My comments between your lines.
First of all I appreciate you taking the time to brain storm with
me/us. I'm sure you're way busier
than I am.
I am aware of your site but I think It doesn't appeal to people
because the interface is poor and you guys
didn't try to "milk" the "ultimate currency" that maters to science
people, i.e, citations. Have some ideas but in a nutshell, if you had
been there, done it, doesn't work.
Still, no reason to be discouraged. Content is as powerful as
software. I don't I need to prove
the previous statement to you
designed a CMS-type site (pretty) where people could link their
scripts to published papers, add comments, etc I think it would have
better chances of taking off. You might have to gather an initial
critical mass of input scripts though. By just looking at the
statistics, the majority of the requests showing on the Lammps list
are related to setting up a system of some sort. Thus, I believe the
input script database has the potential to push Lammps to become the
Gaussian of the classical MD world. But that's just me dreaming here.
the problem is not the hosting. the problem is the culture.
most people that look for help and examples on mailing lists
are at the very beginning of their MD career and are often looking
not for some "good" and "educational" examples, but for something
that does *exactly* what they want to do, without realizing, that
there are no shortcuts in science and that one *has* to learn
certain basics. there ain't no escape from the blues!
Agree on the culture statement. Yet, although most of the posts seem
to come from
newbies I am sure there are more experienced people reading/watching
on the sidelines.
The idea was never to cater to what the newbies might want ('cause in
the majority of
cases they don't even know what they want). The idea is to have
representative scripts of
real life computations, i.e. the PES of alanine dipeptide using the
Amberff03 force field,
a viscosity calculation of liquid hexane using the SLLOD EOM within
NEMD, stuff like that.
Organized in a clever way. Folks that participate in contest like:
have used Lammps for their assignments. I'm sure they wouldn't mind to
scripts given that they were meant to be accessible by a jury anyways.
I never suggested the database to be a vehicle for the beginners to
skip any learning
step but for many of us to avoid rediscovering the wheel. I have no
doubt that changing
the culture will be very hard. This is expected as it is just Newton's
first law of motion (inertia)
so one could make it a little bit easier at the very beginning, but
then the crash is going to be all the harder later on, and matters
only get worse. in any case, at the time when people are the most
capable of providing good help to other newbies, i.e. right after they
figured things out for themselves, most of them are far too intimidated
(better let the "experts" answer that, i cannot afford to expose how
little i know, and it may have misunderstood things and the simulations
in my latest paper could turn be exposed as bogus) or too focused
on producing results with what they just learned, that they will not
want to "waste" time with something that - on the surface - doesn't
provide and personal benefit (only risks).
As to the fear factor... Sure, I can't help it if a researcher likes
to freak out or gets the shivers
when they feel their mistakes might be exposed. But if there is a
"popular" tool that could
give my work better coverage (by sharing my scripts) why wouldn't I
use it? For the less
courageous, linking the scripts to a publication doesn't have to be
mandatory you know?
As to the wasting time, I don't think it would take much time to post
a script with some links
and comments/explanations. We all probably waste much more time
reading our daily emails,
or facebooking somebody, or watching the gangnam style video on youtube
this is ignoring the fact
that one learns *much* more and better by helping others than
through studying yourself. everybody - like you - that makes an
effort to respond and help has to be commended for it and encouraged,
since it *will* pay off. i've been there as well.
thus in order to get real credit for helping other people in whatever
way, we first need a change in culture that people realize that
a) getting (free!!) help is an obligation to help others later on
b) helping and sharing experiences has to be seen as a way to
improve the personal skillset *first* and worth the effort.
c) writing tutorials, providing explanations, adding features to a
software package deserves proper credit just as much as
providing and maintaining it.
Agree on the above.
it is rather particular that at a time when sharing the most trivial
things or the most personal details via social networking is quite
normal, the desire to share useful information with colleagues is
at an all time low, at least based on the mailing lists that i am
subscribed to. the lammps mailing list is a pleasant exception.
I believe more than resources (at least at the beginning) it takes
with little to loose but much to gain to start something like what we
have been discussing
here. Nothing new as it is the same in the entrepreneurial world. And
it will not be
a future academic candidate because they are just too busy trying to
in order to build their CVs. In spite of your negative experience
regarding the topic I still
believe that database could be a very powerful add-on to Lammps.