[ANN] Looking for folks to help with a collaborative Ruby blog


Gregory Brown

[I've been having RubyTalk issue, so I'm reposting this. Apologies if
it shows up N-times]

Hi folks,

A while ago I registered rubybestpractices.com, but I'd like to do
more with it than just redirect to a ordering page for my book.

I am trying to get together some volunteers (maybe 5 or 6) to work on
a collaborative, themed Ruby blog with me. If you're interested,
read on.

== Background ==

Over the last several years, I posted frequently on the O'Reilly Ruby
blog, because I believed in the idea. The original plan was to pick
10 or so community active Rubyists and have them blog in the same
place to pool readership and give visitors a chance to see Ruby
through a diverse set of eyes. However, that blog ended up having
all sorts of problems, most of which I won't get into here. But one
underlying issue that I think was a major problem was a lack of
control given to individual blog authors.

== Ideas ==

So now, I'd like to start a "Ruby Best Practices" blog, but I feel
it'd be a bit pretentious if I was posting alone. I am looking for a
few folks who are interested in joining up to help out as
collaborators. This project is very much still in its early stages,
but I want to allow the folks who join the effort to help me form the
overall vision for the blog. Here are some of my initial ideas:

* Aside from being hosted on the same domain as the website for my
book, the blog will remain free of advertising

* Individual authors should get a lot of control, able to freely
modify their own about page, having an author specific RSS feed, no
moderation, etc.

* The focus will be on a "Best Practices" theme, but only loosely. I
want the blog to be code heavy and do source diving into open source
projects frequently. The theme is more on practical but beautiful
Ruby code cooked up in our own projects, and seen in the wild. The
target audience will be fairly wide, but our goal should be to show
the competent but unenlightened programmer how to hack like a Ruby

* After the initial group of folks are selected for this blog, new
members will not be added without the overall consensus of the group.
This means that dilution (both in content and overall 'feel') is not
something we'll need to worry about.

* We will use an open source, hackable blog engine so that when we
want new glittering features, we can just add them.

== What's in it for you? ==

I don't want to oversell the benefits of this project. Mostly, if
you've wanted to participate in a collaborative Ruby blog with other
hackers from the community in a place that might eventually see a lot
of traffic, this might be a good opportunity.

In all likelihood, you won't make money from this directly. I can't
pay you for your work, and I don't want to turn the blog into an
advertising sink hole. We might think of clever ways to monetize
this down the line, but that is not the goal at all. The goal is to
build a kick-ass resource for Rubyists with a focus on well written,
interesting content.

So the major gain is the network effect of doing this together.
You'll be given a ton of freedom as to what you can post, and your
individual identity will be highlighted throughout the blog, allowing
readers to easily get direct access to your content. You'll also be
able to help shape the overall vision of things, so it'll feel less
like you're playing in someone else's ballpark.

== Who am I looking for? ==

What I'd like to see is a group with some diversity, but with the
common ideal of preserving "Old School" Ruby ideas while remaining
progressive in the post-Rails world. You don't necessarily need to
be internet famous, and you don't need to be a rock star. However,
since this blog will be aimed at curating what we see as some of the
"Best Of" Ruby techniques and practices, I'm looking for people with a
decent amount of experience.

Here are some of the qualifications I've come up with:

* You know enough cool stuff about Ruby that not just our readers
will learn, but that each of the bloggers involved in this project
will learn from each other as well.

* You're a skilled writer, not just a great hacker. This doesn't
mean you'll need to be an essayist, but you should be able to
communicate clearly.

* You're community active in some way, either through hacking on
open source code, answering questions on mailing lists, or blogging

* You're willing to write at least one substantive post a month,
ideally posting at least once every week or two.

* You might be controversial at times, but you're not a jerk. You
know what MINASWAN is, and follow it when you can.

* You are interesting. I'll leave that one completely open ended,
but note that I don't want posts like "7 great Rails pluginz"

Maybe this sets the bar a bit high, but I'm convinced that something
really good could come out of a few like-minded folks working together
on this.

== Interested? ==

If you have general questions / comments, please feel free to discuss
them here. I'll do my best to make this as transparent a process as

If you'd like to volunteer to work on this with me, send me a direct
email letting me know why you think you're a good fit for this
project. A paragraph or two of introduction would be fine, followed
by links to Github, RubyForge, various mailing lists, blogs, and other
places where you've made useful contributions to the community.

I'll give folks a week to decide if this is interesting, and pick my
group some time on April 4th. We'll then get together and plan
collaboratively how this project should work.


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