I pretty much agree with everything that's being said here, including the initial comments that I made above. I should spell out more what I meant to say.
I listed four general "initiatives" above, which I proposed as a framework for engaging further participation in the project, and I asked if there were any others that people had in mind. I'm not sure initiatives was the best word, but I what I was driving at was general causes that people will really care about, on a gut level. Purposes may be a better word. Each one of these can set a context for defining specific projects -- so what I wrote above was just a starting point for brainstorming.
Think about what it would really take to get new people to volunteer some of their precious time to Azimuth. I absolutely agree that we need to get more specific about what are projects are, and how people can concretely chip in, say if they only have 5 hours per week, but are not so motivated to help us figure out how to define our projects. That is what I am, albeit slowly, trying to help the Azimuth Code Project along with, by organizing the TODO list, etc. Though I've gotten slowed down by the infrastructural work, and tsuris at work.
But on a deeper level than whether our projects are vaguely or clearly specified, there is the question of why the work could matter at all to the human condition; the need to answer the skeptical but valid questions: so what? Times are hard and looking like they'll get harder, so there needs to be an "emotional purpose" in order for people to become active despite the temptations to despair.
To me, at least the first three "initiatives" I listed above give a good enough answer to the So What question. The goal of scientific programming for environmental applications, or "green scientific programming," I find to be uplifting, and my gut reaction is, Yes, what can I do to learn more about this, and to help out? That's where we then need to provide some good specifics, in order to engage people to make the step from inspiration to active contribution. Think of all the structure that is used to productively engage programmers in large professional teams, with requirements analysts, software engineers, and what have you. Although we don't need a full-blown "scrum" system, we definitely need more specifics in order to engage people. So, you see, I am agreeing with you guys about this.
I see Green Mathematics as another "purpose." Perhaps John you could think, over time, about some agenda points to structure this, that might give people some guidance about how they can contribute in smaller ways. I know this may be too tall an order, given the complexity and depth of the research -- but maybe it's not. We could put together reading lists, encourage people to talk about category theory in simpler contexts, suggest ways that people can experiment with the parameters for the model of a growing plant leaf,...
John you may well be right that we don't need to add any more "purposes" or projects to our agenda. Perhaps Green Mathematics and Green Scientific Programming are more than enough for now. Think of this thread, then, as a placeholder, in case people come up with other meaningful purposes down the line.
And, to repeat myself for the sake of clarity, I'm not saying that these general goals are enough to engage people, but rather that they provide meaningful contexts for defining specific projects.