Yesterday, a certain member of SIPB has accused me of never having contributed anything productive to SIPB. The effect of the outrage of the moment aside, let’s consider this claim, in case people had doubts.
What have I done for SIPB?
Let’s start with serving as Treasurer for a year. I helped people get reimbursed for their events for the board, and I fulfilled office supply requests when they were made. In addition to this, I am currently in my third semester serving as Member at Large.
I have presided over 8 meetings. I have taken minutes for 14 meetings. Both of these are despite never having been elected Chair or Secretary.
I co-organized SIPB’s 45th Reunion with the help of…just kidding, both my co-organizers ditched the effort, so for a substantial time, I was single-handedly organizing SIPB’s 45th Reunion. Fortunately, on the day-of, the Reunion was saved from understaffed disaster due to the wonderful help of A. Carney (as well as some contributions from one of the alums attending the event, J. Kamens). In addition to this, J. Dove credits me upon my nomination for helping with the former year’s LibrePlanet, but I would honestly say that what I helped with there was insignificant enough to not necessarily deserve mentioning, though I appreciate the callout.
Although I must credit M. Ong for the bulk of the work, I contributed to building sipb-door.mit.edu, helping prospective members, visitors, and people seeking computer help evaluate an empirical likelihood that the office will be staffed at a time of day.
I wrote the mu script for easy piping to zsr, which M. Young later developed into his sipb-play script.
I have numerously contributed to the spreading of technical knowledge for SIPB. I have instructed for SIPB IAP as well as Cluedumps, multiple times, including “Introduction to Athena”, which helps orient students with MIT’s computing environment. I have more than once taught for a Cluedump, and afterwards helped file a reimbursement for L. Foner, dedicated Cluedumps organizer who among other things provides food for Cluedumps, thus contributing to SIPB multifacetedly in the same day.
The frequency with which I have worked in the SIPB office has led to me helping dozens of members of the MIT community with computing help, including both people walking in and people calling the office on the phone. Although I have often been unable to answer their questions, I have definitely became more able to as time went on and have been otherwise usually able to redirect them to someone helpful.
I have been crucial to helping the office stay organized and usable. As Office Czar, I brought about the latest iteration of organization to the Office Monolith (with some help from A. Carney), and later I brought order to the Lovecraftian anarchy of the SIPB cables drawer with help from V. Vasiliev. I later also helped organize the now-called Duolith. I provided the handy classroom chart which aided in scheduling choices, until it became outdated and the registrar improved its online scheduling widgets, of course.
I have massively contributed to humor for SIPB, which I’m willing to grant is reasonable to believe doesn’t count as truly helping SIPB. These contributions include, as far as I know, the first text adventure written in Moira, and the various documents on visitors being allowed to use the stapler (including the paper).
And, in my opinion, one of my biggest roles in SIPB was in bringing great people to the organization. I have, up to now, nominated a total of ten people to membership in SIPB (in forward chronological order, I. Chung, B. Chen, A. Carney, L. Foner, S. Robinson, P. Samaratunga, S. Duchovni, M. Young, N. Nchinda, and L. Yang), that is, tied with E. Yang for the greatest number of nominations made among the last 15 years of SIPB, and more than three times as many nominations as the next-most-nominating person who has never been chair. (I’d like to also point out that unlike E. Yang, I’m still active, so my number may just increase.) Of course, nomination is not that well correlated with introduction (I definitely feel that credit for introducing L. Yang to SIPB, for instance, M. Young deserves far more than I do), all of these people have probably other forces that attracted them to SIPB, and I’d also definitely not want to claim credit for what these wonderful people have brought to SIPB; the endlessly awesome things they’ve done for SIPB while I wasn’t doing awesome things I have no right to the credit for. I’d just like to present this statistic as a suggestion to the magnitude by which I have helped build the current SIPB population. The vast majority of people in that list above are people that have stayed and continued to contribute to SIPB, not people that disappear upon receiving membership; I have helped nominate people that make stuff happen in SIPB. I’d also suggest something about people that I’ve introduced to services SIPB provides, although I’d disclaim that even though arrows in that chart are credited by the people the arrows point to, the fact that I maintain the chart means that there’s an awareness-that-this-exists bias towards people that I know.
That’s some of the things I have done for SIPB.