SAS-L isn't a 'community' in the way that the social media world typically defines community. You won't find Tweating or blogging in SAS-L, and there's no profile to build. But for those who use SAS-L, it is undeniably a community.
SAS-L is a LISTSERV (that's right, we're talking OLD school here and they are proud of it!) where SAS users can tap into a vast, global SAS user network to ask questions, make connections and friends, and share SAS knowledge with others.
And, at least once a year, these 'community members' meet face-to-face to talk about what their accomplishments have been, reminisce about the changes and discuss the community's future evolution. (They also give out awards.) This was the first time that I've been able to attend and meet some of these legends face-to-face.
The state of SAS-L
Mike Rhodes, Art Tabachneck and Joe Kelley presented on the community's behalf. Tabachneck gave us a pretty comprehensive (and witty) stroll through the analysis of the 2011 postings. This is the 26th year of SAS-L, and SAS-Lers contributed nearly 380,000 posts. There are some very serious topics, but you can have fun here, too. Just take a look at the three most popular topics:
- Friday Humor - 92 posts
- Chance to Make SAS-L History - 82 posts
- Eval the expression in variable - 56 posts
According to the data, the highest number of posts in 2011 were from Art Tabachneck; number two was Joe Matisse; and number three was Nat Wooding. The SAS-L statistics show that the number of posts rose steadily until 2007 and have since begun to fall off. Tabachneck suggests - rather tongue-in-cheek - that this is closely correlated to housing prices. When looking at the data, something else may be more obvious.
Other data high marks:
- SAS-Ler with most posts EVER - All-time leader is still David Cassell; number two is Howard Schreier; number three is Toby Dunn.
- Posters with most calendar months with more than 1% of posts - Jack Hamilton still leads the list, followed by Howard Schreier and Ron Fehd. This list is a great indication of the dedication of the SAS-L poster.
- Most consecutive recent weeks with more than 1.6% of posts - Art Tabachneck (Tabachneck built this category so that he could find himself in the data. It got the response he wanted - audience laughter!), followed by Haikuo Bian and Ron Fehd.
- Who has the most to say in 2011? - Tabachneck says please don't take any of these numbers seriously! Tanmoy Mukherjee leads with an average of 2,759 lines in a post, number two is Bhupinder Farmaha with 371, and Ted Kirby with 164.
Kelley finished up this portion of the SAS-L presentation by telling just a couple of improvements that members can look forward to in 2012. He said that the newest version of LISTSERV will be installed soon and the administrators are diligently working to get the RSS feed that SAS-Lers have requested. Kelley says that SAS-L is private to protect its members. If you are interested in subscribing or reading the archives, click here www.listserv.uga.edu.
Ready the confetti
Have you ever noticed that presenters always save the best part for last? That's what it was like for this presentation. Tabachnek was funny and had great slide flair, and Kelley had great information to share. But I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear who was going to take home the gold! Well, here they are:
SAS-L Hall of Fame honors participants who have made outstanding contributions to the group over a period of years. Ian Whitlock was the first in 2000. Art Tabachnek and Jack Hamilton were inducted in 2011.
SAS-L Rookie of the Year recognizes the person new to SAS-L, who is making the most significant contribution to the discussions of the group. "For the first time ever, we have a SAS employee who is the SAS-LROY," said Mike Rhoads. "So, I'd like to congratulate Rick Wicklin." (Earlier in the presentation, Tabachnek told us that in 2011 - for the first time ever - a SAS employee had begun posting to SAS-L. He said that SAS employees are welcome and invited to the community.)
"I've just got to say that you guys and gals are so welcoming, and I felt very welcomed into this SAS community," said Wicklin. "The frequent contributors to SAS-L are legendary at SAS and to be a part of this is just heartwarming. I appreciate this very much. Thank you."
Most valuable SAS-Ler (MVS) recognizes people who contributed most significantly to SAS-L during the past year - Nat Wooding.