Review process for some Advogato articles?

Posted 13 Nov 1999 at 13:30 UTC by lolo Share This

I think advogato is a great idea, and I would would like to contribute some ideas to it. Please read and give me some feedback.

Introduction

Some people think that Free Software is so good because of the peer review process applied to it, and IMHO they are at least partly right.

Advogato certification is a kind of peer review process, but applied to individuals. I think that it would be great to extend this review process to (at least some) of the articles published on Advogato.

Selected articles would go through a review/improvement process, and would be published on Advogato when it is approved by the reviewers.

The resulting article could be published on Advogato with a "quality label", certifying that it's an article that has been carefully reviewed.

Motivation

My idea is not at all that all articles on Advogato go through this kind of process, but that authors who want it could use this kind of mechanism to improve the quality of their articles.

I don't know about you, but it happens sometime that I have ideas that look good (at least in my mind :-), but I've not enough knowledge or *experience* to refine them and express them and share them appropriately.

If I could get some help to develop these ideas, maybe they could be useful to other people, and if they are naive I would be told so (gently I hope :-)).

Examples

Here are a few personal ideas for articles that would benefit a lot from the input and review of Advogato members:

  • Using profiling tools:

    There are a lot of Free Software tools out there that can help us to better the quality of our software, but I'm convinced that only a few of us are using them (I do not personally :-(). I'm convinced that some of us could share a valuable experience on this subject, and give us some words of wisdom.</li>

  • Writing documentation for users:

    We are mostly people concerned with the technical side of programming, and there are some people really skilled to create end-user documentation out there, maybe they could share with us some ideas about good ways to organize documentation, the content the user is expecting to find in such documentation, and how to make him feel comfortable.</li>

  • Case study: use of extension languages in applications.

    Being able to extend an application using a kind of script language is good idea. There are some very good example of this with Emacs(elisp), Gimp(scheme, perl, python, whatever...), and others. Also with the advent of CORBA in GNOME and KDE there are some new ways to extend application functionality.

    People involved in such projects could give us a valuable feedback about using the various extension languages available (Tcl, scheme, python, guile, perl, etc...), basing their explanations on their real world experience.</li>

You probably have your own ideas by now.

Call for feedback

I have now some questions for you:

  • Does this fit the mission statement for Advogato, or am I completely out my mind this morning?</li>
  • Is it overkill?</li>
  • Would you like to write an article and have it reviewed/improved by others, and then have it published on Advogato with an extra "quality label"?</li>
  • What process could we set up for the approval of such articles?</li>
  • Could Advogato be extended to support this process?</li>

Please let me all know what you think about it.


Re: Review process, posted 13 Nov 1999 at 15:49 UTC by raph » (Master)

Very intriguing idea!

I think you are absolutely right about the central role that peer review plays in the free software process. It's definitely one of the good things free software has in common with science (argued in Shoulders of Giants by Con Zymaris).

Your idea of making article review voluntary is intriguing as hell. I hadn't thought of that before. I can't think of how many Slashdot stories turn out to be hoaxes or misinformation with even a small amount of digging. The review process would help a lot with that kind of thing.

Your ideas for articles all seem quite interesting and relevant to Advogato. I'm wondering if there's some way we can hack a prototype of the process using existing tools. Maybe send me email if you're interested in taking one of these on.

In answer to your questions, this definitely fits in with Advogato's mission. It's overkill now, when most everyone seems quite timid about posting, but my sense is that as Advogato scales up, it won't be. And yes, the Advogato code could be extended to support this. It's free software, after all! (I'm putting up a code release this morning, warts and all)

Thanks greatly for the feedback. The most exciting thing for me about Advogato is that we have the chance to work together to make this a great site.

Let's try that..., posted 14 Nov 1999 at 16:17 UTC by lolo » (Journeyer)

OK, I've carefully thought about it, and I've come to the conclusion that the only way to make this happen, is to just try to do it :-).

I'll try to write an article, and submit it for public review, and I will use this experiment as basis to determine how support for this could be implemented in Advogato.

Off Topic: Raph could it be possible to preview post and replies before they are committed to the site. This would help a lot to fix formatting problems.

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