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Joel on Software

News, and, the end of ?off

by Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Oh, man, I'm gonna be Platinum Elite on Continental this year. There's no avoiding it.

The trouble is, well, I have trouble saying "no" to speaking invitations (see upper-right-hand corner).

In the meantime, a little news.

Construction began today on the Fog Creek expansion. I think we have a much better contractor this time. The last contractor we had was so bad we had a different theory every day as to what his problem was. Depression? Liquidity crunch? Incompetence? Planning to steal the money and flee the country? So far the new contractor seems a heck of a lot better.

Summer internship applications are due February 1st. Students, get on it! We do not have any reason to even look at applications received after that date.

The Project Aardvark documentary, Aardvark'd, is currently featured on the Google Video home page! It tells the story of last summer's interns, who build Fog Creek Copilot from scratch in one summer.

If you have a high bandwidth connection, Google Video lets you purchase and watch it online for about seven dollars. For a higher resolution experience, you can still buy the DVD from us, but that's about $20.

Finally, an announcement. I used to have, hidden so deeply that almost nobody found it, a discussion forum on this site colloquially called ?off. It was the official off-topic forum and was virtually uncensored. It was foul, free-wheeling, and Not Safe For Work. It generated quite a few severely antisocial posts, which were sometimes funny. There was a core community of probably ten people who regularly participated, and occasionally someone would wander in by accident and be shocked, but there was a small but real community of virtual friends hanging out there.

Anyway, it wasn't really appropriate. It didn't have anything to do with software, I didn't participate, and there was no compelling reason to host it on my servers. Over time, the number of reasons to shut it down increased. Today, the last straw was broken when one of my actual friends (you know, a real-life person) told me that the discussion group was getting downright disturbing. Some of the participants in the group had probably crossed the line from common obnoxious online behavior to downright psychopathic behavior. In a discussion group which prides itself on "anything goes," this was impossible to control.

At 6 pm today, I closed that discussion group, having learned an important lesson about anarchy.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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