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Last active August 29, 2015 14:02
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How did Pullup get started? Who all was involved, and how did the idea come about?

Myself and @pents90 were talking about how online communities tend to lose much of what makes them special as they grow. There are some exceptions to that rule, but usually as the community gets diluted from the early adopters things go downhill. We decided to try and set the bar for membership to be (too?) high and see what happens. So the 1000th person that joined had to do roughly the same amount of work as the 1st person. All of that, and the hook for the site - join via pull request - seemed too sweet to pass up, we knew we had to give it a try. It also seemed like an interesting experiment in chaotic software development. You usually don't get far with no real plan for a piece of software, so it's been interesting to see things develop.

Pullup is one of the fastest growing projects on Github. How did you get so much traction so quickly?

I'm not exactly sure! I think it was almost entirely because we hit the front page on Hacker News around a day after the first version went up. The site was in pretty bad shape, so there was lots of work to do and people jumped on it. I think also it's a fairly unique concept so I guess people were drawn in by that.

As far as technology goes, how is Pullup built? Has much changed in the architecture between now and the initial launch?

When we were first deciding what to write it in, we knew that as a web site it would need to include HTML and javascript, so rather than introduce another language for the server side we went with node.js. That way at least it would all be one language. I'm a fairly awful javascript developer, but I was good enough to get it off the ground at least, then I've been happy to have the community take over. The basic technology hasn't changed that much, but lots has been written on top of it.

What are the hard parts about building a site like Pullup? What are the easy/awesome parts?

I think the hard part is getting a good community, and there we've been super lucky. We got a good group of people right away. I'm not sure if that's because of the requirement of contributing something substantial (a feature or bug fix), but it's been great so far. I thought another hard part would be letting go of the details and letting the community decide all the technical stuff but that's been fairly easy too, maybe because I'm not great at javascript.

Where is Pullup headed, and what needs to happen to get there?

A great question. I'm not sure! This is really the big problem we have. We very quickly built a nice community news site, but then it was kind of "done." No one was really sure where to go next. There's been some movement towards it being more of a place for discussion, so maybe that will make some next steps obvious. The tension with the whole idea is between getting enough users to keep the community strong, but not dilute the requirements for joining.

For people that are interested, what's the best way to get started contributing to Pullup?

The best/easiest way is to look at the issues list in github. We maintain a pretty detailed list of things to do, and some are good starter issues. We're not too picky about what you tackle in your first pull request, you just have to do something. We also hang out on gitter a lot, so you can ask for help there. We're very friendly :)

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