moderated Re: email addresses for suggesting features offlist from beta #suggestion

Jim Higgins

Received from Samuel Murray at 4/3/2019 12:47 PM UTC:

On 2019/04/03 02:08 AM, J_Catlady wrote:

(3) sometimes a feature is very simple and doesn't require much or any discussion.

Perhaps... but who is to say that others can't discuss it? Perhaps those not liking discussion of their ideas simply need to use their delete key.

Sometimes what seems simple to the proposer hasn't taken all aspects of a proposed change into account... at which point what I seem to be hearing is that others can't critique the proposal because that's "arguing" or something along those lines with a negative connotation. I call it discussion or debate and I think such discussion should be quashed only at the point that it becomes uncivil... and then only those who can't control their emotions need to be silenced.

You need only look at the discussion of the "feed" page to see how something can go haywire even after considerable discussion... Now imagine all suggestions being made via a channel where there's no chance for feedback prior to implementation from those who must live with the idea being proposed.

If a feature is very simple and doesn't require much of any discussion, and the proposer knows it, then the proposer simply has to refrain from reading and/or responding to any replies. The thread will fizzle out by itself eventually. Then, a day or two later, the proposer can read all replies and take from it what he feels is useful.

Sounds reasonable... tho I'm not sure all proposers are open to taking anything from replies that weren't welcome to begin with.

There should be a dedicated email address for feature suggestions as an alternative to posting in beta. If Mark feels a suggestion warrants discussion, he can post a query in beta.
On the contrary, instead of posting first to a smaller dedicated list and only later to the larger discussion list, I think it would be better if the proposer could post first to the discussion list, and then, when he has had some feedback from others and time to think his proposal over some more, post a fine-tuned version of his suggestion to the dedicated list, where it may be discussed further by a small number of more expert participants.

YES. That would almost surely make for better refined proposals upon first posting vs proposals that are modified and progressively tuned in succeeding messages by the proposer... sometimes before any discussion has been offered. In short, clearer and more complete proposals will tend to eliminate that part of a discussion that seeks a better explanation of the proposal... something that's apparently irritating to some.

This is how RFEs work on some software projects where I'm a lurker: first discuss informally, then propose formally. Advantages include that the formal proposal is more clearly written, takes into account more situations and potential objections, and is freer from bias.

That's precisely my experience. If an idea is refinement of an idea is welcome before a formal proposal is made, the discussion during the refinement period will tend to be far more about improving the idea vs battling the opposition.

What do you think?

I think the road to mediocrity and dissatisfaction is paved with stifled discussions.

Jim H

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