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On Identity

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Bob Davis

Member info

User since: 02 Aug 1999

Articles written: 15

Some thoughts on identity

I ran across a link to the site today that got me thinking about evolt, who we are, and what we are.

It read "(Tangentially related: Evolt blasts WaSP.).

The implication in the quote from Zeldman is that we are a group of one mind, a collective, that every article posted on the site is an "Approved Statement Of Opinion" that has come down from the suits on the top floors of the Monolith. That's not the case at all, really (not even close), but it's interesting to consider how we came to be seen this way.

Some History

A couple years ago, a bunch of folks on the (now very ill) MonkeyJunkies list were appalled that the great content and information that they were contributing in the name of helping other web developers had become the property of HotWired. Nobody saw it coming, nobody liked it. What did they do? They created - where your words are yours. A mailing list was created, and a site was built. The idea was (and is) that anyone with something to share about web development could post their articles/opinions/news on the site and write to the list where it would be discussed. Great things would happen (and have) and everyone would learn (we have). It's working very well.

There is a small group of list/site Admins (I'm one of them) who make sure that the articles submitted are on topic and that the HTML in them is correct. If we find typos or grammatical errors we either fix them or ask the author to fix them (depending on how involved it is - we aren't really editors). We don't censor people, and we don't deny articles that we ("we" being the particular admin looking at an article submitted for approval) just don't agree with. It's not our job to filter content in this manner - open discussions work a lot better and create a stronger community.

As for who can submit articles - anyone. All you need is a username and you can submit articles and comment on existing articles.

Who we are is not some faceless entity and we're not the admin group - we're all of the various people who read and contribute to the site and the mailing list. There may be some people who are more active on the site than others, but there are over 1,000 registered users in the mailing list, and almost 2,000 in the site.

While there is an administrative group, we don't take any editorial control over submissions other than to check appropriateness, spelling and code. If it's on topic, it'll be posted. If it's "HOW TO MEET THE WOMAN OF YOUR DREAMS AND MAKE MILLIONS IN THE PROCESS!!!!", it won't. It's that simple. In this light, the admins are more janitors than rulers - most of the tasks involved are mundane. is a community of professional web developers with no other purpose than to be the best we can be. There's no agenda, no cause. We just want to be able to do our jobs better.

Other Voices

On the first anniversary of, a few people (myself included) wrote articles describing what means to them.

The point is that we are thousands of people with our own strong opinions on everything. We like to talk about it all and we like to fight passionately for our point of view. We aren't really even an organization (despite the .org TLD), but rather more of a loose group of people who look to each other for answers, support, and the occasional laugh. The day we all agree on everything is the day we should hang it up - there's just too much to be gained from arguing our perspectives.


Bob is a Product Manager for Rackspace Hosting in San Antonio, TX. He hasn't built a web site in years, now. All of his articles on this site are old old old! Hopefully they are still useful for someone!

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