On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM, Oliver Moran <oliver.moran(a)gmail.com> wrote:
It is a disappointment in some respects that Stack
Overflow uses proprietary software (not least because it is so wonderful) but in all other
respects, as a community, they do a great job. I have had wonderful experiences with them
and I would urge anyone to get behind them.
I like their spirit and community too. I would be happy to see a
wikipedia StackExchange site exist. But it won't contribute to the
global free toolchain for collaborative knowledge that we are part of
-- that will have only limited long-term value.
Proprietary software is often inefficient for developing good and
flexible toolchains, and subject to risks of external control and
monopolistic pricing. It also tends to be inefficient for users at
scale. We have a good bit of scale -- we might want a few instances
of whatever Q&A tool we use -- and lots of custom existing help
processes which we'd want to integrate into a Q&A system (aude listed
a few of them).
Sure, they do things slightly differently — but that
doesn't mean they do things wrong.
From the perspective of our mission, they are indeed
wrong. [From the perspective of running a small business, they may be
doing just fine.]
Effective access to collaborative knowledge is important to a
harmonious society. As a result, basic knowledge-sharing tools and
toolchains should be free, for any sort of use, customization, and
improvement. The universal value of a Q&A system is directly tied to
the importance that good free tools should be available to set one up.
We want to support these free toolchains, which is why we release all
of our own code, and also why, when there are good free versions of
proprietary tools, we should support them and help them grow. That
support is one of the ways we contribute to the greater movement, and
has a lasting value to other knowledge projects around the world.
There's no need to re-invent the wheel.
Noone has suggested building our own Q&A tool, but rather choosing one
of the available free-software tools.
Whether we host that ourselves or not is a separate question. Both
OSQA and Question2Answer offer hosted services.
(However we don't want one of our services vulnerable to being shut
down by an unfriendly host, so any solution we use must be one that we
could choose to host ourselves, if necessary.)
the main advantage is that your putting it under a
name and community
who are already experienced at doing really good QA - so your seed of
volunteers is going to be that much better! You will get SE veterans who are
also Wiki editors that will be much more inclined to contribute, for
example. With a site such as this, kudos and points means everything -
because answering questions (especially the horribly mundane ones..) is
tedious and boring work. And SE have nailed that vibe.
I agree that they have nailed that vibe. Quora have tapped into it as well.
It is a valuable vibe :-) and also one deeply rooted in human nature,
like wiki editing.
For precisely the reasons you mention, it is important for us to have
a better in-house QA tool. We need a better channel for the people
who are in that zone to shine on Wikipedia -- beyond simply manning
the Reference Desk and similar pages in various languages (which many
hundreds of them already do).
We have some pretty stellar community groups to seed such a site with
ourselves -- and this will offer a place for many more who are
nonplussed by wiki editing to get involved and stay involved.