Able is a bootstrapped community for people to read and write about building things with technology. From software down to electrical engineering. Our aim is to provide a platform that people can use to share and develop their technical knowledge and discover new opportunities to further their careers in technology.
If you have a story, advice or experience to share from the programming, infrastructure or hardware projects that you work on then you’re welcome to write about it on Able and share it with other developers. We’ll provide the tools you need to publish posts such as a feature rich-text editor, responsive article pages with syntax highlighting, RSS feeds, and email syndication to followers and so on.
Most online communities are noisy. We want Able to be a clean experience that promotes high-quality content to readers. Our UI will always be clean, mobile and of the highest possible standard that our resources permit.
We encourage writing to be of a high standard and so we’d recommend using tools like Grammarly for writing, as well as testing the correctness of your code before publishing.
The focus of your writing should also be on sharing knowledge and technical detail above self-promotion. Tasteful self-promotion is allowed but any aggressive self-promotion (for example, low-quality dev spam) will be moderated at discretion to maintain Able as a platform for people to find quality knowledge about technology. Our recommendation algorithms are focussed on elevating high-quality content for readers.
The reason the name Able was chosen is because we believe that everyone is able regardless of their background. We want to make a real effort where possible to encourage and empower under-represented groups in technology based on various factors such as demographics, geography, organizations, browsers and services in the technology market.
Over time we hope our efforts will show that this is something we truly care about. Programming and working with technology can be a very rewarding pursuit and we want to help make it accessible to everyone regardless of gender, race, citizenship, education or previous work experience. The general rule of thumb for behaviour and moderation on Able is to treat everyone with the same respect that you would like them to treat you with.
If you feel that there is bias on Able in any way and that we may not be aware of it, please let us know. That being said, Able is a place to focus on developing your technical knowledge regardless of disposition or background. It is not a place to debate topics of a political nature.
Diversity also applies to things like organisations. Tier 1 tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google get plenty of coverage, and that’s fine, but we believe there is loads of interesting stuff going on around the world in the middle tier of the market, and that includes for profit businesses, open-source, government, non-profits and others. We’d like to encourage people working on all kinds of projects from all over the world with any programming language to share their stories.
We believe the browser market could also use stronger competition and so we’ll make sure that your experience on Able always works well on other browsers. Firefox is the primary browser we test in but we also test in Chrome and Safari.
If you no longer wish to be part of the Able community it should be easy for you to leave with the data you’ve invested into the platform. We’ve made this possible by giving you the ability to export your data in a portable format. This kind of openness keeps us accountable and motivated to create the best platform we can for the technology community.
The core Able platform is not open-source. This is partly because we have limited resources and time but also because we are still undecided as to whether open-sourcing the platform would increase or decrease the value of our own personal time and monetary investments in building Able. Open-source projects are great but there is a very real issue with open-source maintainers being under-rewarded for the value they create. Our position may change on this in the future if we find a way to do it in a manner that is mutually beneficial. We may open-source non-core code that we develop at Able on our GitHub profile.
Able is a for profit business. We enjoy working on Able and want to make a living out of it. Able has been bootstrapped to date and we would only consider funding if it allowed us to grow sustainably. We’re not interested in blitzscaling a user acquisition crusade with VC funding. We would rather work for years to build something that is a sustainable and respected place on the Internet.
That being said, we’d love to make working on Able full-time a reality, and so we intend to make money through the following ways:
- Premium job ads - companies can pay to advertise their job vacancies to the Able community. These will appear in the jobs section of Able and be syndicated to people who subscribe to job alerts. Tech recruitment through traditional professional networks is extremely noisy and we feel there is an opportunity to filter out that noise and create a cleaner, more high-value job alert experience for tech workers.
- Code challenges - companies can pay to use code challenges to screen candidates for job roles.
- Premium course content - users can pay for premium learning courses. This is not in something we are pursuing at the moment but may be something we look at in the future.
We are not interested in advertising networks as we feel that banner ads clutter and degrade the user experience. We will only advertise things that add value to our users and we admire independent companies like MailChimp and Sparkfun who’ve managed to bootstrap their way to where they are today.
Ultimately, we want Able to be a place where everyone is treated fairly. We’ll moderate where we feel it’s necessary to maintain a respectful and constructive environment on the Able platform. We’ll also work to involve people from other dispositions in these decisions to try and broaden our view beyond any inherent biases we may possess.
Finally, fairness also applies to us. Right now, we are two people who build Able with our spare time and money. Building an online community is a lot of work and so we’d appreciate it if you kept in mind that while we want to build something world-class, we don’t have the resources of other well-funded companies and we might make mistakes or decisions that you may not agree with along the way. If that happens, we’d appreciate you understanding that ultimately we are trying to build something that is an independant, sustainable and positive resource for the technical community.
If you’d like to support Able, here are a couple of things you could do:
- Join Able by signing up with GitHub, Twitter or email. Every single user that registers increases the value of the community and encourages us to carry on with what we’re doing.
- Start writing on the Able platform and spread the word.
- If you’re looking for talent, contact us to advertise your job vacancies on Able. We’ll set up a profile page for your organisation, list your jobs and help you find talent all for a reasonable monthly fee per job. No ridiculous recruiter placement fees.
- Report bugs, request features and give feedback using our suggestion box on Github.
We hope you enjoy using Able as much as we enjoy building it and that it helps you to deepen your knowledge, creativity and sense of fulfillment that can come from working with technology.