The development target is a facility that provides a particular kind of structural support to open, public discussions. Each separate deployment of the facility is specific to a single topic of discussion. This is important to know, because the plan is to bootstrap the development of the facility by deploying it on the topic of the facility itself; so the developers will be eating their own dog food.
The problem is, how should a lone developer go about attracting others to the food bowl?
The only answers I have so far (and neither seems good enough) are:
- Continually ask in public forums for advice on the development problems that arise, such as design or implementation bugs. Maybe someone will jump in and help. (But this is a little bit sneaky and spam-like; and I apologize because I'm doing this right now.)
- Continually share information in private with experts such as social scientists; specifically new information that happens to cross their paths of expertise. Maybe they'll reciprocate or reply in some other helpful way. (But this seems too slow on its own.)
What other strategies are there?
I'll post a link to the project later, in case anyone is interested. Some other things you might need to know in the meantime:
- The utility is novel and unique; no other facility serves the same purpose.
- Both the utility and the user base are comparable to web search. Picture a discussion search engine, but more useful.
- There might be commercial potential, but it might also be largely wiped out by a successful, non-commercial, FOSS launch. Please assume the second case.
- A fully functional prototype is already deployed on the topic of the facility itself (as planned) and is open for anyone to use. It was assembled from off-shelf components. No code was written to make it functional, but code will certainly be needed to improve it.
- The facility is viable with only one or two participants, but nothing to write home about. Its utility and attractiveness increase rapidly with scale. It works partly by crowdsourcing and partly by self-organization and self-governance.