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The Ebb and Flow of Community

By Phil Factor,

I was pondering SQL Server Central’s growth in membership over the last year. The silent majority seem to be interested in the posting of a small minority. Steve reckons 20,000 posters out of 925,559 members. Until recently, I was a long-standing silent member. That didn’t mean I didn’t get value from the community: quite the reverse; I loved reading the questions and answers, even when, just occasionally, the questions were silly or the answers wrong. I still enjoy it, as I always learn things and I love the chatter; like wandering around a crowded street-market. When one can never talk directly to another database professional in the workplace, it is a good second-best to read it on SQl Server Central. Unlike the other sites, SQL Server Central has always cherished its egalitarianism. It isn’t them (the experts) versus us (the proletariat). On this site we can all join in, if we want, or hang about like wallflowers at a dance content merely to soak in the atmosphere, just nodding in time to the music.

To give an example, It is soothing, after a tiresome meeting with Application Developers who are not only arguing for direct table access to what they dismissively term a ‘Data Repository’, but are keen to lecture you on how ‘expensive’ joins are, to find other Database Developers and DBAs sharing the pain of similar ‘impedance mismatches’. One might occasionally post a ‘I feel your pain’ message, but for most of us, it is enough to bring a spring back to our step just to know that we’re not alone.

I therefore am not concerned that the proportion of ‘active’ members of the community is so low. The rest of us drift in and out of participation, happy to be readers, but seldom writers. It is all part of the way that real communities work.

Phil Factor


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