed elsewhere and why this has been a big focus from the outset. Often, genuine mishaps or misunderstandings can spiral into very real and sometimes very large, unreconcilable issues, but by handling these in accordance with our moderation policies we can help prevent them from manifesting or reaching that point.
- Supporting and taking some of the strain off José, Chris, Robert, their core teams and the creators and core teams of other important projects. Making this an environment where people enjoy spending time (in no small part because of all of the points mentioned here) means there’s more chance somebody will be around to answer your questions or queries. This helps language and project teams enormously because they can focus on working on those projects while our members help support each other and the community. We further support this via our MOTM awards, by recognising (and therefore encouraging more of) our most helpful members.
- Helping bring the community closer together. Specifically, members of the wider community via our welcoming, friendly and respectful attitude towards those from Erlang and other BEAM languages. We have a lot to thank many Erlangers for, and it’s always been important to us here on the forum that they get the respect and recognition they deserve.
- Helping members hone their skills. Again, this is thanks to your sharing of knowledge and the help and mentoring you give others, with the forum assisting in other, perhaps less obvious ways here too, such as:
- Supporting educational outfits, publishers, book authors and others in the commercial space - because the more support they get from us/the community, means the more likely they are to create more Elixir resources and products… which is something the entire community can benefit from.
- Giving away 50 Elixir/Erlang ebooks a year as part of our MOTM scheme. That means more knowledge is in the hands of the community, which in turn can mean higher quality answers to your questions, better docs, libraries, tools, etc.
- Giving away almost the same number of books (as well as other Elixir related resources) in our giveaways. (While we could have given away Amazon vouchers, where’s the fun in that?! Plus Elixir related items add significantly more value to the community… even when you don’t actually win anything yourself )
Speaking of giveaways, let’s move on to them before this list gets any longer! (If you can think of any other ways the forum might have helped you please feel free to share in the comments below!)
Just for fun, how much do you think we’ve given away so far?
$500 worth of stuff?
To date, we’ve given away over $50,000 worth of prizes!!! By the end of this year, that figure won’t be far off $65,000!!! That’s pretty staggering! To the best of our knowledge no other programming forum has done anything like this, ever!
Thank you to all of our sponsors past and present who have helped make all this possible!
Speaking of our sponsors, they have played a vital role in making so much of the cool stuff we’ve done here possible. If you get a moment, please visit them to show your support - you can see them listed here:
If you think your place of work might be interested in sponsoring, or manage an organisation that could benefit from exposure in this space, please email contact AT elixirforum.com for details - we’ve been so busy again this year that we’ve only been able to contact a small handful of companies who had posted in our jobs section, so more than likely did not contact yours, sorry!
Let’s move on to this year’s giveaways!
Last year we gave away 6 prizes a month, and we’re not going to disappoint you this year - we have 6 monthly prizes again!
Win ANY Elixir or Erlang ebook from PragProg - TWO winners every month!!
Win ANY Elixir or Erlang ebook from Manning - TWO winners every month!!
Win a years worth of AppSignal! - Worth $468!
Win a years worth of ElixirCasts Alchemist’s Edition! - Worth $180!
We’ve got some super discounts lined up for you again this year!!
35% off any ebook published by PragProg!
Details coming soon!
35% off any ebook, print book or video published by Manning!
Details coming soon!
10% off AppSignal!
Details coming soon!
10% off ElixirCasts… for life!
Details coming soon!
20% off ANY Pragmatic Studio course!
Details coming soon!
Members of the Month is back!
Last year we decided to try something different by having a single Members of the Year event, this year we have 50 again but instead of waiting until the end of the year, we will hand these out on an ad-hoc basis; whenever it becomes apparent somebody has gone the extra mile.
We’ll try to spread these out evenly throughout the year and then simply announce those who were chosen at the end of the year (or perhaps half, half-way through the year). This means we get these out to you sooner
Keep an eye out for a separate thread listing last year’s 50 MOTY soon! You never know, you may be in it!!
New Global Moderators
While we’re speaking of helpful members, we’d also like to announce that we have promoted both @axelson and @kokolegorille to our Global Moderator team. They have been incredibly active since becoming Section Moderators and we think they will be excellent additions to the team! Please join us in welcoming in them
2019’s lowest point
We can’t have an update on the past year without mentioning the lowest point in the forum’s life to date - the passing of Joe Armstrong
When we heard of this the community was shocked and deeply saddened and a more muted, sombre atmosphere was present here for quite some time. This just goes to show Joe touched the lives of so many and our only consolation is that the highest point of the year was also linked to him - when he joined our Admin team.
This gave us the opportunity to let him know just how special he was and how much the Elixir community respected and valued him. He appreciated this very much.
With 2019 being the year that took him, perhaps 2020 is the year we can all do something to honour him? When we launch our sister site later this year we will be dedicating it to him - it will be a small, personal way to honour his memory and it would be amazing if some of you can do something similar.
Looking ahead and on a bigger scale, let’s do something that will make him as proud of us as we were of him - by creating a few more Erlang/Elixir apps that take the world by storm… just like he did
What’s in store for 2020?
This year we want to keep our goals pretty simple. This includes making some changes to the forum to simplify not just posting, but moderating too:
- Simplify and focus much more tightly on our Elixir sections
- Hold a community review of our moderating policies and expand our mod team
Doing the above will help put us in good stead for the years ahead while also free up time allowing us to…
- Launch our sister site
- Work on our other projects
Let’s cover the first two since they are going to be fairly significant changes.
Simplifying and focusing on our Elixir sections
Posting on a forum should be as effortless as possible - and we have this nailed pretty well - but there are still a few areas where we can improve. One example is removing the Elixir Discussions section and reverting back to the Chat/Discussions section that we used to have (and what we currently have in our Phoenix/Nerves/Erlang forums). This is because we get a lot of threads posted in it which are actually seeking help on a problem that is specific to that user’s circumstances - rather than it being a wider discussion that applies to most people. This isn’t the fault of our members, sometimes even we struggle with deciding what does or does not qualify as a discussion. (We even get quite a few questions posted in the Chat section too! ) For now we’ll remove the Discussions section and revert to a simple Chat/Discussions section.
We’re also acutely aware that interpersonal issues can develop in the blink of an eye, and while we have done a great job to ensure no major mishaps have developed here, the fact that they can develop and are more likely to develop in certain (mostly off-topic threads or) sections, is now becoming a burden on our team. Focusing on our Elixir (or to be more precise, BEAM) related sections and archiving our non-Elixir/BEAM sections will be a good step toward addressing this.
This means the forum will become more like other language related forums. However please don’t worry! Not only will there be plenty of scope for related topics, for instance, asking about databases to use with Elixir, or front end or mobile frameworks to use with Phoenix will still very much be on topic, but also - and this is something very exciting - there will be a brand new multi-language (polyglot!) platform launching next month where more general non-Elixir topics can be discussed, but more on that later
Reviewing our moderation policies
Since all or most of our policies have been created by the forum team (usually by Aston) this places an enormous pressure on us because we feel responsible for everything that happens on the forum. Each time someone gets upset because of a not-quite-so-diplomatic response, or whenever someone posts comments or a thread that has the potential to stress José, Chris, Robert or other important people in the community, stresses us out! This has led us to checking the forum every five minutes to ensure that there isn’t any trouble brewing and this is getting in the way of our own learning and working on other projects. The issue is compounded because this is a language specific forum, meaning any major issues developing here could potentially hurt Elixir itself. (This is also why we are going to focus on our Elixir related sections moving forward.)
So we are going to change our role slightly, from managing the forum to a ‘high professional standard’, to, managing it to the standards set by the community (even if nothing actually changes in our policies following the review). It’s a subtle but important distinction because it shifts the burden from a small number of people to the entire community. We would also love to see more members of the community help out with moderating when this review is complete. If you have been here a while, have a great record and would like to help out, please let us know
Of course we’re hoping when we carry out the review you won’t veer from our current policies much if at all. They have been based on 15 years experience managing online communities and are proven to work, as demonstrated by all of the achievements outlined in this very announcement. We will of course build some protective measures into this process, for instance, allowing any of our Admins to veto any proposed changes and give more weight to those who have put more into the forum when deciding upon which policies we should keep or change. It’s only fair that those who have put the most in, get to have more of a say on the next chapter of the forum’s life.
Keep an eye out on our Forum Policies section - we hope to start on this imminently!
Let’s begin to wrap this up by talking a little about the future of Elixir and the community …though not necessarily via our own community channels.
A new multi-language forum
Elixir has come of age, the forum and community has come of age, now let’s spread the word to developers who may not know the benefits of our beloved BEAM languages. Let’s grow horizontally, far and wide
In many ways, the community has reached a point where we are like Erlang/Elixir processes ourselves - there are now lots and lots and lots of us! This positions us perfectly to begin spreading the word about Elixir to receptive audiences on a much larger scale, because there are now so many more people who know or who have real world experience of Elixir. It’s your unique experiences, insights and knowledge that could resonate with or be all it takes to convince someone to try Elixir; someone who’s own circumstances may be similar to yours. And that’s going to be one of the goals of this new platform - to be a place where people can evangelise their favourite tech.
We won’t go into too much detail right now, but when the idea was run by two top tech publishers, they said they LOVED the idea and are getting involved in a very meaningful way! Needless to say this has got us very excited and we can’t wait to share more details with you! For now, expect to see the same degree of professionalism, branding and atmosphere that you have come to expect here.
Watch this space - it will hopefully be launching some time next month!
A lot has happened since the forum started. The forum and our community has matured and grown into a very healthy, robust and truly wonderful community. We’re now perfectly placed to help support Elixir’s next phase of growth and that naturally shifts the focus beyond our own community channels.
Since the forum has achieved pretty much everything it set out to achieve, this may also be the last update of this kind you’ll see. In terms of figures, our goal has always been 500K pageviews a month, because that is more than enough as an overall indication of a forum that is at a level which can support and grow a community - and we smashed that a long time ago!
Well done each and every one of you, we know we say this every year, but none of this would have been possible without you. We’re incredibly excited to see where we go from here - so many pieces of the Elixir puzzle are falling into place and it feels like 2020 is going to be an amazing year!
Will this be the decade of Elixir!? We hope so!
Happy 2020 everyone!!