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Re: 100,000 posts!

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  • Subject: [mg100080] Re: 100,000 posts!
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 23:39:36 -0400 (EDT)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

I'd like to give a big thanks to Steve, too, as well as recognize one of the
benefits of his work that may not be obvious to a lot of people.  Steve has
provided a unique area where Wolfram staffers and Mathematica users can commune. 
This not only pushes more information out of the company and into the hands of 
users, it also directly impacts the development directions the company and its 
developers choose to take Mathematica in.

I've talked to several people from Wolfram who post here.  Most have very
little time.  They read this forum and post to it in their free time, not as a 
requirement (or even recommendation) of their job description.  Without an 
environment which promotes the kind of civil and almost uniquely 
Mathematica-focused discourse that goes on here, most would have found better 
uses for their time.

Here, people with questions can feel safe to ask them without being harassed or 
insulted by so-called experts.  Experts (both in and outside of Wolfram) can
feel safe to answer questions without the need to defend themselves from the
typical partisanship, brinksmanship, and general childishness which results in 
something like Godwin's Law being accepted as an inevitable part of Internet
discourse.  Occasionally, people have expressed concern that moderation has
stifled conversation.  On the contrary, I claim; it enables conversations which 
would never, ever happen in the presence of your typical Internet 

Speaking as a developer, I have two primary ways to interact directly with 
users.  One is the annual Wolfram conference, which only lets me talk with
a very narrow slice of users and for only four days a year.  The other is this
forum.  I've learned a lot here about how people use Mathematica, and that 
knowledge feeds back into the product.  Wolfram has a fine crew of technical
support and sales people who are on the front line with customers, but things 
inevitably get muffled by the time they reach developers...just as in the 
child's game of Telephone.  Here, we hear you loud and clear.

Without Steve's efforts, I wouldn't be here.  Thanks, Steve.

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

Steven M. Christensen wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> The Mathematica mailing list and newsgroup have been in existence for
> more than twenty years now.   In January 2005, we past the 50,000 message
> mark. Now, in only a little more than four years, we have added another
> 50,000. This is very gratifying to me and I hope that this effort will
> continue to grow and help as many users as possible.
> A little personal history.   I was honored to be a student and friend
> of Bryce DeWitt, who some of you know was one of the finest theoretical
> physicists of the last 100 years.   One of the things he told me back
> in the 70's was
> "Make sure all your projects are useful, work that will still be valuable
> to others twenty years from now."
> I have tried to take this to heart in doing the moderation of this group
> for twenty years and running for fifteen years.
> It is obvious that Stephen, the folks at Wolfram Research, and many of
> the contributors to this group also follow this philosophy.  Thanks to
> all of you.
> Steve Christensen
> Moderator

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