*sigh* Work sucks. I've been installing cable modems for over three years now. It was actually kinda fun when I started....unfortunately, there is absolutely no challenge anymore, I'm not learning anything interesting, and I feel like I'm wasting my time. The only reason I'm still there is because they pay reasonably well for part time work, and work around school haflway decently. It's odd, but I actually wish they didn't pay as well and work around classes as well. It'd make it a lot easier to move on to something different. I wish more companies would be willing to take people on part time in technology positions. Oh, well. I guess I'll keep persevering until I gradgimitate or find something better.
Trust, Ratings, Advogato...
In the wake of the numerous articles and such about advogato and it's trust metric, I've decided to go ahead and throw out my oppinion. I think the advogato style community could be a good idea, but I don't entirely agree with how it's done here. First of all, I don't think programming skill or how much you've contributed to open source projects should have much of anything to do with it. In addition, if you're going to have more than one trust level, you really ought to attach meaning to them. For example, instead of rating programming experience, let's just use it as a basic level of trust here. Let me try to explain.
You've just come across advogato, and you think to yourself that this is a pretty nifty place. So, you go ahead and set up an account for yourself. You are now an Observer. At this point, you can't really do anything, except for read. This lasts for a mandatory week or so, basically so you can get a feel for the site before you are allowed to post.
After your initial week as an Observer, you are automatically moved up to the next level, say Novice. At this point, you are allowed to post personal diary entries, but nothing more. This stage should prolly continue until a combination of a certain number of diary entries have been posted, a certain number of people have certified that you aren't a complete fool (based on your diary entries) and a minimum time period.
After you've proven that you can contribute in your own little way, and by doing diary entries, you've shown everyone else a little bit about you, your interests, and why you're here, you will be bumped up to the next level, which could be called Apprentice. Understand that an apprentice is not someone to be looked down upon, but simply somone who is still learning. You now will be capable of participating in discussions on the main page, by posting replies to articles. Ideally, these discussions would be threaded for ease of understanding and to aid in the flow of the discussion. This stage would generally last for another few weeks, perhaps until a certain number of comments or additional diary entries were posted, a certain number of 'approval' certifications, whatever.
Eventually, you would pass on beyond that, and enter the Adept level. At this level, you can post articles on the front page, along with everything else. At this point, you have become adept at participating in the Internet Community.
By now, you've prolly noticed a few things. First of all, this style would encourage the majority of people to eventually become Adepts. This is because I think everyone has the potential to be at the same level, and it also removes some of the elitism that many people feel is espoused on advogato. There is no reason to place someone up on a pedestal here, simply because they have more experience or 'visibility' as an open source programmer. Heck, I know people here who could blow me away with their coding skill, and yet I'm a Journeyer and they're just Apprentices. This should be about the community, not just on wizbang coding skill.
I would also suggest changing the certification system. Instead of certifying people by specifying a certain level, just make it an 'approval' certification. The number of them will determine the level, along with other factors such as how long they've been around, how many diary entries they've posted, etc. With this system, people should also be encouraged to certify people more readily. Because you are no longer certifying based on a skill set that most people could never really know about other people they've never met or really worked with, it should be easier to certify people. You're no longer saying, "This person is a 'master'". You're now just saying, "Hey, I've read a diary entry or two, and an article reply, from this person, and they seem pretty cool. I'm going to go ahead and certify them with my approval." Certification from someone at the Adept level should prolly carry slightly more weight than someone at a lower level, and so on, but there should only be one certification type.
Opinions anyone? I know it's not perfect, but I think this could make a slightly improved Internet Community site.
It's been remarked a few times that it becomes difficult to follow diaries becuase of the number of entries, and the fact that once they scroll off of the recent entries page, there is no way to keep track of them. I think it would be very cool if we did have diary entry replies and threading, although I think each person should be able to choose whether such links are visible from their own personal informaiton pages.
I also think it'd be really cool if you could view diary entries by project membership groupings. This type of feature could make a system like Advogato's really helpful as an informal group collaboration tool on projects. It could go a long ways towards helping keep everyone informed of what everyone else is doing.
Sleep before shootings...
Okay, now that I've written an entry that was too long, and on a topic that a lot of people are prolly tired of reading about, I'm going to bed before I get shot or anything. ;-)