Uniting the Community: Reviving #ti

Summary: The TI calculator community is fractured and uncoordinated. Coding and hacking talent is still plentiful, and enthusiasm is strong, yet no central meeting area and sounding board exists for programmers and community members to cooperate on projects, discuss ideas, and share information. We propose beginning #ti once more as a neutral, reliable, and safe calculator-only discussion channel.

Background: Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has a strong tradition within the TI-calculator community, and multiple channels exist which help serve the needs of community members. However, these channels are spread apart, poorly advertised, and the user bases generally does not mix due to past grudges and misinformation spread about “rival” channels. The following is a partial list of currently known calculator-oriented channels:

  • #cemetech (EFnet): The home channel of Cemetech, this channel focuses around the activities of the site and its associated programmers, and includes a “SAX” bridge which links up chats from various community sites into one place. Averages around 15-16 active users connected at any one time, as well as 4-6 additional ones through the “SAX” bridge. Cemetech focuses on multiple foci, one of which is calculators.
  • #omnimaga (EFnet): #omnimaga is the primary channel of the website under the same name. As with #cemetech, this channel is closely linked with the forum associated with the website. #omnimaga averages around 15-20 users.
  • #tcpa (EFnet): The “oldest” of the currently active IRC channels, #tcpa averages 50-60 connected users at any one point. It is, however, not associated with any programming group or website. Additionally, while the channel does contain calculators users, the discussion is technology-oriented with a focus on calculators.

Proposal: The channel #ti has a long history of being a community channel. We suggest that instead of attempting to reinvent the already-healthy #tcpa, that we use #ti as a primary contact point for programmers and those seeking assistance.The channel would be calculator-only, and all off-topic discussion will be referred to #tcpa.

Through this dual-channel system, we will be able to not only keep a channel for general discussion of mutual interests in #tcpa, but also provide an excellent experience for both new-users and experienced programmers alike in #ti.

While past attempts to create calculator-only channels have failed, we attribute that no advertising outside of #tcpa, and a general lack of community cooperation. Through effective leadership ensuring a safe and on-topic environment, encouragement of all programmers and users in a positive manner, and creating a place to share ideas, we believe that #ti can unite the community, while still keeping the distinctive site-oriented channels which are still active today.

Users seeking assistance would be directed to #ti in all situations, and through cooperation amongst current community leaders and forum moderators, we can make this channel successful once again.

We intend not to replace current channels, but to supplement them in a constructive fashion, where development and help can take place above partisan bickering.

Questions, concerns, or suggestions are welcome. Please post a comment below or e-mail me: nikkys@ticalc.org

17 thoughts on “Uniting the Community: Reviving #ti

  1. One of the ideas we would consider is granting community leaders moderator rights that would allow them to manage the channel in a cooperative manner through mutually agreed rules. Nothing excessive, of course, but still allow all groups and sites have their voice heard.

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  2. This could work if everyone who participates in the channel agrees to behave, and that moderators selected ensures every kind of calc discussion (as long as appropriate) is welcome. That said, I may show up in there every now and then, as long as no trouble is instigated. Some people may not agree with me or like me, but remember that I still devoted almost a decade of my life, peaking at 70 hours a week in 2002-03, in the TI community.

    While I do not plan to change #omnimaga status as a calc game, computer and music channel, I will post a news article advertising the #ti channel, mentionning its goals, on my website soon.

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  3. Freenode IRC has a low-profile, 3 year old channel called
    #ModernCalcs which was created in the hopes that calc-enthusiasts
    could come together on Freenode to discuss any aspect of
    Modern Graphing/Programmable Calculators!

    Every level of Calc use is welcomed from absolute beginner to
    high-end assembly programming.

    Unfortunately #ModernCalcs has never really had much response,
    but that has not stopped us from having 3 years on Freenode.

    So please join us and create yet another niche for Calculator enthusiasts. TI89, HP50G, most welcomed.

    //Rich/

    01-21-10 14:45z

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  4. Great idea! But I feel that we could get on further with this concept: add a special box on ticalc.org (just below the banner for example) where you could instantly connect to the IRC. I feel that this way, more of the community will participate in it…

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      1. Ticalc.org IRC page promotes both #tcpa and #calcs at the moment. I guess it might be good to add #ti as “calc-only discussion” to that list or simply replace #calcs, which is not used much IIRC.

        Also remove the Pharmacy website link right above.

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  5. This sounds like a promising idea. Given how the community came together during the key factoring, and the relative low in inter-channel disputes this might be an opportune time to try.

    I think the fact that there will be only calculator discussion will help tremendously, since it’s the one thing most everyone has an interest in.

    I do have one suggestion though: You’re proposing that all calculator discussion should be referred to #ti. While creating a central hub will help unify the community considerably, some reciprocity is needed too, especially if #ti is not to supplant existing channels. There are three primary reasons for this:
    1) If all goes as planned, #ti will be active and have a lot of users. Questions could be missed during heavy conversation, or even have so many different people answering a question (probably with many different suggestions) it could overwhelm a person.
    2) Some questions are better suited when asked of other people/channels (consider that #omnimaga, #cemetech and #tcpa have very different conversations, even when discussing calculators).
    3) Not *everyone* in the IRC community will use #ti, and so there can be questions best answered by someone outside of #ti.

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    1. I agree, the key factoring and other such efforts really proved that the community is still active.

      I wasn’t planning on making it the *only* calculator channel, but simply one where the only focus is calculators. So we know when we’re sending someone somewhere, they’ll get assistance without having to wade through offtopic discussion.

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  6. Well, one thing to consider is that #omnimaga doesn’t do 68K and I don’t think #cemetech does, either. When people came to ask us such questions before, unless Lionel Debroux was active we had to redirect these people to #tcpa. Plus #tcpa had a lot of TI-89 data in MATH.

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      1. The channel would probably need to be advertised on sites like yAronet and TI-BANK. However on TI-BANK they aren’t big fans of IRC it seems. The other solution would be the TICT board and #TIGCC channel, if anyone else than Kevin Kofler can still access it.

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