Thursday, December 01, 2022

How do we keep the community connected?

A colleague said how they enjoyed watching the collapse of Twitter under Elon Musk. But I use Twitter to keep connected to the CS community. In Twitter I hear not only new results but ones that excite particular people. I watch the debate between those who see ML as revolutionary and those who see ML as revolting. I see the issues that our community worries about and those that they celebrate. I follow people as they progress in their careers or outright change them. Mostly it just makes me feel part of an academic community that goes beyond my own institution. 

A bit surprisingly, so far Twitter hasn't collapsed. But it could and I expect many of my followers and those I follow spend less time there. I set up a Mastodon account but not much happens over there, though feel free to tell me who I should be following. There are many other social networks but none that bring us as a field together.

Blog posts and their comments play a role but not like they used to. There's CS Theory StackExchange which has some good (and not so good) technical discussions but we don't really have conversations there. 

How about conferences now that researchers are (mostly) willing to attend in person? Since conferences in CS are the primary publication venue, we have too many meetings and many won't go, or at least won't go in person, if they don't have a paper in the conference.

So, once again, I suggest a big theory conference we hold every four years that everyone who's anyone will make sure to attend. Hey, it works for the World Cup. 


  1. It looks like associations are starting to have presence on Mastodon, although maybe not with their own instances. I just learned of

  2. PS: Why not attach to the FOLLI conferences?

  3. This seems like an example of "be the change you want to see in the world". If you think Mastodon is the future you want, then stop Tweeting, stop putting Tweets in your blog's sidebar and start putting Mastodon in your sidebar, and convince a few other high profile people to do the same. If you think there are too many conferences, then stop refereeing and submitting for them.

  4. Unknown is mostly right, but submitting to conferences is sometimes unavoidable (in particular for papers with a junior co-author). Changing our publication model cannot be left only to individuals, it has to be a collective decision.

  5. This opinion seems interesting. I agree with this opinion in a sense that it might bring more possibilities in participation.