I was trying to come up with a decent solution for a directory where contractors and freelancers could offer their services.
Then I realized the solution might be sitting right there in front of us: The Bitcoin Wiki! http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Category:Freelancers
To add a user as a freelancer, simply add the [[Category:Freelancers]] tag in the user page.
I then added a few wiki pages for freelancers who had announced their services here in this forum. That showed me that a wiki page does serve adequately as a method for listing freelancers. The criteria I was looking for:
- Free service: no charge to add a listing
- Self-service: the freelancer can submit their own listing and edit the content.
- Access is open: If a volunteer wishes to add to the directory or to modify any listings, access to the content is available. This is particularly useful since wiki syntax does have a slight learning curve. If access is open, then having a separate submission mechanism (such as this forum thread), would work and a third party / volunteer could add the new entry to the directory.
- Searchable: the site provides a search tool, and the site gets indexed by the search engines.
The main concerns I have for doing this type of directory using the Bitcoin wiki are:
1.) As Bitcoin grows it will become more obvious that the Bitcoin wiki is not really the best place for this. For one, a wiki is not the best tool (see #2) and the freelancer listings really don't fit here. So that freelancers needn't wait any longer, perhaps this less-than-optimal solution will serve just fine for a while until a better service is available?
2.) Tagging service categories is awkward. More granularity could be added using subcategories, but again, a wiki project isn't the best tool for this. I added one such subcategory, Technical Support, to show how subcategories might be used for this.
3.) Fully editable pages -- depends on honor system to prevent vandalism, misinformation.
Incidentally, here's the list of users on that wiki now: http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Special:ListUsers
Is using the Bitcoin wiki in this manner acceptable? Or are there any other thoughts on this?