Topics

moderated Process to propose new features #meta


Christos G. Psarras
 

Mark et al,

Sorry, late to the huddle here, but I wanted to hopefully contribute something as well, as I really like this live experiment we are participating in.

Regarding unnecessary time spent on beta, I agree with others who suggested delegation; delegate the really unnecessary (for you) stuff to one or two folks, like the moderating pending suggestions part, so you can concentrate on the approving pending suggestions part.  Someone to do level-1 stuff, either 1-2 trustworthy volunteers if you found them, or paid, depending on how involved the assistance duties will be.  I don't know how much time you spend moderating & approving topics on beta, but if quite some, maybe at the minimum, delegate the weeding out/editing/merging/searching/etc stuff, leaving you a more or less clean pending queue for you to go through and approve stuff.  MF was a good step towards the setup but it still requires human QA-like intervention.  Maybe get the helpers to also tidy-up and moderate the group as well, whatever it may be that will free up your time from stuff that someone else can do.

I like the concept behind your idea of the two hashtag-step process, but maybe go at it a bit differently, using already mentioned ideas as inspiration; leave #suggestion as it is now as the first step hashtag, it's easily recognizable, well-known, and already has baggage, so just let it be what it is.  Then create additional official "bucket" (stage) mod hashtags, one of them to serve as the second hashtag in your idea, maybe #acknowledged, #received, or whatever; you already have two of those bucket hashtags already, #fixed and #done, and are using them as a notification/tracking tool already, so take that a little further, add strategically-named #bucket/stage hashtags and append-use them on the #suggestion thread.  This should greatly extend beta's notification/tracking capabilities.

Anyway, continuing, when some suggestion merits going to your second hashtag step, which I presume means no more talk-talk as it's now in my court, lock the thread and add the bucket hashtag for it; it's still a #suggestion, but now it's officially #acknowledged and awaiting its fate.  And if you were to add a few strategic #process hashtags, depending on how much info you want to provide, you can create quite good tracking capability and let users know of the status of a suggestion during its entire lifetime:  it goes from #suggestion #<1ststage> to #suggestion #<next_stage> (and/or) #<whatever-process>, ..., all the way to #suggestion #done.

Finally, regarding subgroups, in this case they may be better for using them as announcement lists, but also in the occasion if it is something beta-related but you'd like to group-discuss somewhere else besides beta.  I also agree that normal suggestion discussion stay on beta.

Cheers,
Christos


 

On Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 01:55 PM, Bob Bellizzi wrote:
I want to climb on Catlady's bandwagon a bit further.
I don't know what you're talking about lol. I don't see anything in your message that agrees with what I've said previously. What I've said is that I am very leery of (and would personally avoid, if it happens) having all the suggestions I make go through a group of amateur volunteers for "vetting," as was suggested by soeone. But I have nothing against someone - volunteer or otherwise - maintaining a simple tracking system. 

As for apologies, I also apologize for saying that I don't want to pay to whitewash Mark's fence. That was inappropriate and I've already told him so in an offlist message. I just don't know what we're talking about here any more.
 
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Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
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Bob Bellizzi
 

First, I want to apologize for my inappropriate last message which I've deleted.

I want to climb on Catlady's bandwagon a bit further.
Tracking items in Beta, once we have a system to work with, is not a technical job.
A clerical person with a bit of training and minimum of process notes/diagrams
could easily  handle that part of the job.
The job could be a part time consultant and Mark need only spend a couple of hours training them to do it.,
In fact, a nontechnical person would be ideal; we wouldn't be able to browbeat them; they're just doing their job.
I've found it pretty easy to train 16 year olds to use a database.  My current problem is a paucity of them in my neighborhood.
All that's needed is a simple but expandable system where the results are available to the carnivores of Beta to see.

--

Bob Bellizzi


 

On Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 07:51 AM, Marv Waschke wrote:
I would strictly limit the suggestion analysis board to vetting suggestions from the beta group and prohibit the board from making suggestions themselves
The problem is that in order not to be a deal-breaker (for me at least), the board would have to be carefully chosen by Mark to consist of people highly familiar with the product with at least some (preferably professional) technical experience. And forbidding such people from making suggestions would not make much sense.

IMO if would be better for an actual company employee, or employees, to be put in charge of vetting suggestions. But I don't know if any exist yet.
 
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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


Marv Waschke
 

Mark-- If your goal is to induce some order on the suggestion process, i.e. consolidate duplicate or similar ideas, reduce the number of suggestions that have been hashed through in the past, and generally vet suggestions before you look at them, I suggest that you appoint a volunteer board to review the contents  of this group, beta, and create a list of processed suggestions. Let beta remain the free-for-all that it is, but assign some volunteers to do the preliminary work of preparing proposals to enter your work queue. I would strictly limit the suggestion analysis board to vetting suggestions from the beta group and prohibit the board from making suggestions themselves to avoid abuse of the boards privileged position.

A suggestion analysis board could work in different ways. One way would be a group or a beta subgroup moderated by the board and only board members could post. Suggestions would still be posted to the beta group, but the suggestion tag would become a flag that the suggestion board needs to scrutinize the post and consider it in their group. Then periodically, the board would post a vetted suggestion list, similar to your weekly change list, to the beta group.

You, Mark, would remain the ultimate arbiter of what gets done, and discussion in beta would not change, but you would have the benefit of the work done by the suggestion analysis board. I would keep the deliberations of  the suggestion board public, although I would expect it to be pretty boring because it would not be a forum for new ideas, just sorting out the beta discussions.

BTW, just to be clear, I'm not interested in a position on such a board, but I would not be surprised if you had a few volunteers, based on the great work done by the thankless moderators of the Group Management Forum.
Best, Marv


Duane
 

On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 04:08 PM, Jim Fisher wrote:
Doesn't GMF already deal with discussion of proposals, including, but not
confined to, proposals for facilities that already exist?
Yes, we do.  While the stated intent of the group is to improve the management of groups, we often kick things around to get a more solid idea of what is really wanted as a site tool.  Some folks ask about bugs they've found, only to find out that it's a misunderstanding on their part.  Other times it's about not understanding how to do the same thing here that was done on another site.  I believe that several of the recent suggestions made here and on Canny were more complete from having discussed them.

While there aren't as many members (yet?), the Group_Help group also tries to assist with these things.  I'm a member of both and do what I can to help.

Duane


 

Doesn't GMF already deal with discussion of proposals, including, but not
confined to, proposals for facilities that already exist? I've certainly used
it in that way at least once, and I know others have also.

Jim Fisher

On 21 Jan 2020 at 10:27, Mark Fletcher wrote:

Hi All,

Ken in https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/23853 mentioned something I've been
thinking about. Right now, proposing a #suggestion is a free-for-all. Duplicate
suggestions appear often. Previously discarded suggestions come back up, etc
etc. It would help me if we could establish some kind of process around it, a
way to help people vet their ideas before they are officially proposed. It would
not be my goal to put up roadblocks or otherwise intimidate newbies from sharing
their ideas; the opposite actually. I want to increase the quality of
suggestions.

It seems it would be good for there to be a way to 'discuss' a proposed
suggestion before it actually becomes a suggestion. Which means that the
suggestion process involves two steps, the #proposal and the #suggestion. I can
see two ways of doing the #proposal:

- Create a new, unmoderated subgroup to discuss proposals.
- Add a new feature to hashtags that would work as follows:
- The topic is set so that no one follows it.
- Replying to the message automatically sets you to follow the topic.
- You would be able to manually follow the topic as well if you wish.

In either case, once a consensus is reached (and only then), submit a
#suggestion, referencing the proposal topic. If there's no interest in the
#proposal, it doesn't become a #suggestion.

Ideally, I would not have to moderate (or spend much time involved with) the
#proposal process. I think we all want me focused on actually getting stuff
implemented. :-)

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Mark
--
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Haha. That term is possible option.

On Jan 22, 2020, at 9:15 AM, ro-esp <ro-esp@...> wrote:

On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 01:11 AM, Simon Hedges wrote:


I'd like to suggest that it's done the other way around, with Beta as the more
open freer group where "proposals" can be discussed. Then if Mark endorses
them he create a post in a subgroup for "suggestions"
I don't have strong feelings as to whether or not we should do it this way, but if we do it this way we need to use terminology that's more clear than "suggestion vs proposal". In my mind those words are pretty much synonymous, but in the practice we envision one could be a "brainfart" while the other one has been discussed and refined...


groetjes, Ronaldo


--
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


ro-esp
 

On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 01:11 AM, Simon Hedges wrote:


I'd like to suggest that it's done the other way around, with Beta as the more
open freer group where "proposals" can be discussed. Then if Mark endorses
them he create a post in a subgroup for "suggestions"
I don't have strong feelings as to whether or not we should do it this way, but if we do it this way we need to use terminology that's more clear than "suggestion vs proposal". In my mind those words are pretty much synonymous, but in the practice we envision one could be a "brainfart" while the other one has been discussed and refined...


groetjes, Ronaldo


 

On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 08:58 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
I am not being paid to make suggestions
In fact, as an owner of a premium group for many years, *I* and paying *Mark* for the privilege of making suggestions. The last thing I want is to make it like I'm still working for a software company.

I don't want to pay Mark to whitewash his fence. I want beta to be fun and easy. 
 
--
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


 

I have no interest in working with members of beta in formulating a "consensus" of any of the suggestions I propose (many of which, I can say, have been implemented by Mark). I am not an employee of groups.io and I am not being paid to make suggestions, let alone to work on "teams" of people formulating a "consensus" of ideas before they are presented to Mark. I don't know how many people here are actually interested in that.

This group started out as a place for simply expressing our ideas for making groups.io better. If it morphs into a "working group" in any way, shape, for form, I will leave.
--
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


KWKloeber
 

Simon's idea and others - 

It really doesn't matter whether the discission or let's call it "fine-tuning" is accomplished here (beta) or a subgroup, or a whole different group.  A name is just a name, that's all.  It could be called Initial Suggestion Group and Final Suggestion Group.  Who cares?  My original point was, Mark doesn't need to see the harangue of comments that leads up to some formulation of a (near final?) version of a #suggestion.  

Let me be clear that in no way did I suggest that those discussing the #suggestion would usurp and of Mark's control.. but relieving him of needing to necessarily monitor all the discussion (and there can be MANY as we know that lead nowhere, and many that lead to consensus -- or at least partial.)

Perhaps when a topic is first #suggested on that group (or sub) it might also be moderated initially.  If it's a duplicate, (or in Mark's mind is defo a "don't bother" non-starter)  we could be told before heading off into the discussion sunset?


On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 07:11 PM, Simon Hedges wrote:

I'd like to suggest that it's done the other way around, with Beta as the more open freer group where "proposals" can be discussed. Then if Mark endorses them he create a post in a subgroup for "suggestions" (though maybe "candidates" might be an alternative), where people can look if they want to see what's potentially going to be adopted. That's like to result (in the "suggestions" group) a better formed, appropriately tagged and managed, list of potential changes.

Simon

-----Original Message-----
From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> On Behalf Of JohnF via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 11:43 PM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] Process to propose new features #meta

The proposal process seems too complicated to me. If I want to make a simple suggestion like, "I think the background color should change to orange on Halloween," I don't want to have to go through a proposal phase for it.


 

On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 04:50 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
this idea.
Referring to Simon's idea.
 
--
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


 

I love this idea.
--
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


Simon Hedges
 

I'd like to suggest that it's done the other way around, with Beta as the more open freer group where "proposals" can be discussed. Then if Mark endorses them he create a post in a subgroup for "suggestions" (though maybe "candidates" might be an alternative), where people can look if they want to see what's potentially going to be adopted. That's like to result (in the "suggestions" group) a better formed, appropriately tagged and managed, list of potential changes.

Simon

-----Original Message-----
From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> On Behalf Of JohnF via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 11:43 PM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] Process to propose new features #meta

The proposal process seems too complicated to me. If I want to make a simple suggestion like, "I think the background color should change to orange on Halloween," I don't want to have to go through a proposal phase for it.


 

The proposal process seems too complicated to me. If I want to make a simple suggestion like, "I think the background color should change to orange on Halloween," I don't want to have to go through a proposal phase for it.

Mo's suggestion is good. If you say something like, "I'd like to improve the database feature. Here are some outstanding suggestions that are already on the list of things to do. Which of these are most important, and can you think of any others that would be especially helpful?" that might improve the suggestion quality for that area for a little while.

If you really want to organize things, a form with dropdown fields for the individual features combined with an automatic search for similar issues as part of a suggestion process would be helpful, but that would be work to implement in itself.

JohnF


 

On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 11:10 AM, Mo wrote:
Maybe instead of a free for all we concentrate on one area of the system at a time.
It's not a terrible idea, but I don't think Mark would necessarily get the best product from that. The features he's thinking about at any given time are unlikely the ones where people have a great idea that just happens to pop into their head. And people (we) are unlikely to save up feature ideas for the time when Mark happens to be asking about that area of the product.

I think thinks were going along just fine with the new hashtags, as long as someone (i.e., Mark or a designee) is keeping track of the suggestions. I think ultimately that's the problem and what's causing the chaotic free-for-all. Nobody was keeping track. I was thinking along the lines of refining the situation, possibly with further hashtags to let members keep track of what's *not* done or fixed, but keeping the same structure. 

I assume that bugs are tracked somewhere officially in groups.io, for example. Is there not, or could there not be, a method for tracking feature suggestions as well? Of course it would require human input. It can't just chug along by itself.
 
--
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


Bill Hazel
 

Mo,
I think this is a good suggestion.
Perhaps one way to solicit suggestions for a specific features would be for Mark to create a message asking for input on that subject, example:
"Looking for suggestions for wikipage editing #suggestion" 

Then he could make it "sticky" so it would be at the top of the message list.
He could add as many as he wanted, 2 or 3 maybe, adding one per week and leave it there for 3 weeks so they would cycle.

There could also be a wikipage created, and maybe made sticky, that would record all the #suggestion messages by subject.
That way the first thing a visitor sees are the suggestions made and those requested.

Mark, or another Moderator could manage the page, merging posts as required.

How could Mark decide which topics to post?
A poll maybe? He and the other Moderators could get together and come up with a list of 20 possible subjects,
The purpose and "Rules" specified in the Question portion could explain the process so the poll respondents would understand what the goal is.
As the top answer gets moved to a sticky post, the Poll could be updated to include new choices, perhaps based on the spurious requests that come in.

Perhaps one of the choices would be to either explain how to restore a wikipage revision or add a "Restore the version" button 


Mo
 

I have a different idea. 

Mark what is your vision for groups.io or are you at the stage of needing input for new tech? 

Maybe instead of a free for all we concentrate on one area of the system at a time. 

What areas do you have the least technical debt that could be improved first?

What areas of technical debt do you plan on working on?

What areas are you unhappy about or have limited functionality. 

Take ideas, then go from there. 




On Tue, 21 Jan 2020 at 18:58, J_Catlady
<j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:
On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 10:30 AM, Nick Dunmur wrote:
we have working groups in our organisation to facilitate exactly this
But isn't that more analogous to beta itself?
 
--
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


Samuel Murrayy
 

On 21/01/2020 19:27, Mark Fletcher wrote:

Right now, proposing a #suggestion is a free-for-all. Duplicate suggestions appear often. Previously discarded suggestions come back up, etc etc.
Well, if you could implement a search feature in GIO that allows users to limit their search to (a) the subject line and (b) the first message in a topic, you can reduce much of the reposting of previously made suggestions. It's a rule in many bug/feature posting systems that it is considered good manners to check the past bug/feature posts, but that is difficult here because one can't avoid including subsequent comments in the search.

It would help me if we could establish some kind of process around it, a way to help people vet their ideas before they are officially proposed.
Yes, that is why on several other software projects I've seen, there is a bug-and-feature discussion group where anyone can post anything, and then there is a separate bug-and-feature submission system, where people submit their bugs/features in a more formalised way. The bug/feature submission systems do have discussion capabilities, but the majority of discussions take place in a discussion forum that is separate from the bug/feature submission system.

Sometimes, such bug/feature submissions are carefully crafted and are the result of discussion elsewhere, and sometimes people just post without having checked if the issue has consensus because they believe their idea has merit without having to ask others.

It seems it would be good for there to be a way to 'discuss' a proposed suggestion before it actually becomes a suggestion.
[Sorry, I must say this: it's curious how you use the word "proposal" for the informal submission and "suggestion" for the formal submission. I would have thought the opposite: something is either a mere suggestion, or it is submitted as a formal proposal. So, be prepared for people misunderstanding these two terms.]

In either case, once a consensus is reached (and only then), submit a #suggestion, referencing the proposal topic. If there's no interest in the #proposal, it doesn't become a #suggestion.
Interest in discussing an idea can increase or decrease depending on many factors (holidays, weekends, trends, post quality), and it would be unfortunate if good sugg^H^H^H^Hproposals were prevented from being brought to the developers' attention simply because the world's attention happened to have been elsewhere, or because no-one else had any opinion about it.

Samuel