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Since the controversies of last year I've been participating less and less, and it looks like other people are doing the same. Part of it is inertia -- less activity and fewer familiar faces means less reason to come. Part of it is the company mistreating people and not correcting that. But Mi Yodeya is an amazing community where I personally invested a lot of time and I hate to see this happen to us.

Last week I got an update from the Codidact mailing list. They're hosting other communities now. Is it time to try a Judaism community there?

Codidact has several points in its favor:

  • They explicitly say that they put communities first. They don't have stockholders (non-profit). The code is open source.

  • They aim to not mistreat their users and volunteers and operate transparently. “Our” Monica is a lead there and I trust her ethical standards.

  • We can import questions and answers from Mi Yodeya. That's allowed by the CC license and I see some of the Codidact communities have started to do it (e.g., see here and note the gray box below the question). We can decide what to import -- high-value posts, certain tags, most open questions with positive scores, anything in between.

  • Their code has features we could benefit from that are impossible on SE. We could have a place to post divrei Torah if we wanted. We could better manage Purim Torah. We could customize a lot of the site settings. They are moving away from reputation and toward a system of trust levels, so you don't suddently get privileges you don't know how to use based on one hot question.

This isn't either/or. There's no reason people couldn't participate on both sites and I would also plan to do so. Codidact seems to have a lot to offer and it seems they're happy to work with communities to meet their needs.

A community is more than a platform. People to participate are essential. Of course it is always harder to start something new than leverage the existing platform but I see quite some benefits.

Would people here be interested in giving it a try? If yes, I’d be happy to start a meta post on Codidact to discuss what features we might want to adapt, what content we would like to import and other topics of importance to the community.

UPDATE: there is a now a meta post on Codidact to take this discussion further

SIGNIFICANT UPDATE: following the enthusiastic reception here, the Judaism site has been created at Codidact. Mazal tov !

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  • Maybe interesting, but I don't know if the main team is not worry to lose a part of the site members – kouty Jun 24 at 21:51
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    Just FYI, the team has been deleting these types of questions on other sites. The last such case I saw was a few months ago, but just letting you know. – gparyani Jun 25 at 3:38
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    @gparyani good to know, thank you, I plan to start a meta post on codidact today - we will see where it goes - not doing hardcore recruiting here - just playing with ideas for now – mbloch Jun 25 at 3:40
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I have accepted an appointment as moderator pro tempore at the new Judaism community at Codidact. I will help that community launch itself while continuing to participate here as a moderator and community member.

Some explanation:

I have been a fan of the Stack Exchange corporation since it was scarcely more than a conceptual conversation between Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood. It was always meant to be a business venture, but it was also always meant to serve a noble mission: to help people (initially and mostly programmers) around the world share essential knowledge with each other. At Mi Yodeya's launch party1, I referred to this mission as "Torat Chessed - intellectual generosity."2 As Stack Exchange grew, I admired its practice of hiring great people, treating them very well, and giving them a great deal of space to work creatively and engage with the community.

I am no longer a fan of Stack Exchange, Inc. I don't want to write at length here about the events in the past year that soured me on this once-exemplary company. Suffice it to say that they drove away our moderator and friend, Monica Cellio.

I have loved the Mi Yodeya community with the love of a parent, from its infancy as the tiny, misshapen product of my own design and social circle, through its maturation and development of its own form and personality, to its present adulthood as a vibrant, self-sustaining Jewish community, creative in its own right.

I continue to love Mi Yodeya. This is one community I expect I will never choose to leave. It is an honor and privilege to serve as a moderator here, to sweep the floors of this meeting place of masters of Torat Chessed.

At the same time, I am happy to see the early signs of success at Codidact. The noble mission and community focus that Stack Exchange has let down have been picked up by this new venture, this time without the corrupting influence of venture capital. It is heartening to see a new home springing up for this grand form of sharing. No one knows how or how well it will grow and develop, but I would like to take a small part in helping it do so.

Similarly, no one knows exactly how the Judaism community at Codidact will evolve. It may choose a slightly different scope from Mi Yodeya's. The platform it's growing on and with will be changing over time, including some tools that Mi Yodeya lacks and missing some that Mi Yodeya has. Most of all, we don't know what kind of population and culture will accumulate there. One way or the other, I would love to see it succeed as Mi Yodeya has, and become another treasure of the Jewish internet, and I am looking forward to helping it do so.

Let me close by reiterating something I wrote eight years ago, when concerns were raised about an earlier, less-well-considered effort to create an alternative Judaism Q&A community. I meant these words sincerely then, with respect to that attempt, and I stand by them now.

Let me address, as a side point, the mostly-unspoken concern that by linking to a forum with a similar form to Mi Yodeya's we're somehow supporting "the competition." Mi Yodeya is, thank God, successful at attracting contributors, content, and readers because we have a high-quality community maintaining high-quality content. If another Jewish forum manages to develop a good enough community and content base to compete for some of our would-be contributors' and readers' attention, that's a good thing for everyone sharing an ecosystem with that forum, including us.

May God help us each find our way to places where we can thrive and give.

1. 2:45 - 3:30
2. Having in mind Sukka 49b, as explained by R' Yitzchok Hutner in Pachad Yitzchak on Rosh Hashana - Ma'amar 2.

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    This is a hiring coup from Codidact. Masterful move. May you and them be mazliach! – mbloch Jul 1 at 6:12
  • @mbloch I think you missed Isaac’s point – coup is entirely the wrong word to use when our mission is to spread Toras Chesed. Correct me Issac if I’m wrong, but I read your comment not as CD stealing you away, but that you’re sharing your knowledge and skills with the new community as well. – DonielF Jul 1 at 15:04
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    @DonielF You're correct; it's all about sharing goodness. I think mbloch was referring to the second definition of "coup": "a brilliant, sudden, and usually highly successful stroke or act." All I can say is Amen to mbloch's blessing that the "successful" part proves true. – Isaac Moses Jul 1 at 15:08
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    @IsaacMoses you are entirely correct. A coup not as a revolution but as an act of greatness – mbloch Jul 1 at 15:15
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I am so glad to see Monica back in the business of building online knowledge-sharing communities. With her in a leading role in shaping the platform. you can be sure that it will be built on the right principles and executed thoughtfully. I hope the platform succeeds and thrives, and that a Judaism community succeeds and thrives on it.

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I would be in support of importing all the questions to codidact (without deleting anything from here) and maybe putting a sticky post on the front page that many users and mods have moved to codidact.

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  • +1. Including low rated question. You may never know when it will come handy. – Alaychem goes to Codidact Jul 7 at 8:53
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    What to import is something they'll have to decide and this is not the piece to discuss it. Putting a banner — I don't think it's gonna happen: most for-profit sites don't like banners that say "please go away". – msh210 Jul 8 at 4:41

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