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Podcast 60


Intro, advertising


Atwood: One of the rules of StackOverflow is a little bit Fight Club like in that
we don't, we prefer that people don't discuss StackOverflow on StackOverflow.

Spolsky: Yeah.

Atwood: And...

Spolsky: You can tell by the meta site exactly why we prefer that.

Atwood: Well, really you think that's true ? I actually had one user comment on Twitter ?.com added "Man I really fought you on this meta thing and now that you've opened Pandora's Box I see what you were talking about". Why do you say that then Joel ?

Spolsky: Well the reason I don't like having meta on any discussion group is that it's something for, well, a lot of it is something for newbies right like. The first thing that happens is a newbie comes into the discussion group and starts hanging out and like "Wow this is really fun, I like this discussion group".

Spolsky: <laughs>

Atwood: But they have all kinds of feature requests and ideas and stuff like that and the first thing they want to do is start reorganising it in their image. You know...

Atwood: Really ?

Spolsky: You know they start discussing like "Why can't you sort the things here by color ?" and whatever maybe.

Atwood: Right.

Spolsky: And now because they're newbies they're noticing the same thing that all the other newbies noticed and brought up as subjects of conversation and because they're newbies they don't know that these things have been talked about endlessly. And they're boring to the people that actually live in the newsgroup and use it, for news...

Atwood: I see.

Spolsky: And discussion or whatever.

Atwood: Well isn't that the point in which you, the grizzled veteran, would point to the fact.

Spolsky: Yes.

Atwood: And force the user to go...

Spolsky: Read the fricking FAQ.

Atwood: Yeah.

Spolsky: Uhh.

Atwood:  I have noticed that, and actually that's something that came up on UserVoice a lot was that you would get the same stuff over and over and over.

Spolsky: Sure.



Spolsky: Let's say that you become a podcaster, so you get really interested in podcasting gear. You're going to buy some mixers, and want to know what kind of headphones to use, what kinds of microphones, when should I do the A/D conversions, all that kind of stuff.

So you find this awesome podcasting gear website. And you go on there, and the first subject of conversation is who's going to be elected to the podcasting gear website board of directors. And the second subject of conversation is whether the election that was done last year was orthodox, or was it slightly ... was there something suspicious about that whole thing. And you find a whole bunch of people arguing about that. And then you find a conversation about whether all the people who came in last year from South America and don't speak very good English should be allowed to hang around or should maybe be read-only users for the first six months.

That's all you find there, and you want to talk about mixers and mics. That's why you came to this site!

But they're bored talking about mixers and mics -- they've already had the full mixers and mics conversation all the way to the end, to its logical extreme. They all have, now, the perfect podcasting setup. Except for there's this one minor little thing about whether you should use Monster Cables that people still argue about.

So all they're talking about on this so-called "podcasting gear" website is the podcasting gear website itself.




Atwood: So, the topic I wanted to talk about was, what came up was, open-sourcing Stack Overflow code.  Now, to be clear, this is not something that's happening tomorrow or even next week, or even this year or even maybe next year.  But eventually, I am very much for it, because I feel like that is how code... if you want code to survive in the larger world, eventually I believe in the current climate you have to open source it.  The only path is open.

Spolsky: So Windows ... is dead.

Atwood: Essentially, yes, I would agree with that.

Spolsky: The iPhone operating system ... dead!

Atwood: Mm, well, the iPhone is a little bit different because it's such a closed eco-system.  But in an eco-system where anybody can build it and where anybody can jump in and participate, there's essentially no cost to entry — a cell phone market is [not even?] a no-cost-to-entry market, it's pretty much a close eco-system, but a PC is definitely a anybody-can-play, there's-no-charge eco-system.  I think in that eco-system, open source is kind of winning.


[67:27 ends]

Outro, advertising


Last Modified: 8/9/2009 5:00 PM

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