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Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Newsletter #4 (October 2020)


Hello from Codidact!

This past Friday was Codidact's first birthday! We're counting that from the day that luap42 set up a Discord server to discuss building a new Q&A platform. One thing led to another, and a few weeks later there was a GitHub repository, a Discourse forum for discussion, a wiki where we started collecting requirements and specs, and a lot of outreach. We want to thank everybody who has helped build Codidact over this past year, whether you participated in discussions, wrote code or documentation, found bugs, or, most importantly, helped build our communities. Communities of people sharing knowledge together are at our core; without you, our project is just code sitting on a server. We have tried to embody the spirit of by the community, for the community, and we hope you'll all be with us for the next year and beyond.

To celebrate our birthday, we're holding a contest! From now until 2020-10-23 23:59 UTC, you can earn points by posting on any of our communities. We have some swag for the top scorers, but we like to think that our communities are the true winners. If you haven't visited in a while, please check out what's new.

Community updates

Since our last newsletter we've launched Mathematics. Bring your questions about theoretical and applied math, statistics, and the math aspects of adjacent sciences. All levels are welcome; we have questions about high-school math and PhD-level research.

Our Software Development community, announced in our previous newsletter, has just (today) added Code Reviews. If your code already works but you want to improve it, our community can help. And by participating early, you can help shape how code reviews are conducted.

Our Judaism community, also announced in our previous newsletter, has recently added Divrei Torah. Literally "words of Jewish teaching", divrei torah are teachings, essays, and analyses about Judaism -- texts, traditions, laws, ethics, and more.

Languages & Linguistics, another newer community, is building language-specific resources alongside its body of questions. If you speak, or have questions about, natural languages and how language works, check out this community. We've learned a lot from reading linguistics answers even without being fluent in the languages being asked about.

Proposals for several other communities are being discussed in our Site Proposals area. Please take a look, and if you see a topic you're interested in, sign up on the "who's interested" post with each proposal so we know who'll help the new community get started.

Platform updates

From the beginning we have said that we wanted to replace reputation-based privileges -- where getting a lot of points gets you access to tools like editing and closing -- with a system where you gain abilities based on successfully doing related actions. We're almost there! We've done several rounds of testing and have a few more bugs to fix, but we expect to make this switch soon. You can learn more about how it will work in this blog post by luap42 and about some of the reasoning behind it in this article by Mithical. If you're interested in the technical design, we have a post about that, too.

While working on that we've also made improvements elsewhere -- to notifications, edit diffs, image upload, layout, moderator tools, user profiles, and keyboard shortcuts, to name a few.

We've had some new contributors to our code in the last couple months. Thank you! Codidact is an open-source project, and new contributors are always welcome. Our platform uses Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, Javascript, SQL, and some third-party libraries. Contributors also work on documentation, both for users on our communities (like help topics) and for our own development team. If you'd like to help, check out the main repository.


We are (finally) at the "preparing paperwork" stage of forming a non-profit entity for Codidact. We're very excited by this, and we hope to have more news soon. Because of the timing involved, we're doing this in two stages. First we're forming what's called a Community Interest Corporation, which is a non-profit that must serve the public interest. This is, we're told, a fairly fast process -- weeks, not months. A CIC can hold funds and other assets but can't get (or give) tax benefits for donations. We'll then begin the process of transforming our CIC into a Community Interest Organization (CIO), which is recognized as a charity in the UK. This process can take many months.

Other news

vsoch, one of the newer contributors to the platform code, recently wrote an article about Codidact for the research community. Might we see research projects running their own Codidact instances in the future? That's always been a possibility -- anybody can take our code and run their own communities or networks -- and we're excited to see how others make use of our software.

Mithical (superplane39 on Medium), who wrote one of the articles about abilities linked in "platform updates", also published an interview with one of the Codidact leads.1 It's a high-level look at what we're doing and the philosophy behind the project.

Finally, we want to give a shout-out to our sibling project, TopAnswers, which began around the same time we did -- their birthday is coming up in a few days. We have similar goals and some different technical approaches. We're all friends, and we congratulate them on a great first year!

Thank you for your support of Codidact -- by participating in our communities, by identifying needs, by building the platform, by spreading the word, and by your encouragement and kind words.

The Codidact Team

  1. Spoiler alert: me. This read less awkwardly in the email sent from a general address. :-)


Thanks for your hard work! a couple comments: 1. Maybe y'all should consider making a shared team account for these posts. At least for me, it was kind of weird having "an interview with one of the Codidact leads" instead of "an interview with me" (as the interviewee, you, is the "author" of the post) 2. Isn't superplane39 Mithical? You might want to link to Mith's profile here. (I'd say the same for vsoch, but I don't know their account here) Moshi‭ about 1 month ago

Thanks @user53196. We send the email versions of these from a generic account, but they're infrequent enough that I don't think we need a generic account here. (Plus, we want to make sure someone gets pinged.) I do agree that writing about myself indirectly like that is kind of strange, but at least it read ok for the email. I've added a link to Mith's profile, thanks. (vsoch must use a different name here; will ask.) Monica Cellio‭ about 1 month ago