Why Alex Pott is a 5: or, why Certified to Rock is out of date and what you can do about it
By Ben on 27 Jan 2014
Certified to Rock, an automated grassroots answer to Drupal developer certification, has been out-of-date for 2 years. This is so bad that, for example, the system scores alexpott (Drupal 8 co-maintainer) as a 5 and vijaycs85 (one of the top Drupal 8 contributors) as a 1!
Now, a 5 is not bad but compared to other Drupal co-maintainers you might think that Alex deserves a higher score. The problem is that the data that powers Certified to Rock (CTR) has not been “refreshed” recently so it doesn’t know about all the awesome work Alex has been doing for Drupal. And while much of the system is automated, a refresh is not a single button push away.
The team behind CTR cares very much about how out of date the data is but has done very little to change that. That’s what this post is about and why you (if you have an opinion at all about CTR) should keep reading.
CTR, for sale to a good owner
It was briefly announced a month ago but we’re serious, CTR is for sale. The CTR team (hereon referred to as “we”) has been unable to give it the time, attention, and updates it needs to adequately serve its purpose.
We very much still believe in the mission behind CTR and we want to find an owner (or owners) who at least somewhat align with that mission. Our theory is that a monetary exchange is a strong indicator that someone values CTR and will make it succeed. I’d like to explain a bit about what Certified to Rock is, why it exists, and hopefully make a strong case for why I hope its mission can continue with you.
What is CTR and how does it work
CTR gathers and scrapes public data about contributors and their contributions to the Drupal project and, using a private algorithm, distills that data down into a number between 1 and 11. CTR currently has a score for 82,000 people who have contributed to the Drupal project. CTR is an answer to the problem of how to certify talent for the Drupal project. Our answer is to make it somewhat easier to understand the public contributions to the project. We think this is a better method than a test (or tests) administered by a company. We’ve written more about this idea at http://certifiedtorock.com/criticisms-of-certification-programs.
The metrics and scoring algorithm is private to help protect against gaming of the system. By keeping it private we hope to encourage people to contribute to the Drupal project in their own ways, not in whatever specific ways increase their CTR score. Think of why Google’s Page Rank algorithm and system is private, CTR’s stance is for similar reasons. We’ve written more about this at http://certifiedtorock.com/about-certified-to-rock-for-drupal and our blog.
Why you should believe in CTR
Traditional certification for Drupal already exists, it’s just not prevalent or well accepted. This “opportunity” will lead others to return to the problem space and try again. We believe that one of the best ways to measure and understand an individual’s skill with Drupal is by encouraging them to participate and contribute, in the open, to the betterment of themselves and the Drupal project and community. The CTR of right now is the beginning of that process, its first incarnation. It is not perfect, it doesn’t make enough (or often enough) measurements, and it could do a lot more to measure the contributions of non developers, site builders, designers, and business owners, among others. And that’s where you might come in.
What’s for sale
- Drupal 7 site with contributed and custom modules and custom theme
- The code to gather and score people
- Current database dump from the site
- The domain certifiedtorock.com and the @certifiedtorock twitter account
- Development and maintenance documents
- Source artwork (a mix of svg, xcf and psd)
Why you should buy it
- Fame, glory, satisfaction of intellectual curiosity
- Identifying talent - good for hiring or referrals
- Ads or premium listings
When we made CTR we did it as proof of our ideas as an experiment in finding an alternative to the traditional certifications of OSS. At GVS (the original company behind CTR), a fair number of people who hired us or referred work to us had a positive impression of CTR. It was also really intellectually stimulating to research how to build a ranking system like this and apply best practices from other communities and rankings to the Drupal world.
One of the things we did prior to releasing a new set of results was look for people whose score had moved up or down the most. This was a form of QA but also was a great way to find that “new person” doing great work in the Drupal world but hasn’t been hired to a dream job yet. Imagine CTR is a crystal ball, showing great future Drupal talent.
Ads or premium listings
The site gets a fair amount of traffic even though it has essentially been retired for 2 years. When it was active it got thousands of visitors per month, and the content is very thin. If it had more content (e.g. company specific pages) it would get a lot more traffic. Based on our conversations and analysis of site traffic, we believe that a lot of people who visit it are in the market to hire a Drupal developer or themer. Those people are about to make a purchase decision and are therefore extremely valuable to advertisers.
If you are a Drupal shop, think about your advertising budget for a minute. Think about your community reputation. Think about the pain you have in the hiring process. Think about your repeatable income from side projects. Consider that CTR can improve all three of those things.
What to offer
It should be clear that our primary goal with selling CTR is to prolong and improve its mission, to better the Drupal project by encouraging open and honest contributions, and to make it easier to understand the different contributions to Drupal. Offers are considered almost entirely on how you plan to address those goals. Finally, we would like to repay our hosting and Github service fees but otherwise are not expecting CTR to raise wild amounts of money from the sale.
Replies to this post
Note, before you criticize CTR (and you are very much welcome to do so) I please, pretty please, please ask that you familiarize yourself with its context and existing criticisms before doing so. And finally, I’ve used “we” a lot in this post and that’s because CTR is a group effort. The original “groupies” are listed here and we grew that list since 2011 by about 5 people. You can leave feedback via the CTR contact form, tweet @certifiedtorock, or via my contact form.