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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


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

Chris Jones
 

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.

However, while a suggested feature might be very simple, I would argue that it is not necessarily for its proposer to unilaterally determine that it doesn't require much discussion.

After recent occasions where "simple requests" finished up with a change to default settings that affected every user of Groups.io I am totally opposed to any system - formal or informal - whereby individual owners / moderators could bypass any sort of scrutiny by the wider community of owners and moderators.

I know the anarchy that sometimes breaks out here can be tedious or even infuriating but I'd far rather have that than a system whereby a single voice might cause all sorts of grief to many others simply because it had access to a back - channel. Another downside - from Mark's point of view - is that the back - channel email address would be completely flooded with one - off proposals that had not been subjected to the critical gaze of others.

"Democracy" can be very, very messy sometimes.

Chris


moderated Re: Add country flag for users

Samuel Murrayy
 

On 2019/03/30 12:39 AM, Benoît Dumeaux wrote:

[I suggest to] add country flag for users, [as mentioned in this old
post:] https://beta.groups.io/g/main/topic/1615810#7972. That could be
very interesting for groups of international community.
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.

There are some ways to guess it, e.g. the TLD, so, someone with a mail address ending on .io would be from the British Indian Ocean Territory. Oh, wait.

Another option would be for the system to look up the sender's sending server against an online database to see where the server is located, but not everyone uses a mail sending server in their own country.

Then there is the issue of privacy. If a user identifies his country in his profile, then that is private information unless he specifically gives permission for that information to be displayed to the public.

Also, someone would have to to keep the flag database up to date. This is not something simple, and it is fraught with political issues. Will a resident of Kosovo end up with a Serbian flag next to his name? Etc.

Samuel


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

 

(once again straying into the meta-argument)

J wrote:

there's questions about the current basic functionality (which belong in GMF),

That's not at all a spurious or dismissive comment. Those who've been reading beta long enough may remember that Mark put links to GroupManagersForum (GMF) and Group_Help on beta's home page specifically with the intent that discussion in beta be limited so that he can keep up with suggested improvements to the site.
See Changes to beta@ to reduce traffic.

GMF and Group_Help do welcome both novice and expert questions and comments about Groups.io and its features. Each of those groups had that as its core mission well before Mark asked us to step up and help off-load that traffic from beta.

My own interpretation of how the regular readers of beta should behave is fairly strict: comment on someone else's suggestion only if you have something to add that is worthy of Mark's time [beta #19332].

there's interrogation about "what exactly is being requested," etc.

I do believe that sometimes questions and comments "from the gallery" can aid Mark by eliciting a better description of the suggestion, refining it, and/or enhancing it. But that requires both judgement and restraint: it shouldn't feel like interrogation -- Mark wants us to maintain a welcoming atmosphere for people's suggestions (see Feature bloat and what should and should not be added).

At the risk of being self-serving I'll offer that 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).

It seems to be impossible to make a simple, even trivial suggestion for some little improvement without a drawn-out tempest in a teapot here. It's getting to be too much.

Let me suggest that it wouldn't get to be a tempest if you'd just take it off the burner. That is, if someone's comment or question doesn't doesn't seem helpful to you then take Samuel's advice and don't respond. You'll be a lot less exhausted that way and more importantly Mark will likely be a lot less exhausted that way. IMO responding to chaff only perpetuates a broken-windows syndrome in beta by setting a bad example.

Shal


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

Samuel Murrayy
 

On 2019/04/03 11:25 AM, J_Catlady wrote:

It’s not the job of a suggester here to educate the rest of the
group...
No, it is not his job. He doesn't have to respond to anyone who doesn't
seem to understand his suggestion. He can, if he wants to, but no-one
is going to feel ignored if he doesn't. I suppose it's a skill that one
eventually acquires, i.e. when to respond to a mail and when not to.

Samuel


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

Samuel Murrayy
 

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

It’s gotten to the point where I preemptively try to prevent the constant backlash and even when I go that, often 99% of the open discussion involves basic explanations to people of what already exists.
Yes, that is a characteristic of mailing lists such as these -- new people are constantly joining the learning curve. If this bothers you, then you should change you way you read messages and/or change the way you reply to messages.

The developers will have learnt how to sift through the messages in a way that is useful to them, or else they would have chosen a different system long ago.

It is exhausting.
It is only exhausting if you try to read every mail or try to respond to every question that you know the answer to.

Or... it may be exhausting if you're not using an appropriate viewer.

I see you're often using the Groups.io web interface to post messages, and sometimes also Google Mail. Neither of these methods offer a split layout with a list of messages in one pane and the message content in another pane, with the option to jump from message to message with a single click, and skip over any message without even clicking.

Instead, in both Gmail and the Groups.io web interface, all messages are presented as a single page in the order that they arrived, with a single scroll bar, no option to jump to another message quickly, no way to ignore a message by not displaying it, and no way to group messages that belong to subconversations intelligently. Also, with such a one-page approach, the starts of messages are never in the same place on the screen, which means your eyes have to "search" every time you want to move to the next message.

It would drive me NUTS if I had to read mailing list mails in Gmail, or on the Groups.io web interface. It would be... erm... exhausting.

My 2c

Samuel


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

 

People don’t seem to understand that this is not GMF. It’s not the job of a suggester here to educate the rest of the group on all past threads, or all related current features, or even to make sure every member of beta understands the suggested feature, even members very new to groups.io who lack familiarity with the product. It’s only their job to suggest features and improvements. 


On Apr 3, 2019, at 1:21 AM, Andy W <andy_wedge@...> wrote:

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 05:34 AM, J_Catlady wrote:
People seem to think that after someone makes a suggestion, it's their job to find out exactly what the suggestion consists of, and/or receive a tutorial on the current functionality, and/or "help" the suggester by instructing them on finding another way to do it
As you seem to have been on the beta group for some time you could help eliminate some of that discussion with a single post pointing people to previous topics on the same subject. If a topic starts to move to a general discussion on an existing feature then a suggestion that it should be moved to GMF would a) cut the traffic down on this group and b) remind people that there's another source of information that they can use.

It's only exhausting if you let it become so.

I'm with Gerald and Barb on this one.

Andy

--
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

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