community May 17, 2009

Server Fault Public Beta Nears

The Server Fault private beta is going well; it looks like the Server Fault public beta will begin May 25th. It’s been challenging to find the right community for Server Fault, which is intended for IT professionals and System Administrators. Launching Stack Overflow, a site for programmers, was much easier in comparison, because Joel Spolsky…
Avatar for Jeff Atwood
Co-Founder (Former)

The Server Fault private beta is going well; it looks like the Server Fault public beta will begin May 25th.

It’s been challenging to find the right community for Server Fault, which is intended for IT professionals and System Administrators. Launching Stack Overflow, a site for programmers, was much easier in comparison, because Joel Spolsky and I are highly attuned to the programming community. Building the right community is important, because good answers (and good questions) depend on the quality of the community that forms around the site. That’s not to say I have been disappointed with our “I wear both programmer and sysadmin hats” crossover community; my questions on Server Fault have gotten excellent answers!

But we can do better. I am making some tentative efforts to reach out to the sysadmin and IT pro communities. For example, I recently recorded a RunAs Radio podcast with Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes.

Richard and Greg talk to Jeff Atwood of Stack Overflow fame about being a developer who also maintains infrastructure. Jeff also talks about his new site, Server Fault, which is a Question and Answer site for the IT Professional. Great discussions about adventures in RAID controllers and NIC drivers and how FireBug can diagnose your network problems.

You can listen to the podcast in mp3 or wma formats. I try to explain why I’m excited about the Server Fault community for completely selfish reasons — I have just as many sysadmin and server questions as programming questions!

I was encouraged to see that we are attracting some fairly heavyweight members of the sysadmin community; Thomas A. Limoncelli is a Server Fault user, and he’s the author of several notable system administration books including this most excellent compilation of April Fools’ Day RFCs.

april-fools-day-rfcs

Tom (justly) noted our ignorance of the sysadmin community, and pointed out a few sites that Server Fault should probably be partnering with in some way, such as www.sage.org and www.lopsa.org.

I need your help in building the Server Fault community, not because I’m a shameless self-promoter, but because I am a crappy sysadmin! Yes, yes, I’m a crappy programmer, too, but at least I have enough programming ability to know how much I suck at programming. I can’t say that about being a sysadmin.

As of right now, I am removing the restriction that Server Fault OpenIDs must be in a permit list. You’ll still need the site level password …

alt.sysadmin.recovery

… but anyone who has a valid OpenID, and knows the above password, can participate in the Server Fault beta now.

Do you know of any notable sysadmin or IT professional communities? Please help us spread the word, as appropriate.

Podcast logo The Stack Overflow Podcast is a weekly conversation about working in software development, learning to code, and the art and culture of computer programming.

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