Ideas Forum/Communication Channels
This forum thread is for discussion of how to improve the feedback loop and communication among the WordPress open source community so that people who contribute can feel confident that their suggestions are being heard and considered. More about the subject is in this dev blog post.
Please post your suggestions here for how we can improve communication.
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Thanks for this topic.
I should also note that the “Report a Site Bug” appears to be a black-hole.
Now it probably isn’t a black-hole, but lack of feedback makes it appear that way.
I think there is a lot of great work going on in blogs that gets missed. A lot of it from people who feel as though they have been ignored for some time.
Perhaps if mechanisms existed for blog authors to use polls on their own blogs that would feedback to wp.org and rank there it might be possible to capture the much wider community instead of just those people that want to visit WordPress itself.
@arickmann Can you give an example of what you mean?
Well, I, and many others often write “where next” posts. My last post (link at the bottom in case you want to remove it) was a discussion of Workflow matters that I hope get created by someone during the WLTC plugin competition. Of course it could just as easily be a suggestion to include that content within the core.
My general idea is that these sorts of posts could be accompanied by polls asking “do you think this is a good idea?” or perhaps some more complex questions. Registering the URL, or ID of that poll (I am assuming PollDaddy) with wp.org means the results can be gathered and displayed centrally irrespective of the blog it was originally on.
It would allow bloggers to engage their readers for the benefit of the community as a whole without asking people to visit other places and helps to identify topics where there is already some discussion around them. Developers who wanted to pick that up could find the list of popular ideas on wp.org and visit the original blog for the detail.
This was the only way I could really think of to keep the WordPress bloggers involved in the process as they do a lot of work promoting WordPress and ideas but it is that involvement that I think is important more than the poll concept itself.
The Ideas section could be a lot more productive and useful if it were patrolled more often to remove spam and weed out ideas that have been implemented and ones for which there already is a plugin. Additionally, it might be better to make clear that it is not the place for just any plugin request.
In short, give some good people moderator powers so that Ideas becomes a productive place again.
I imagine you saw this coming, but I would love to see some sophisticated syndication options built into WP/WPMu which would allow people to easily integrate a wide range of feeds of their various online work from numerous sources that are RSS ready into their blog. In many ways completing the circle of the blog as aggregation point. FeedWordPress does this quite well now, but having it as part of the core and regularly developed would make a lot of sense given where WordPress is headed.
From the other end of the process here’s what I would like to consider.
- Easier way to track ideas (and kvetch) and mark them as rejected/completed
- Somewhere for people to go before they raise something in trac, maybe we need a wp-users mailing list. Quite a few other projects only let the core team raise tickets which I think is far too draconian but we need to find a way of better managing the volume of infomation generated
- Get people involved in other parts of the process – writing automated tests for example
Things I really don’t want to see:
- Auto-closing tickets after time/lack of activity. This is one of the things that bugs me about the PHP bug tracker. They don’t seem interested in your bug reports and you seem to have to work really hard just to keep your ticket active, let alone get something fixed
BTW Jane, when do we get the lycra cat suits?
Building on what codeispoetry said, have a way that the community can vote on the outstanding ideas to indicate what they want prioritized. From a release management point of view, those ideas that are ranked at the top could be assessed from a standard set of criteria to help explain why certain features are / are not happening: complexity, scope, resources (time, money, people, technology, etc), dependencies, etc. I’m sure a portion of this happens internal to trac, but it could be useful information to understand the interests of the different user groups of WOrdpress: developers, wp users, automattic, etc.
The more active use of the dev blog that Jane has been using is a great thing in this capacity.
Two quick ideas that I think would help:
1. Integrate the WP documentation (both for users & developers) into wordpress & trac. I don’t necessarily mean that you have to literally include all of the documentation in the distribution (that’s a separate issue), but conceptually the documentation should be treated as part of the code. Then integrate trac for the documentation with the forums. When people find bugs, push the bug into trac and close the thread with a link to the bug in trac. If the documentation is outdated or unclear, a bug report should be filed and patches should be submitted. When users have questions that are answered in the documentation, make it easier for people who respond to link to the relevant section in the documentation.The documentation is just an extension of the code. Make the interaction between the forums & trac really, really obvious: big buttons, special indicators in the subject line for posts merged with trac bug reports or pointing to wp documentation, etc.
2. Build a script into wordpress that checks, on activation, plugins & themes for deprecated/removed functions, hooks, etc. If there are any, notify the author (at least for plugins/themes in the WP directories, this should be possible). Additionally, as soon as you know what functions, hooks, etc. will be deprecated/removed in upcoming releases, notify those developers as well.
I’m pretty new to WP overall and a relative novice, but this dev blog post really illustrates the single most frustrating thing to me: there’s so many places to go for information and unless you follow all of it, it can be really hard to find good information. I think both of these might help.
First, let me say this is a wonderful project being started.
Second, before this discussion goes to be tens (if not hundreds) of comments long, is there a way to either move this discussion into a P2 style discussion forum (where comments can be threaded), and/or add a wiki page designated for this discussion, so part of the way, some people could concentrate the discussion on the wiki page – so people having a look at the thread would be able to get a quick glance-and-understand look at things ?
What about a regular vote on say, 3 much requested features, the one getting the most votes being implemented immediately?
Maybe there’s a clever way to do this using Twitter…. A wee bit like http://strawpollnow.com/?
The fact that this thread has been posted in Support rather than Ideas serves to illustrate that the Ideas forum has reached the end of its natural life. It might have worked if it had been actively read and maintained, but basically it’s the same problem as with Codex: a couple of releases down the line much of the initial content is no longer relevant, but it hangs around regardless. There wasn’t any official feedback or reponse to most of the ideas so I have to doubt whether anyone important bothered reading them. I don’t think many people seriously believed the Ideas forum had any influence over the direction of the software, but Automattic could probably have done a better job of pretending it did.
Trying to tempt people back into the IRC channel is a dead end; like trac, it’s really offputting for non-geeks, and if people used to frequent it but stopped, there are obviously good reasons (I’d guess a lack of moderators, again). You’d be better off with Twitter, at least it’s trendy. Or another P2 install on wordpress.com, which would be easier to keep under control.
Your big problem here is that even though you’re trying to present this as opening up the development process and making it easier for people to suggest things, any attempt to consolidate your communication channels is going to look like you’re doing the opposite and closing things down. The existing lists and forums may serve no useful purpose, but scrapping them is worse from a public relations point of view than having them and ignoring them.
Thanks for bringing this up !
I think the main problem is like smajda said, there’s so many places to go for information. This is very confusing for new developers and users. I would like to see the informations more centralized, like one big forum. In IRC you have the problem with differnet timezones, forums are much more appropriate in my opinion. These forums must be moderated to give feedback and to group obsolete and duplicate content to gain clarity.
Within these forums there should be the possibility to start polls on wanted features or core changes.
At last, it would be a great idea to access the forums via the wp dashboard, e.g. a list of subscribed discussions.
I agree with 3stripe – something where we can regularly vote on the most wanted features would be perfect – tie this into the dashboard (which I always skim through every morning to see if there’s anything relevant to me there) and you have a winner.
The only WP change that I would like to see, and I know I’m not the only one, is better handling of media content and uploading – videos, pictures, audio… I have used WP for around 7 years now, and this is always been my big frustration. I like to put media where *I* want to put them – e.g. my current format is content/media/2009/05/10/image.jpg corresponding to the post I used the image in. This makes life incredibly simple when I want to move media to different folders or the ‘where did I put that image?’ question. I know people organise things differently, but that’s not hard to do… if ImageManager (http://www.soderlind.no/archives/2006/01/03/imagemanager-20/) can do it… why can’t WordPress?
PS, WP, and all those that create it… I love you
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