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

Chris Jones
 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 06:54 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
Adding a "suggestion email box" distinctly does not "affect us all.
It distinctly might, if the suggestion was wrong to start with and Mark did not pick up on that fact. Within the obvious point that some Groups are paid for and others are not, we are all equal as owners and moderators.
In some ways you seem to be asking for something that could result in some being more equal than others.

Beta is certainly something of a rough and tumble, but any idea for a "feature" should be forced to survive in that rough and tumble and not creep in without scrutiny; a really good suggestion will get through unscathed; a potentially good idea not fully thought through will be kicked around and either improved or ditched as appropriate, and the really duff ideas can be kicked into the long grass once and for all.

In the case of one recent suggestion I can think of at least 2 ways of achieving the specified goal without asking Mark for any new "feature". Mark must be nearly driven to distraction with suggestions to fulfil some requirement that can be worked around with a bit of thought.

As a confirmed masochist I actually read posts on this group, but when I see one starting "It would be a good idea if..." I know I'm going to hate it.

Chris


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

Jim Higgins
 

Received from J_Catlady at 4/3/2019 05:54 PM UTC:

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:45 AM, Jim Higgins wrote:
The argument here against it is sparked by a desire to not be cut out of the discussion of things that potentially affect us all.
Adding a "suggestion email box" distinctly does not "affect us all."

When that suggestion box is clearly intended to hide suggestions from view so that discussion is impossible, it most certainly does affect us all.

Jim H


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

Jim Higgins
 

Received from J_Catlady at 4/3/2019 05:18 PM UTC:

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:15 AM, Jim Higgins wrote:
Perhaps... but who is to say that others can't discuss it?
The suggestion belongs to the user. If they decide to give it to Mark or beta, that's their decision.

Agreed so far.


If they put it into the suggestion box, the answer to your question "who" is: Mark. He can always put it out there.

There is no such suggestion box. The debate here is about the creation of one... and I'm on the side that thinks that shielding ideas of change/enhancement from debate is a very bad thing.


I'm tired, very very tired, of this. I wish that I had made this suggestion via a suggestion box. Unfortunately, one does not yet exist. ;)

We do have a "suggestion box." It's called "beta." The suggestion box we don't have is the one where comments on proposed changes are unwelcome. With any luck, that suggestion box will never exist.

Jim H


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

 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:45 AM, Jim Higgins wrote:
The argument here against it is sparked by a desire to not be cut out of the discussion of things that potentially affect us all.
Adding a "suggestion email box" distinctly does not "affect us all."

 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


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

 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:32 AM, Duane wrote:
that's seldom the truth.
And yet, sometimes it is. And even when it's not, users own their own unexpressed ideas and should be able to provide them in any way that's most comfortable for them. Assuming Mark wants all ideas, he will be happy to get them. The decision to put an idea out for discussion on a group like this belongs to nobody but the user. The decision does not belong to this group. After they give it to Mark, then it becomes Mark's property (in accordance with the TOU) and Mark's decision.
 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


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

Jim Higgins
 

Received from J_Catlady at 4/3/2019 01:16 PM UTC:

I have skipped over many further comments and arguments about my suggestion in this thread, and this will be my final comment. The irony is overwhelming! I make a suggestion for a simple feature that Mark can take or leave: a suggestion box so that people can send suggestions to Mark outside of beta when and if they so desire. And look at the result: it is exactly what I suggested this addition to product in order to avoid. Extreme, disproportionate backlash.

Yes... but only for a definition of "extreme disproportionate backlash" that translates to "any opposition to or refinement of your ideas."


Mark said the following only a few days ago:
I don't think a discussion on whether a proposed feature would be bloat/useful or not is terribly productive and I would appreciate it if those were not to happen. I think it can also be intimidating for some people who would like to propose/discuss new features when they see other people being told that their proposed features are bloat or otherwise not appropriate. Like Groups.io itself, I want beta@ to be welcoming for people of all experience levels.

I see NOTHING in what Mark said that forbids discussion of a proposal, only that comments that it's bloat or useless aren't appropriate. I see NOTHING forbidding discussion aimed at refining the proposal so that it better meets the need as the majority see it while avoiding unwanted and undesirable consequences. And if I'm not reading that correctly, then Mark needs to clarify... because your interpretation is tantamount to cutting off ALL discussion by hiding the very existence of future change/enhancement proposals.


I appreciate all feature proposals, even if I can't get to 99.9% of them. :-)
It seems that people have forgotten. Does everyone arguing against the suggestion box think they are entitled to hear the suggested features/improvements that every groups.io user has in their head and takes the trouble to propose to Mark? Do you think that every groups.io who wants to propose a suggestion should be required to join the beta group?

When those proposals potentially affect us all, YES!


Is the product even still *in* beta test, for that matter?

While the product isn't still in beta, the group name remains "beta" if only because - as you should know - there's a huge potential for confusion when changing a group name. The group name is irrelevant to this discussion.

That said, when suggestions ask for features that the proposers seem to deem as being significant missing features, it sure isn't a final product. And with a "freemium" business model, not involving group owners in discussion of changes proposed by other group owners doesn't strike me as the best approach to the widest possible satisfaction with the product.


It's yet another simple suggestion. An addition, perhaps an enhancement. That's for Mark to decide. Everyone who is arguing so vehemently against it only proves my point for its need.

The argument here against it is sparked by a desire to not be cut out of the discussion of things that potentially affect us all. The only thing I find surprising about the opposition to the suggestion is that it's been as polite as it has.

Jim H


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

Duane
 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 12:01 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
a very simple suggestion that requires no discussion
How many of those have we seen here?  It may not appear to the proposer that any discussion should be needed, but that's seldom the truth.  From a simple additional request - please make that optional - to interaction with other functions all come into play.  If/when Mark comes up with a plan for a more easily maintained TODO list, without wasting his productive time on it, that could be where suggestions are made/introduced.  Then discussions could be done on other groups (GMF or Group_Help), as they should be, to fine tune any discrepancies or concerns.

Duane


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

 

I hope that Mark puts this hapless thread out of its misery, and soon.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


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

 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:15 AM, Jim Higgins wrote:
Perhaps... but who is to say that others can't discuss it?
The suggestion belongs to the user. If they decide to give it to Mark or beta, that's their decision. If they put it into the suggestion box, the answer to your question "who" is: Mark. He can always put it out there.

I'm tired, very very tired, of this. I wish that I had made this suggestion via a suggestion box. Unfortunately, one does not yet exist. ;)
 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


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


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

 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 09:54 AM, Jim Higgins wrote:
the idea seemingly being put forth that all suggestions should be shielded from any discussion of them is a bit disconcerting
with the key words being "all suggestions." That is never what I proposed. As usual, this would be an additional, optionally used feature. Use it or not.

I can see no real argument against a suggestion box for a product. Some groups.io users either may not want to join beta, some not even know about it, and some may want to use the "suggestion box" once in awhile for a very simple suggestion that requires no discussion. If Mark determines that a suggestion dropped into the suggestion box requires extensive deconstruction on beta, he can always poll users here about it. 

It's astounding to me that anyone here would argue against adding such a feature.
 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


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

Jim Higgins
 

Received from Chris Jones via Groups.Io at 4/3/2019 12:14 PM UTC:

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 01:08 AM, J_Catlady wrote:
(3) sometimes a feature is very simple and doesn't require much or any discussion
That is doubtless true, and I am not unsympathetic to concerns about discussion here descending into the politics of the bear pit on occasions.

I'm not unsympathetic to those concerns either, but the idea seemingly being put forth that all suggestions should be shielded from any discussion of them is a bit disconcerting. There's a HUGE difference between objective discussion/debate/refinement and mindless arguing/bickering/opposition.


"Democracy" can be very, very messy sometimes.

Indeed... along with the reasonable expression of opposing views.

Jim H


moderated Re: Customizable footer fields #suggestion

Samuel Murrayy
 

On 2019/04/03 03:46 PM, Gerald Boutin wrote:

There has been previous discussion on something similar, but related to usage in a signature. However, the topic did spread as far as thoughts about forms and databases.

https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/17758
Thanks. I did think about the signature, but my idea was for the group owner to be able to enforce (or suggest!) certain quite specific pieces of information that would be displayed in a very brief kind of way.

You could, of course, tell members that they should add certain information to their signatures, but its easier for all (and more likely to be implemented/adhered to) if it is a separate setting. It would also ensure that the footers all look more or less alike.

I believe that this is the opposite of the case with the thread you mention, where people wanted to write whole biographies and case histories in their signatures. For that (case histories, etc.) I would actually suggest a prominent link to an "about me" kind of page. There is (or must be) a limit to the amount of information that should be automatically added to an e-mail.

I did not read all of it, but I can imagine that linking a signature to a database can offer all kinds of possibilities. Still, that would be a bit overkill for my suggestion. Group owners are not all database experts, and getting them link things like that is for real experts. My suggestion is for something that looks simple and works simple.

The fields would be on the /editsub/ page, ideally above the signature section.

Samuel


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

 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 06:44 AM, J_Catlady wrote:
anyone contemplating posting a question or comment here about someone else's suggestion
This is what Shal wrote, so forgive my misinterpretation. It's what I wanted to say as well. He was not specifying people making suggestions; he was specifying people commenting on them.
Sorry, Shal. I'm a bit worked up over this, as you can probably see. I agree with you 100%.
 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Customizable footer fields #suggestion

Gerald Boutin <groupsio@...>
 

There has been previous discussion on something similar, but related to usage in a signature. However, the topic did spread as far as thoughts about forms and databases.

https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/17758

--
Gerald


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

 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 03:25 AM, Shal Farley wrote:
anyone contemplating posting a question or comment here about someone else's suggestion should feel free to post that first in GMF or Group_Help if you're unsure about how it might relate to existing features or alternate ways of doing things (work-arounds).
I lied, it wasn't my last comment. :) I totally, 100% agree with Shal here. As it happens, I am so intimately familiar with the Group Guidelines feature - I originally suggested it, I fought for it against those who didn't want it, and after Mark implemented it, I personally wrote the Help text for it (which I posted earlier in this thread). So anyone "Liking" this comment by Shal should look in the mirror, because it also should apply to people commenting on a suggestion. Everyone, with the exception of Shal, who commented in my thread suggesting the simple option to make Guidelines a sticky topic was grossly unfamiliar with the feature. And yet they jumped right in, made suggestions that were off the mark (because they didn't fit with the feature as it currently exists), questioned me relentlessly about it, asked for help in understanding the current functionality over and over again, etc. So yes, people suggesting a feature SHOULD ask in GMF first. But so should people jumping in to comment on someone else's suggestion.

A couple of years ago I suggested some feature or other, and I distinctly remember being grilled here on why I wanted it. I answered as briefly as I could (or wanted to) and someone here said, "How can we help you if you don't explain what you want?" I responded that I was not here for "help." I was here to suggest a feature to Mark, and one I felt sure he would understand. People in beta seem to treat it constantly as if it's GMF.  There really needs to be a distinction made.
 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Add country flag for users

Gerald Boutin <groupsio@...>
 

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 07:34 AM, Samuel Murray wrote:
This sort of thing works well on systems where users identify their country of original when they sign up, but Groups.io doesn't know from what countries people are from.
The initial suggestion for this feature also mentioned that the user would be able to choose their flag.

I don't think this will make sense for all groups, so this probably should be a group option. For example, many groups are local and not international.

 --
Gerald


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

 

I have skipped over many further comments and arguments about my suggestion in this thread, and this will be my final comment. The irony is overwhelming! I make a suggestion for a simple feature that Mark can take or leave: a suggestion box so that people can send suggestions to Mark outside of beta when and if they so desire. And look at the result: it is exactly what I suggested this addition to product in order to avoid. Extreme, disproportionate backlash. 

Mark said the following only a few days ago:
I don't think a discussion on whether a proposed feature would be bloat/useful or not is terribly productive and I would appreciate it if those were not to happen. I think it can also be intimidating for some people who would like to propose/discuss new features when they see other people being told that their proposed features are bloat or otherwise not appropriate. Like Groups.io itself, I want beta@ to be welcoming for people of all experience levels. 
 
I appreciate all feature proposals, even if I can't get to 99.9% of them. :-)

It seems that people have forgotten. Does everyone arguing against the suggestion box think they are entitled to hear the suggested features/improvements that every groups.io user has in their head and takes the trouble to propose to Mark? Do you think that every groups.io who wants to propose a suggestion should be required to join the beta group? Is the product even still *in* beta test, for that matter?

It's yet another simple suggestion. An addition, perhaps an enhancement. That's for Mark to decide. Everyone who is arguing so vehemently against it only proves my point for its need.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Customizable footer fields #suggestion

Samuel Murrayy
 

Hello everyone

On several specialised lists where I'm a member, it is useful to be able to see some basic information about a poster when you read his mail.

For example, on a software support group, it is extremely useful to know which version the person is using and/or what operating system. On a beekeeping list, knowing what kinds of bees the poster has and in what region he keeps bees, is very useful. On a translators' list, knowing what the poster's native language is and/or what his qualifications are, can help a lot. We can't be expected to know everyone personally.

So, I propose that such information be added to the footer.

The group owner will create customised fields that get added to every member's profile page, which the member can fill in, and then that information is added to the footer of e-mails sent by that member.

I think most fields should be free-form, but drop-down fields (e.g. country names) may also be useful. For drop-down fields, it would be nice if the group owner could specify the drop-down options.

Whether it would be compulsory for members to fill in that information, should be up to the group owner.

I think the customisable footer fields footer should appear *above* the "Groups.io Links".

I wonder if perhaps group owners should have the option of making this information appear at the *top* of the mail instead of the bottom, if they really, really think it's a good idea (depending on the type of list), but my original idea was for a footer.

For example, the beekeeping group owner would add e.g. five fields:

- In what region are you
- What kinds of bees do you have
- What kinds of hives do you have
- How many hives do you have

And in the footer of a mail from a member, it may be shown as e.g.:

'--
Region: (not specified)
Race: Buckfast F2, Carnica F1
Hive: WBC, DN
# of hives: 90-100

I don't know if something similar has been proposed before. What do you think?

Samuel


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

Samuel Murrayy
 

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.
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.

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.

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.

What do you think?

Samuel

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