I’m often asked when we’re going to “release” Spindle Law, and I always give a too-long answer, not only because I’m unfortunately in the habit of answering questions that way, but also because there’s no single event that I equate with Spindle’s “release.” There are many steps in the process of making the site more and more accessible, and more and more useful to more and more people, and since we don’t plan a big marketing campaign to accompany any of these steps, we don’t have a very good reason to label any one of them in particular our “release.”
We’re now, though, preparing to take a step that’s probably as close as any other to what people are thinking when they ask the release question. Joel is building features that will allow us to open the site, partially, to people who are not signed in (that’s what’s called “anonymous” access to the site), and to allow those who want to try out the whole of the site to sign up on their own (”self-registration”). More specifically, the implementation we’re planning will allow anonymous researchers to view our whole hierarchy of topics and rules, and a few other things, too. We hope lawyers searching the web for answers to legal questions will find us this way. (Many lawyers begin their research with a web search, it turns out.) Until they sign up and sign in, they won’t be able to view authorities or contribute, nor will they have access to SpinDoc, Spindle’s research-collection and writing tool. Signing up and then signing in are easy, though, and once that’s done they’ll have access to all of what we have to offer.
At least that’s what we’re planning right now. When it’s done, one of us will have more to say about it, I’m sure. And, of course, there will still be many other steps of “release” thereafter: We’ll keep releasing new content and new features, at some point we’ll take “alpha” off the top of each page on the site (maybe for a while we’ll replace it with “beta,” maybe not), and I hope it won’t be too long before we execute a plan to make some money (about which I’ll also post something; it’s not a secret). Among other things.
The initial upgrade, or quasi-release, of Spindle Law should take effect tonight.