Author Topic: Code sharing: an open letter  (Read 1738 times)

Offline detah

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Code sharing: an open letter
« on: December 01, 2006, 06:51:58 am »


In general I had and still have ambivalent feelings about code

contests for exactly this reason. Part of the point of thr DS resurrection

project was creating an environment where people freely shared

code and maybe even whole systems and areas. I've tried to

lead by example on this, by releasing 99% of my code out

into the wild...most of it in public domain! (I say 99% because

while I can't think of any finished LPC I haven't released, I'm

sure there's some)

A code competition, I think, tends to do the exact opposite. I think

it gives people an incentive to be secretive and hoard their code

goodness. When the proposal for the contest came up, I had to think

about it for a while, but in the end decided it was an overall good

idea because even though it might slow "sharing" a bit, it would be

really nice publicity for the site. It would be a great way to "get

the word out" about

Now that the contest is over I've been avoiding making promises

about another contest, because I still haven't resolved my

ambivalence about the conflicting effects having/not having the

contest has on my two competing priorities of A) a code sharing

atmosphere, and B) promoting

So, now y'all know why I haven't made any announcements about

"annual contests" or anything...I still have to work out how

that fits into my original vision for an LPC renaissance.

Suggestions welcome, of course.


I took this to a different section because there were too many different and important topics being discussed in one thread.

I have several feelings about coding contests.

I have never seen one before. But then again, I dont really troll very many code-related message boards either.

I think underlying the topic of code contests is the more general topic of code-sharing in general. And I think a discussion of this topic first will help explain my stance on code contests. I believe that one can classify coders into roughly 3 groups in the community. There are those who like to share, regardless of incentive. There are those who can be persuaded to share their code (and by share I mean anything code-related, be it a post on a message board correcting someone elses syntax error, the supplying of a snippet/function or a complete object). Then there are those who, no matter what, will not share their code.

I believe that there will always be those who will share code either for the altruistic pursuit of common knowledge or for the respect it offers from other community members, and therewith, comes the possibility that others will do the same.  So it follows from my argument that when one person shares, it generates prospects and incentives for others to share as well. This is a general Good to the community.

Now specifically regarding coding contests, one could think of them as payment for services rendered. Just like in the private sector, if you provide some service well, you will be paid well for it. If you do not perform your service well, you will either receive a lower compensating wage or the client will refuse to pay. This is perfectly mirrrored in a coding contest. The best will reap rewards and the not-so-good will not. The great thing about a code contest is that everyone, winners, losers and non-participants all gain from the contest (or any open sharing forum for that matter). Its a win-win-win situation. Sure, there are those who dont share their code, but take from the forum. But Im just not interested in trying to punish them when the whole community benefits from the pool of shared knowledge.

One last thought, I think the contest rewards are sufficient incentive for that second group of coders to be persuaded to share their code. This is really just a question 'if the price is right'. Given sufficient contests and prizes, this could be a job, not just a hobby. [In the beginning, who ever thought ebay could be a career?]

So theres my spiel.