I've been going through some of the levels and certificates. It's interesting to see the groupings within the Advagato community, with separate clusters producing "Master" levels. This has been my strongest confirmation that the Advogato model is capable of expressing complex behaviour. Independent communities are able to form, rather than being mushed into the site owner's personal preferences. I don't think the current presentation will scale well, but the core concept appears more than sound.
On a different topic, I have enjoyed using free software and it's made my computing experience worthwhile through the Microsoft years, so I had already decided to write and release code under the GPL as a way of contributing back some small part of what I have received.
However, I was more than a little nervous about doing so as I imagined my inbox flooded with various complaints, insults, and ungrateful abuse from the typical Anonymous Coward. It's hard to look forwards to being on the wrong end of the shit stick but I'm used to that sort of thing so it didn't worry me too much. Just not really that much of an incentive, really.
I'm also so sick of hearing people write their opinions about Open Source or Free Software or whatever political issue is the hot topic of the day. I realise that there is a need for these issues to be rehashed over and over again, but I'd really rather just exist within the community without having to talk about it all the time. Nobody talks about air and breathing all the time - we just do it! Instead of a flow of assertions like "Code Must Be Free!", I'd really much rather read about personal experiences.
For this reason, I certified rakholh as a Master when I read his article The Thrill of OpenSource Programming, which gave me a positive insight into what it is like to participate in this adventure. After reading his account, I want to be a part of this experience, rather than just trying to satisfy obligations. I dunno about his code, but it was one of the best reasons to be here that I've read.
In a way, our greatest scientists have all been documenters. They explore their surroundings and write documentation about their understanding of nature. Einstein looked at light and wrote the General Theory of Relativity. What is this famous body of text, other than documentation?
The Gnome developers are creating a new universe of code, and the documenters are our scientists, providing the footholds the rest of us need to understand this strange new world. There's really no such thing as "only the guy who does the documents".
Updated: Changed my certification of rakholh to Journeyer to match his expectations. Original comments still stand though. :)