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Make CreateWiki open-source
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As everyone knows, ShoutWiki's wiki creator has been broken for some time now (over two years and counting). However, I feel like the wiki creator would be back up and running by now if it were open-source. Open-source software has one major benefit over closed-source software: the community has the ability to fix it. Many aspects of ShoutWiki are open-source, but a glaring issue is that CreateWiki is not. Having CreateWiki open-source would allow ShoutWiki's community the ability to fix it. Having a core feature like the ability to create wikis down for so long is starting to negatively affect ShoutWiki's reputation.

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Thanks for the admin work. Really helpful.

Thanks for the admin work. Really helpful.

I feel like this is a rude reply? Simply saying that ShoutWiki won't make their CreateWiki open-source would be sufficient. Is ShoutWiki really an "open-source" company like they say? Seems not.

The arguments for open source are very compelling, and in case if you're not familiar with our open source work, there's a lot of it: Category:Extensions by ShoutWiki on covers some of it, but I want to clarify a few things here for the record...

  • Yes, there are certain proprietary components to ShoutWiki. These mainly fall into one of the three following categories: 1) certain skins (e.g. Monaco currently) 2) certain anti-abuse tools (e.g. EmailCheck) 3) other features which set ShoutWiki apart from your generic wiki hosting sites as well as major competitors (such as CreateWiki, but also ProblemReports, etc.), which are unlikely to be of any real use to a stand-alone wiki site and really useful only for wiki farms
  • CreateWiki issues were identified and fixed quite a while ago, but then MediaWiki 1.35 and whatnot happened. Furthermore, we wanted to make sure that serious data loss issues that the bug caused would not resurface.
    • Having worked in the open source field since 2008, I can safely say that, unfortunately, sometimes ours (as in all of us, not just "all of us at ShoutWiki") faith in the wonderfulness of open source is regrettably misplaced. When problems get complicated enough, no matter how open source your code is, you will be left alone to debug the mess; trust me on this one, I've been there so many times. Sadly just because the code is open doesn't mean you'll magically be receiving useful patches for it.
  • Unlike various competitors as well as other "shops" running MediaWiki, ShoutWiki has always been all about collaboration. If ~5% of the stack isn't currently FOSS, that still means that the remaining ~95% is FOSS and your contributions to it are more than welcome! (I have a keen interest in keeping the percentage of proprietary code as low as possible, and I think ShoutWiki's succeeded far better than some of our bigger competitors who were "open" for a while and then returned to their proprietary default state.)
  • As we try to collaborate with upstream on the MediaWiki software as well as the various extensions and skins, it will make the software more useful to a wider audience in general while also hopefully reducing our own maintenance burden. By keeping the number of so-called "core hacks" very low, it has been possible to actually upgrade MediaWiki every now and then. Unfortunately the general pace of MediaWiki development has sped up quite a bit and the focus has shifted away from third-party consumers of the software, which rather directly impacts sites like ShoutWiki, and I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that that is one of the underlying causes for the CreateWiki bug; see, CreateWiki was using all the right MediaWiki core classes the right way, but then the WMF developers decided to change those classes in a breaking, backwards-incompatible way because they felt that cross-database operations should not be supported at the database layer.
  • We maintain our products and will do so in the future. Sometimes some things are harder to patch for a new major MediaWiki version, but the patches will always come out in the end. For example, the Theme extension turns 13 years old this year (!). Sometimes products do need to be retired, but I think our track record in not having to do that too often is pretty good.

Just to make it clear: there are no plans to open-source CreateWiki currently. I don't think that this impacts our status as an open company, and I think that if you look deeper into the facts, you'll find that we're doing a pretty good job regardless. I know I'm biased when I say this, but that is precisely why I encourage you to do your own research.