[Greasemonkey] Greasemonkeyed.com, userscript.org, forums, source code, and the future of our community

Alex Thomson abthomson at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 23:46:28 EDT 2005

On 8/1/05, Mark Rickerby <coretxt at gmail.com> wrote:
> A distributed version control repository, managed through a web
> interface, with discussion threading, visual diff capability, and no
> doubt searchable, and taggable as well.
> Are you sure that's a rather small nit?

Actually it's not as big as you might think, using subversion (or some
substitute) the hardest work is done for you.

About two months ago, I made a very primitive prototype of what I then
called a wiki interface to an svn repository (with the intent of using
it for GM scripts).

All I can say is that it's quite doable.  For me, it was part of a
Greasemonkey "IDE".  I wanted to be able to fork an (appropriately
licensed, of course) script, edit/fix it, make sure it worked, and
then check it in to the repo - all within the browser.  Installing the
script and opening it up in an editor works fine but I think this
better promotes "impulsive" GM scripting.

Online script editing is easy too,  I wrote a GM script that allowed
me to load js from a textbox on the editing page and see the results
on the target page.  It made quick, easy changes just that - quick and
easy.  Unfortunately though, a textbox isn't emacs, so this technique
really is limited to simpler edits.


> Actually, I think you're onto something very significant here, in
> terms of community process and entropy.
> One of the themes from the initial userscript.org brainstorms was the
> idea of ratings and distributed trust. This seems like a fascinating
> idea from an experimental information architecture/social design
> perspective, but it perhaps doesn't really emphasise the organic
> possibilities of collaboration. I'd like to know how the ideas mesh
> together. I guess, being able to aggregate as much as possible about
> an avatar/identity, but focusing on that as additional flavour, rather
> than the base substance of the mix.
> What made me jump here was the idea of explicitly organizing around
> the axis of script/time, rather than author/script...
> I really like the idea of the checkbox: "Allow fixes for this script"...
> The branching could become pretty chaotic from a UI perspective
> though, or could be needlessly complex in the case of smaller tweaks
> and changes. I also wonder about the idea of organizing around
> "patterns" or "clusters", where an initial design pattern that works
> gets picked up and used by a bunch of other scripts... This
> evolutionary pathway isn't quite as structured as the branching you'd
> find in a CVS or Subversion repository - maybe patterns are more
> similar to drum loops, that get snatched off a record by one producer,
> only to be remixed and perpetuated on countless other records, at
> different tempos, and with different harmonics/melodies each time.
> Only in this case, the code does have a more direct connection to the
> formative source (neither NWA nor the legions of junglists had any
> connection or any relationship to The Winstons, so maybe thats not
> such a good example).
> Just some more food for thought anyway... I couldn't not respond to
> such a subject line ;)
> /mark
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