Open source slant


#1

Continuing the discussion from What is slant? Is it some kind of generic advisor?:

I’d like to know if there’s any thought about going (or not going) that route!

Or maybe this should be a feature suggestion… :stuck_out_tongue:


#2

I apologize if I’m missing the obvious point being made, but just wondering what would the purpose be for making it open source? Do you mean having multiple sites with independent owners that have permission to set the rules as they see fit? But I don’t mean exactly as one person in charge for this type of role, rather meaning more how Slant goes about this and the other similar methods in the sense that there’s users that have earned permission to be able to participate in the discussion for the site overall. In any case, if this is in someway what you meant, I’m afraid it leaves too much room for modifying the bigger picture of how Slant is used and developed for later additions / modifications. This also includes all the other factors that make this site unique, ranging from the karma system, separation of having slant.co and a meta site, creating pros and cons in a very specific manner including the rest of the overall platform.
Please don’t take my feedback in the wrong way, I like hearing new things that haven’t been mentioned per discussion on the Meta topics and I notice that you have shown enthusiasm for the site as well, which I also respect. My main point for this post is to fully understand more about what you mean in regards to open source.


#3

That’s so very welcomed input! :wink:

First and foremost, a disclaimer: I’m biased on defending open-source. I think almost every piece of code should be opened. If for nothing else, to allow for contributions, bug fixes. One of the things that makes wikipedia so wonderful.

I did think about opening slant, as per the link you probably read, precisely as you say: to have multiple sites with independent owners. I’m not so sure about “that have permission to set the rules as they see fit”. Being open-source would also open it for that, of course, but I don’t think that should be a focus. I’d do it just that first part: to help it grow into other areas much faster.

However, on a second thought, maybe it’s not such a good idea indeed. When you talk about “modifying the bigger picture of how Slant is used”, I agree that probably wouldn’t be good. I see how we’d need some kind of consistency that might get lost in the way. Thanks to that, and so many other details, I wouldn’t know if there’s a right time to go open it, if ever.

That being said, here’s a blog post about some folks who opened their business just for the first reason alone and they couldn’t be any happier: http://blog.codecombat.com/we-have-open-sourced-everything


#4

Nice to hear that you are a supporter, or rather, defender for open-source. Also, like the term :smile:
I have always considered and illustrated the software development world containing 2 types of “camps” - open source advocates and “proprietary for profit” and I have always been drawn towards the open source, which also includes (although a bit off-topic) open to share ideas for the better good. I have actually founded a project via SourceForge in 2006 which was very close to cloud computing but as a Dropbox-like product, which became quickly popular among a small community (around 10-20 devs) who liked the idea but had difficulties to wrap their head around. Since the cloud and products for cloud file storage were just coming out, it’s easy to see why this was a difficulty. Plus, it was a good example and a learning experience of my skills for promoting something that I know is a good idea but lacking the ability to explain it in a way to make it easier for understanding and seeing its potential. However, that skill has been improved but still far from being at an ideal level.
Sorry for going on that tangent, however I just wanted to share my passion for the open source community. That being said, I don’t believe this project’s founder(s) have any bad intent in the sense for being against open source. I admire the system they have in place for outside participation for being a part of its future plans, modifications, and updates.
Although, this is just my own thoughts and in fact have no clue if or what the end goal is, such as getting bought out, or basically for any profitable reason. But at the same time, I don’t care to know as I have no place to speak on that just to name one reason. More importantly, that part of the topic as becoming open source or not, the point that I believe should be made is that it’s not meant for this, for example a platform for other uses, very much similar to how this site is using discourse. The beauty I see in Slant is that its not really a platform that can be applied in other purposes (or at least not yet) but more something that needs to grow and is a platform in itself, which makes so unique. I can’t imagine it being the same product in an open source way as in being used even with the slightest modifications.

The main point I believe should be emphasized in response to your last post

is that it’s important to understand that Slant does welcome valid input for such purposes as you mentioned for why it could be a good idea to make it open source. Although, top users of meta slant do not have permission to contribute on a coding or bug fix level, I believe this is key to understanding the purpose for meta slant site and knowing why the restrictions exist such as viewing, editing, or anything related on the code. Simply said, we have no place for that. To finalize my point, I don’t believe all code should be open for several reasons, but to name one that can relate to this discussion is so that the quality doesn’t get affected.

I hope this was helpful to answer your question in a clear manner and also hope that I am overstepping my place as in talking about specific things in regards to the actual Slant team itself. If so, I apologize.


#5

I actually linked to the wrong blog post there. Here: http://blog.codecombat.com/why-you-should-open-source-your-startup

And a quote from it, which I think sums up a lot of my “if nothing else” reasoning there:

Before we open-sourced, we asked everyone why we might not want to open-source. Advisors were okay with it, but thought game developers might have reasons why we shouldn’t. Game developers liked the idea, but were concerned it would scare investors. Investors were excited about it, but wondered what lawyers might think. Lawyers didn’t see any problems and just told us to run it by our advisors. You can see the pattern here: there’s no real reason to keep it closed, but everyone assumes there is. (It’s kind of like how no one personally had a problem with the cartoon blood the game used to have, but everyone had a proxy concern that teachers / students / parents / kids / girls wouldn’t like it.)

Commenters on Hacker News and reddit supported it, but were cynical that either we’d actually do it or that the overhead of managing an open source project would outweigh the benefits. Some were nervous that other game studies would clone CodeCombat and compete with us, but others countered with reassurances about the value of the brand and community and with that old quote:

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats

Now, your particular project may have a good reason why it needs to be closed source. It might even have some strong indicators that no one would care if you open-sourced it–maybe your users and audience are all non-technical. I’m not saying that everything should be open source, just that everyone should at least consider it.


#6

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I understand now what you meant.