We discussed this project at the Stan meeting, and Andrew and Thel are going to discuss it.
Thinking of the project, I think it would be good to collect some other examples of developer communities that have worked well. I think the usual result of wikis etc is that you end up with a lot of abandoned or lost material and a lot of issues with moderation. I think at least initially we’re going to need a fair amount of handholding from developers to ensure the examples are actually decent.
There’s also the matter of how this overlaps with the example-models repo, the case studies page, and the examples in the manual. Having four places, plus discourse, plus the mailing list, feels out of control.
One thing I’ve thought about is whether we could build a better story around stackoverflow and encourage people to put questions there.
I’ve been bugging stan users about doing case studies, which will hopefully be nice to get online. Unfortunately what I find is this very common limitation: users spend a lot of time modeling missing or censored data — there’s no way around doing that but I think the code they end up writing is quite ugly and hard to understand. This is going to partly be solved by language tools like log_mix and partly by an idiomatic style of model building, which is something we might hope emerges from the community. But we’re probably in a place with the community where we need to curate aggressively and make sure the small fraction of actually readable examples end up on the front page.
Mike B writes:
Just let me note that there’s really no way to decouple all of these issues. As Thel notes there is substantial overlap with existing projects, and putting something similar together with either require some of our efforts or likely duplication of work. I know you don’t want to distract us, but any new projects will end up affecting us either now or later. This is another manifestation of what Bob keeps saying about maintenance — linearly more projects requires more than linearly more work because they’re not all independent of each other.
Anyways, I’m not trying to discourage a project like this, just
trying to communicate the realities.
I think we should be able to do this in a way that reduces rather than increases the labor of Bob and others here.