With any evolving site like Ohloh, there will be features that the team thought were a good idea at the time, but that in practice don’t get used much. Two such features: journals, and non-FOSS contributor positions, are being removed from Ohloh in the next few weeks.
Journals – An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone
Back when Ohloh was first brought online, there were no micro-blogging services like Twitter or Tumblr. Developers who wanted to assemble a stream of entries describing their cross-project contributions were limited to their own blogs, which were a heavy-weight tool for a problem needing a light-weight solution. The feature never really caught on however, and now, much of the journal traffic is spam. The amount of real journal entries has steadily declined, to where now there are only a small number of users who regularly post journal entries. With simple and effective alternatives in wide use across the net, we’re going to eliminate the journal feature with the current sprint.
Journals will go away when this sprint is put into production in about two weeks. Reducing the code base for Ohloh lets our developers focus on the features that will make the site even more valuable for FOSS decision support and developer reputation.
Closed Source Positions Going Away Too
Another feature from when Ohloh was young lets you add closed source, non-FOSS positions to your profile. The thinking was that Ohloh could aggregate both your FOSS contributions and non-FOSS efforts into one code-based CV. But as Ohloh has evolved into more of an analytics engine driven off of data drawn from public SCMs of FOSS projects, and as new tools such as LinkedIn let people easily assemble and present their work experience, this feature has also become less valuable. There are only a small percentage of profiles on Ohloh that include closed source positions. Ohloh can’t do anything with those positions other than report that a developer has claimed them, since the code itself is not in a public SCM.
It is time for this feature to go as well. It will be removed in the next sprint – not the current one – which will be put into production in about 4 weeks.
Once this feature is gone, when you claim a position in your profile, it will have to be a position in an open source project. Note – a previous version of this blog post implied that you wouldn’t be able to claim a position without a committerID – this is not the case, so if you’re using that capability to show contributions to projects where your authorship doesn’t come through, you’ll still be able to do so.
We’re always loathe to delete features from Ohloh, but by cleaning out the stuff that is rarely used, or used mostly by spammers, we can focus our resources on the good stuff.