Able is a bootstrapped community for people to read and write about software. Our aim is to provide a platform that people can use to share and develop their technical knowledge and opinions, and discover new opportunities to further their careers in technology.
Your previous work experience, education, gender, race or country of birth do not matter on Able, all that does is your pursuit of knowledge.
If you have a story, advice or experience to share from the programming, infrastructure or hardware projects that you work on, particularly in a professional context, then you should write about it on Able to share it with other developers. We’ll provide the tools you need to publish great posts such as a feature rich-text editor, responsive article pages with syntax highlighting, RSS feeds, and email syndication to followers.
Most online communities are noisy. We want Able to be a clean experience with high-quality content. 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 and test the correctness of code before publishing.
The focus of your writing should also be on knowledge sharing and technical detail above self-promotion. Writing should speak for itself and should focus on providing value and insight to others. Any aggressive self-promotion will be moderated at discretion to maintain Able as a platform for knowledge sharing.
Able stands for diversity. The reason the name Able was chosen is because we believe that everyone is able regardless of their background. Our support will generally lean towards empowering underrepresentation in various areas such as demographics, geography, organizations, browsers and infrastructure in the technology market to encourage competition and diversity on the Internet.
We all know that there isn’t much diversity in the programming community. We want to make a real effort to bring underrepresented groups of people into the industry and will be doing whatever we can to help drive this change. Over time we hope our efforts will show that this is something we truly care about. Programming can be very rewarding 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 publicly debate the nuances of gender politics.
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, nonprofits and others. We’d like to encourage people working on all kinds of projects from all over the world with any programming language to tell people about it on Able.
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 will enable this through APIs (as time permits) or manual assistance. 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 decent 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 towards IPO only to dump an unsustainable business with a big brand on the public markets. 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 opt-in for 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 software engineering community.
If you’d like to support Able, here are a couple of things you could do:
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 programming.