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A Debian contributor StackOverflow

This falls into the category of "ideas I don't have time to implement but
which I keep thinking about."  So I'll throw it out to everyone else in
case someone feels inspired.

I've spent some time over the past couple of weeks poking at StackOverflow
(yes, behind the curve of the entire rest of the world) and have found
myself wishing for a version of StackOverflow that would welcome the sorts
of questions that show up in debian-mentors and debian-devel and in our
various IRC channels.  I think it would provide some benefits:

* An archived source of answers that can be searched and will be searched
  when creating new questions.

* Some sort of community feedback process for answers so that people who
  don't know how to judge will know which answers are probably best.

* Gamification makes answering questions more fun, and therefore likely
  increases the speed of answers and the chances that a question will be

There are, of course, tons of Debian questions already in StackOverflow
(and ServerFault, and Unix and Linux StackExchange), but they're mostly
end-user questions rather than packaging and contributor questions, and
they're drowned out by lots of other stuff.  (The "debian" tag tends to
get attached to anything anyone does on Debian even if it's not
particularly Debian-specific.)  Plus, obviously they're proprietary,
closed platforms run by someone else, with possible data mining and
privacy implications, etc.

A colleague of mine did an internal evaluation of possible locally-hosted
StackOverflow-style applications and found one that looks pretty good:


It's licensed under the GPL v2+ and is something that we could install and
host.  It's not currently packaged for Debian; we did a quick and dirty
packaging for internal purposes (including the REMOTE_USER authentication
plugin), but I haven't taken a close look at what we did.  I don't think
we did anything special.

I think this would be a great project if someone felt like working on it.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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