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I just finished reading a great series over at Joel Spolsky's blog on painless functional specifications. In the second part, Joel gives an example of a spec for a hypothetical service called WhatTimeIsIt.com.

But I was thinking, how great could it be if you could read a spec, and then see the actual product that came out of it. And since the development of Stack Exchange is done quite publicly already, why not open up a part of the Stack Exchange spec, for others to read?

I don't expect to read specs of features that aren't out yet, or where revealing the spec could cause security risks, or shows people how to game the system, but being able to read the spec, and then see the actual product would be a great way to learn.

DISCLAIMER: I am not, and have never been in a software development company. If there are business reasons why this could be bad (giving competitors too much info etc.), then it's obviously not a good idea, forgive me for posting a stupid suggestion in that case.

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    There's a spec?
    – Oded
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:18
  • There probably is, given that it's in the Joel Test. joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html
    – bigblind
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:19
  • Jeff Atwood documents the team's development process in his user profile :) meta.stackoverflow.com/users/1/jeff-atwood
    – Pekka
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:35
  • The way Jeff documented it really gave me a lot of insight, thanks for pointing me to it.
    – bigblind
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:47
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    @sys.stderr - Oded works here, re-read his comment with that knowledge and evaluate :) I've been here over 2 years, never seen a spec either... Feb 23, 2013 at 14:20
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    Well, with or without a spec, you guys are doing great work. I'll answer my own question so I can accept it, and leave this question behind for other curious people to see. btw, do only people who work at Stack Exchange get the ♦ behind their name, or do all mods get it?
    – bigblind
    Feb 23, 2013 at 14:39
  • Pro-tem mods, elected mods and employees get the ♦. It is a mod thing, not an employee thing.
    – Oded
    Feb 23, 2013 at 14:43
  • "Oded works here" -- but still not here, @Nick! (Bad welcome ;-))
    – Arjan
    Feb 23, 2013 at 16:47

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Quote from Pekka in the comments:

Jeff Atwood documents the team's development process in his user profile :) meta.stackoverflow.com/users/1/jeff-atwood

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