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Re: Rules for submitting software... and a more from my soapbox!

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I just read Mark's rules for submittal of spreadsheets and other freeware. I 
might be a bit sensitive to the strict rules considering that most of us are 
donating free software. I just wanted to post this message to let others know 
that I agree entirely with the guidlines that Mark has posted. 

One of the problems that we are experiencing in the evolution of Engineering 
services is the lack of participation from the engineering community as a 
whole. I guess I am a bit disconcerted that in the request I sent for help 
with the CAC and Online Electronic Journal all I received was seven responses 
out of 15,000 subscribers. When we posted issues related to the new UBC 
issues, dozens participated in the debates and believed that much needed to 
be done to correct the problems associated with the new code. However, when 
the issues related to a Virtual Seismology Committee were suggested less than 
10 individuals volunteered to participate. 

The last think I want to do is shame anyone into participating with the 
profession but I can't understand how anyone expects change to occur without 
the participation of individuals to map out the direction that should be 
taken. 

The SEA International Network has come a great distance in the few years it 
has been around, but the maintainance and growth has been the result of less 
than 5% of the profession. Less than 0.25% of the profession are active 
volunteers in the evolution of the Web server, Listservice, Online etc. The 
others are the less than 50 members who participate on the list the majority 
of the time.

I had the opportunity to review the Website. I am not pleased at what I 
found, but would not think for a moment to blame this on Shafat or the few 
others who help maintain the server. The sad fact is that there is a severe 
lack of information that requires volunteers to translate from paper to 
electronic format or to simply help compile existing electronic data to an 
area on the server.  It is a bit more complicated as the information has to 
be addressed so that the engineer searching for it will be able to find what 
he or she needs in the most expedient manner.

None of this will happen without the help of individuals from the community. 

The next time that you find that the profession is not keeping pace with the 
building industry try to understand that this is because we lack the support 
of the members of our profession who failed to help.

Sorry to be so direct, but the more I read Mark's response the more I 
realized that he can not post information to the server if he has to spend 
any more time that he already devotes to the profession - and he devotes a 
great deal of his personal time. Mark has a family like the rest of us. He 
has equal responsiblities as do other members of the Seismology, Education, 
Computer Applications, Existing Buildings and many other committees of SEA, 
AISC, CELSOC and more. Still, his devotion to his profession is above and 
beyond and represents less than 0.25% of the worldwide population of the 
profession that activly particpate in their profession.

Personally, the seven who volunteered for the Online help will make a great 
contribution to Online - seven times more than I have had for most of the 
last seven or eight years. But what about Seismology, Education, Computer 
Applications and the mulitude of other committees that need the help. 

I have been on a soapbox to defend the Listservice and Internet Network as a 
new and endless resource for engineers who never had the opportunities to 
participate and who would like an opportunity to participate and help make 
changes in our profession.

Maybe I was wrong.

Sincerely,
Dennis S. Wish PE
Editor SEA International Online