Meta: are Project Promotions Acceptable as Articles?

Posted 23 Jun 2002 at 14:53 UTC by shlomif Share This

There are many sites I try to visit regularily to find out about interesting or innovative projects: Freshmeat, SweetCode, Brave GNU World and more. I don't see Advogato as one of them or a site that intends to. Yet I keep seeing those project promotions here.

Advogato is a site about Open-Source Advocacy. As such it is concerned with meta-issues rather than each developer trying to promote his own toy project. That is my opinion and how I understand this site.

Even if you are trying to promote your projects (and there's nothing wrong with it) I think you might be doing it the wrong way. The best way to promote a project in the long run is to make a constant effort in maintaining and enhancing it (as long as you don't lose interest) and making periodical announcement to Freshmeat, and relevant mailing lists or Usenet groups. Eventually, enough people would notice you. (ESR elaborates on it in his excellent paper The Cathedral and the Bazaar)

If you are looking for developers, I'm not sure you are going to find them here. People here have their own interests and usually suffer from lack of time, and the most you'll get is a few mailing-list lurkers.

Project promotions?, posted 23 Jun 2002 at 16:01 UTC by mglazer » (Journeyer)

A good idea would be to have a article submission filter unlike a wiki but more like the sites you mentioned to maintain a on-topic flow control for the article submissions.

It takes a level away from the free flow and dispension of information to all equally but it allows for a easy block of off-topic articles.

This way a elite few of trusted managers get to decide who or what type of articles get posted from all the submissions. This may clog things up, take extra time, and slow down releases from the time they are posted.

The upturn is a group of the top people on this site get to decide who's articles get posted and this will maitain a topical article submission flow and keep the self promotion to a limit and trusted few who of course deserve it only. While this may be undemocratic or Wiki like, it may be burdensome and restrict the free flow of information it woudld be more efficient and less prone to problems.

A more democratic approach maybe to have a 'holding bin' of recent dated submissiosn that people can read (off of the homepage) vote on to which gets posted on the homepage based on number of votes and user certification level.

hmmm., posted 23 Jun 2002 at 17:31 UTC by async » (Journeyer)

While "Advogato" is a pun on the word "advocate," the goal of this site is quite different than the usual sense of OS advocacy or free software advocacy. Advogato's advocacy is for developers of free software: to make life more enjoyable, the work more satisfying, and to help balance the tension between the free nature of the enterprise and the human need for tangible compensation. Advogato doesn't care about the market share growth percent of the free software operating systems. What Advogato cares about is how to make the best use of the opportunities, and deal with the challenges, that this growth is creating.


Keep it free, posted 23 Jun 2002 at 18:24 UTC by amars » (Journeyer)

While it's a annoying to see some overzealous programmer shamelessly promote their own creation or someone without any clue abusing the intentions of the site, i think advogato should remain a forum which fosters free and open discussions, regardless of content.

Advogato is only what we make of it, it is and will continue to be a good thing. I think a better solution to eliminating "abuses" would be to raise the bar on content by submitting better articles, the trolls will weed themselves out, if not so be it, we can ignore the articles like i and many do quite often. I *want* to see better content, but i'm not too terribly worried about self promotion here, the advogato "community" on the whole is full of alot of bright individuals who can make their own decisions as to whether or not an article is worth reading.

Self-promo okay, meta not!, posted 23 Jun 2002 at 20:05 UTC by mpawlo » (Master)

I actually like reading the self-promotional articles on Advogato and I read the recentlog almost on a daily basis. It's not that it's great food for thought, but it's an easy way of keeping track of the movers and shakers. Bear in mind - I am not a developer myself. Something that really annoys me, though, are discussions about the discussion. Meta-articles are often boring and almost everytime submitted by rookies that wants to tell everyone how things ought to be run.

Perhaps I'll be bold, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 03:11 UTC by deekayen » (Master)

and point out what I think everyone else is thinking. mglazer, I'm pretty sure post was written in response of "Zope Replication in PHP", for which you ironicly replied that there should be a submission filter added.

Anyway, I'm against a submission filter. Leave advogato open. Articles on the front page arn't abused enough IMO to need any sort of filtering other than the metric right now.

RE: Perhaps I'll be bold, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 04:01 UTC by mglazer » (Journeyer)

Be bold, by all means, it sometimes clears up the unobvious.

I was sarcastic.

Advogato is unique until itself with its freedom publishing.

Plugs, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 05:08 UTC by Zaitcev » (Master)

I happen to stand and fall by a certain project, so it is only natural that every second entry in my diary is a plug (though I am not going to embed a URL here, in the article reply :). Next you are going to prohibit Raph to plug Fitz, I take it. Sorry, buddy, can't go along with this agenda.

Re: Plugs, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 12:33 UTC by Denny » (Journeyer)

I think the article is quite specifically about articles, not diary entries and comments...


Two clarifications, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 15:06 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

1. I have no intention of disallowing free postings of articles here. On the contrary. What I want is that promotions of projects to be frowned upon but naturally not forbidden.

2. I have no intention to censor what people write in their diaries. By defintion they can put there everything they like including progress reports of their projects. I was talking about the editorials that are posted here.

RE: Two clarifications, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 15:19 UTC by mglazer » (Journeyer)

"what i want is ... for it to be frowned upon."

Holy maloney!

The up and coming Emotions Police dept. right behind the pre-crime one hehe.

Part and parcel, posted 24 Jun 2002 at 15:44 UTC by tk » (Observer)

Project promotions are part and parcel of the open source scene. Announcing a project of yours is a way to tell others what you are working on, and watching project announcements is a way for people to keep tabs of the latest developments in the scene.

Though, I don't like to see the silly sort of marketing drivel that often comes with proprietary software (usually just lots of meaningless terms strung together into complete phrases, e.g. "Connect Business Objects to Network Sinks Using State-of-the-Art Dynamic Linking Technology"), but I've yet to see such things here.

Promotions OK by me, but keep them technical, posted 25 Jun 2002 at 01:10 UTC by goingware » (Master)

I don't see a problem with promoting one's own project in an article as long as there is some content to the article aside from shameless self-promotion.

For example, in announcing the new release of some package, I would suggest that an appropriate article would be an introduction to its architecture, an "expert-level" introduction to its use, or a discussion of problems encountered during development and how they were resolved.

I personally find it very useful to promote both my projects and my consulting business by posting articles in various places on the web. But I try very hard to make these articles genuinely useful in themselves - I want to give people value in return for them taking the time to read them.

The fact is, I wrote an article last week that I plan to post here soon, maybe tonight. On the one hand it could be considered shameless self-promotion (spouting off about my programming skills) on the other hand it's something really cool that I learned a little while back that I don't see used very much, and I think others would find it helpful if I posted the article here.

plug your project if you enjoy doing so, but do so humbly, posted 25 Jun 2002 at 06:23 UTC by bdodson » (Journeyer)

Advogato is here as a place to make talk about open source software, and to make open source software development more enjoyable. Interestingly, many open source developers enjoy talking about their projects.

I usually limit mention of my projects to my diary, but if I had something to say that I thought might be of general interest or that I thought might generate some interesting follow-up discussion, then I suppose I'd say it in an article. I would not shamelessly plug my software through an article, though. I don't think that would earn me much respect here, and if enough people took exception, I suppose it might cost me my ability to post.

If you feel that some individual is abusing their priviledge to post articles, don't certify them to a level that allows posting. Trust the trust metric to keep Advogato clean.

My thoughts, posted 25 Jun 2002 at 06:51 UTC by raph » (Master)

I think project promotion is fine. The important thing is for front-page posts to be interesting and well-written. Good questions to ask include: am I teaching something useful? Do I expect to learn something? If so, the project promotion form is just as good as anything else, and is at least clear in terms of motivations.

Uninteresting and poorly written postings are, of course, not particularly welcome, whether they are self-promoting or not. I've been tossing around ideas for a "drafts" system that will help people get feedback on these points before posting to the front page, but it hasn't risen to the top yet.

(Meta-meta: I feel the same way about meta posts. Ok, two levels of meta is enough. I promise not to do any more meta than that. Oops, sorry, that was three. Ah, fuck it.)

self-promo is good, posted 26 Jun 2002 at 00:25 UTC by nymia » (Master)

It usually requires a lot of courage and determination for one to submit an article containing technical information. It somehow mirrors an academic setting wherein the creator tries to defend the concept in front of a scrutinizing public. These are the kind of articles I usually look for and not the commercial stuff found on mags and ezines. Commercial articles are basically watered-down versions of the original material, containing a lot of snippet materials plus the author's commentary.

I would rather see the creator describe, rationalize and defend his/her own work rather than somebody telling it like a newscast item.

Maybe a delay would be more appropriate, posted 28 Jun 2002 at 03:53 UTC by johnnyb » (Journeyer)

Maybe it would be more appropriate to have a pre-submission area that users can simply tell the authors if they think it's appropriate. The user can move it forward or not no matter what others think, but at least they would have some community input before going onto the front page.

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