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Comment Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244


I can't count the number of times I've come across an open source project online, and couldn't figure out what it was

When I worked at SourceForge, this was a major thing I worked on. I called it the "Yeah, but what does it *DO*" campaign, and I'd try to get projects to explain what their project was actually for, rather than saying that it was "an effort to build a fast, efficient, best of breed tool XYPDQ object-hierarchical framework" or whatever.

Turns out that a lot of people find this kind of thinking revolutionary. It's honestly eye-opening when you say some people might not know what their whizbang is used for.

Comment Re:You get what you pay for (Score 1) 244

Good documentation is typically not written by "most coders". It's written by writers. Some of us do indeed get a thrill from writing good documentation. I've been doing this for 20 years because it's fun, not because I'm paid for it, in much the same way that you have been coding, because it's fun. Different people find different things fun. The trick is to make it easier for these kinds of people to get access to the communities which are typically coder-dominated. (As you might guess, there's more about this in the article.)

Comment Re:Counterargument: OpenBSD (Score 1) 244

Yes, there are plenty of counterexamples. And those communities - I presume you are referring to Linux? Or did you mean something else? - are remarkably hard for beginners to break into, unless they display a similarly belligerent attitude. Thus, this kind of attitude is self-perpetuating, and it makes it remarkably hard to improve the tone of the community over time. Monkey see, monkey do.

Look, I'm not declaring this to be a theory or a law of community organization. I'm saying that when you're nice to people, you tend to make it easier for them to solve problems.

Comment Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244

As I mention in the article (you did read it, right?) is that there are different voices required for different types of documentation. There's a place for both the "straight to the point" (reference docs) and "conversational" (howtos, more learning-oriented exposition) voices, depending on who you're talking to, and how much they already know.

Submission + - The Apache Software Foundation now accepting BitCoin for donations (

rbowen writes: The Apache Software Foundation is the latest not-for-profit organization to accept bitcoin donations, as pointed out by a user on the Bitcoin subreddit.

The organization is well known for their catalog of open-source software, including the ubiquitous Apache web server, Hadoop, Tomcat, Cassandra, and about 150 other projects. Users in the community have been eager to support their efforts using digital currency for quite a while.

The Foundation accepts donations in many different forms: Amazon, PayPal, and they’ll even accept donated cars.

On their contribution page the Apache Software Foundation has published a bitcoin address and QR code. As of this afternoon, the address has already collected on the order of 4 BTC.

Submission + - Subversion project migrates to Git (

gitficionado writes: The Apache Subversion project has begun migrating its source code from the ASF Subversion repo to git. Last week, the Subversion PMC (project management committee) voted to to migrate, and the migration has already begun.

Although there was strong opposition to the move from the older and more conservative SVN devs, and reportedly a lot of grumbling and ranting when the vote was tallied, a member of the PMC (who asked to remain anonymous) told the author that "this [migration] will finally let us get rid of the current broken design to a decentralized source control model [and we'll get] merge and rename done right after all this time."


Submission + - North Dakota Proposes Ban on Natural Gas Flaring after One Year (

eldavojohn writes: A North Dakota lawmaker has proposed a bill that would ban flaring at oil and natural gas sites after one year of that site's operation. ISS footage has revealed that now large swaths of North Dakota are illuminated at night due simply to flaring from Bakken oil and natural gas drilling. Democratic Sen. Tim Mathern, proposer of the bill, said "It’s bringing a higher quality of life to western North Dakota, it’s putting an end to waste (and) it’s addressing the issue of climate change" and "This is taking a, what I’d call, a step-wise approach in addressing health and waste." In 2011, waste from global flaring equivocated to a fourth of the United State's natural gas consumption. The major difference between this bill and current law is that no exemptions whatsoever will be made. Mathern claimed that 30 percent of natural gas is flared in western North Dakota compared to the national average which is in single digits.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato