You may have noticed posts by a few really really smart individuals here over the past weeks. I feel like I should explain what’s going on and attempt a basic description of what I hope lesscode.org might become. Keep in mind that this is all very much a pipe-dream at this point.
About a month ago I sent an invitation to a handful of people that I feel have an excellent grasp on the history and potential of the web and IT in general and invited them to post here (I don’t feel comfortable listing names because I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up). The list was small but the group covered an insane amount of expertise in technologies like PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, Rails, Apache, HTTP, Web Architecture, XML, AJAX, Microformats, Syndication formats, and much more.
There are a few common threads that I felt ran through the group:
Each person has demonstrated a strong understanding of the web and the tools/principles that underly it.
Each had excellent writing skills and a passion for communicating.
Each had indicated publicly, at one time or another, that they were mildy pissed off at some aspect of the direction being taken by business IT and/or mass media in their attempts to bring more of their operations to the web.
All in all though, there were more things the group did not have in common, such as background, specific technologies, F/OSS vs. Corporate, etc.
I received a truly inspiring amount of support and interest in response but the situation is such that many of these individuals are extremely busy and are already maintaining multiple weblogs. There’s also the small issue of whether this makes any sense. Here we have a web pundit known to advocate the distributed and connection-forming aspects of the web asking others that feel the same way to discard all that and post to one place (why not just throw up a Planet?). It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface.
The premise is simple: for a certain large aspect of the IT community, we’re too spread out to be heard. Many of the people we want to reach aren’t using the tools and processes necessary (e.g. aggregators, del.icio.us, technorati, mailing lists, etc.) to track discussion and this makes it hard to see that we have a really large overall community collaborating across hundreds of smaller technologies and companies. There’s plenty of content at the lower levels but very little oriented toward the bigger picture. The result is a perception that there isn’t a bigger picture.
One way of overcoming this is to provide a place where individuals can come out of their silos and speak from the position of a larger overall organization, which is exactly what I hope to provide. So here it is: lesscode.org is a loose federation of concerned hackers for web preservation and advocacy. Or, at least, that’s what I hope it will someday become :)
One of the problems I think we’re having is that I gave no guidelines as to what topics should be covered. I did that on purpose because I don’t want to provide a certain type of content, I want to provide a certain type of stage. lesscode.org will be oriented toward whatever topics its posters deem important. This comment from Bill after a post made me realize just how poorly I’ve explained all this:
Ryan, You have no idea. I feel like I just burgled the place!
It’s your place, man! You can’t burgle it.