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Welcome to the October 2014 DaniWeb Digest

Was it really two years ago, almost to the week, that DaniWeb hit the magic million mark when it comes to membership numbers? Actually, it really was. Things have slowed down a little since then, in no short measure by changes in the way that Google ranks forums such as ours which has had a most undeserved impact upon traffic coming from those searches which used to drive people in the direction of our friendly, informative and quite frankly unbeatable community. That doesn't mean that we've stopped seeing new members, far from it and, in fact, now have more than 1.1 million registered members. We remain the same hub of developer activity, answering questions, debating new technologies and socializing in equal measure. All of which is down to you, the individual members behind the screens who collectively make us what we are. For that, we thank you and simply ask one favor: please tell your friends and colleagues about us so that we can continue to grow and help more and more people.

A small matter of reputation

DaniWeb has become what it is today thanks to getting a well-deserved reputation for being the place to visit if you want to be part of a friendly and informative tech community. It really is as simple as that. Unfortunately, our in-house community reputation points system apparently continues to confuse some people. As community administrator I (hello, it's me, happygeek in case you wondered) regularly get private messages from members who feel like they are under attack because a post has been down voted or someone has left negative reputation. More often than not, the cause of their frustration is just a misunderstanding of what reputation is, and how the up voting system links in to it. So let me try and explain. Voting, both up and down, is done using those little arrows which appear to the right of every post. Members reading what you have posted, be that a question asked or an answer given, can quickly give you a thumbs up or down if they feel like it. Not everyone does, and there is no predicting what one person might think is good or bad. All these votes do is give an idea of how the community feels about any given post. If something has collected a lot of either, then you can assume it either really likes or hates it. The odd up or down vote should be treated with caution, and you should make up your own mind about the posting in question. Here's the thing though, these votes are anonymous and do not effect member reputation although they do impact upon your overall post quality score which you can see from your profile page. To give reputation points rather than just vote requires that anonymity to be removed and a comment to be left along with the vote. How many points up or down you get as a result depends entirely upon which member is bestowing them upon you. Old timers with high reputation ratings who give reputation will result in larger swings up or down, whereas relative newcomers with low reputation will not make any real impact at all. This is known as rep power, and you can see how much anyone has by looking at their profile page. By way of example, I have the power to increase your reputation by 14 points with a single up vote, and reduce it by 3 with a down vote. Reputation cannot be earned in the community center forums, only in the technical categories. The more reputation you earn, the more trustworthy you are seen to be by the community. Simply voting doesn't impact upon reputation because otherwise those of us with the ability to make an instant difference to your rep would never want to leave an indicator of whether we approve or disapprove of a post for fear of causing rep carnage for no real reason. We think that overall the voting and rep system works quite well, and hopefully this explanation has helped you to grasp where we were coming from when we implemented it.

Member of the Month

This month we are proud to induct L7Sqr into the DaniWeb hall of fame as the member of the month for October 2014. Having joined our community some three years ago, this self-proclaimed 'computer engineer constantly trying to overcome his lack of natural talent' has gone on to make quite an impact. There's the 95% post quality score across more than 1000 contributions, and the consistent help he has given to folk in the C++ and C forums for starters. Let's find out a little more about this great member of the DaniWeb community...

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born and grew up in the greater Philadelphia area. I spent some time in Delaware when I was going to college but came back to my hometown ultimately.

How old are you?

I am 35

What do you do?

I like to say that I play with expensive toys for a living. Officially, I work for an applied research lab that focuses mostly on defense projects. My group deals in the networking space which - at a high level - means we study and develop protocols, engineer the various layers of the networking stack, and basically hack in the networking arena (legacy, MANET, SDN, and so on). Prior to landing this career I was also worked in a printing press, as a carpenter, as a lifeguard, and as a shipping/receiving manager.

Do you have an Operating System preference?

I use the major OS's daily (though I prefer Linux when I can). At work, I have a MAC and Windows laptop for corporate use. My work dev machines are a variety of Linux flavors from Ubuntu to Red Hat. All of these machines are equipped with VirtualBox. At home I have two primary machines - both Linux. One Ubuntu, one Debian. In general, I've been moving toward a virtual workspace. With technologies like VirtualBox it is very easy to carry my current environment everywhere I go. In addition to having my VM available across platforms I've also been trying to push the concept of repeatable research at work. By executing my projects within VMs I can provide an exact environment for proposals, publications, and other efforts without having to worry about maintaining the system as a whole.

What first brought you to DaniWeb?

I followed other members here after there was a community fallout at another forum that I used to frequent. After sampling a few other forums this was the one I remained with after abandoning the rest.

Why do you stay here?

I think what makes me stay at DaniWeb is the members and the fact that there is still the ability for core members to affect change for the better. I am also a member at a few other sites (stackexchange) but while those sites have high quality information there is a feel of constant competition in the activity. Members often have an agenda when
answering posts - trying to be the first or highest ranked, for example. I like that the 'community' here is friendlier than I've experienced at other sites.

What do you think about the Rewards Points system we've introduced?

I had noticed the new post labels and the points system behind that but, so far, have not accumulated enough points to cash out. Though, I'm unclear on what cash out means exactly... if I recall correctly the code snippet contest gave out gift cards as a prize (really awesome idea, by the way); I'd assume something similar here. Whatever actual output I think the notion of giving back to the community is wonderful. (It's cold hard cash via PayPal actually. Ed)

Where do you hang out most on DaniWeb?

In general, you can find me browsing Software Development (C++, C, Shell Scripting, Computer Science), Hardware & Software (Linux and Unix, Networking), and the Ruby forum under Web Development. My strengths have traditionally been C, C++ and shell so I try to be helpful there. Though, as C++ is evolving I am falling farther behind the curve there. I've also recently been moving toward other environments such as Haskell, Erlang, R and other functional-like languages. Languages (and their design) have always been interesting to me so when I get a chance to try something new I usually do - even if it is only for a short while. I'd like to spend more time in the interactive portions of the site (chat and community center) but with work and other responsibilities my time is limited.

What do you like to do offline?

I have always been a bit of a thrill seeker. I've been sky-diving and scuba diving. I also like paint ball and have drifted my truck. I have tattoos and, in the past, had piercings (though, they are removed now that I work in a professional environment). I also like to bowl. I haven't been active for a while but when I was I carried a 192 average.

What's the best, and worse, thing about DaniWeb?

I've already covered DaniWeb's best quality above - the community feel is really what keeps me coming back. However, if I could change one thing I would like to see an option to personalize the feed for forums I frequent the most. The option to have a 'my feed' tab that would aggregate the set of forums I'd like to follow into a single stream would be great.

Any interesting secrets about yourself you want to share?

There aren't many fascinating things about me, really. I carry 4 lucky coins with me everywhere I go: they are from various places over the world that I've visited. I am also terrified of public speaking.

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