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.
Only ONE important thing to me : multilingual support !!! and simplification of translation – admin, theme, plugins – process (using poedit is contraignante : an inline editor include in WP would be really great !)
And, less important : possibility to easily edit titles & descriptions of each generated page (post(-id) page, category(-id) page, archives, home, etc.)
@arickmann: The idea of distributed polls is interesting, though I’d probably suggest a slightly different version. Where you suggest independent polls that feed results to main site without being posted there, I’d argue that any poll to be taken as representative needs to be posted on the official site, so that results wouldn’t be skewed by a particular readership’s bias. That said, having a mechanism for people to embed polls from .org on their own sites would be good, as would a way to submit polls for consideration to post on .org.
@talgalili: I agree, a non-threaded forum isn’t the easiest format. Once we’ve gotten some initial feedback/ideas and are ready to start the work of actually putting something together, we can see what format would be the most useful and start an official project page or something.
@notthatugly: Actually, I posted this thread here rather than in the Ideas forum because this isn’t an idea for a core feature, it’s a general discussion. Until we have specific suggestions on the table, there’s nothing to rate, so I didn’t think this first discussion, which would include multiple suggestions, would be appropriate in the Ideas forum. For the record, I’m not sure who counts as “anybody important,” but the core devs and I do skim the Ideas forum on a regular basis. I tend to agree with you, though, that IRC is a tough sell for a lot of people, and something asynchronous like a P2 might be easier to for people to keep up with. To you last point, I’m not shutting anything down or necessarily trying to consolidate. I’m trying to get a sense from the community about what would work better so that we can make it happen. If that turns out to be even more channels, that’s okay with me, as long as it works for the most people possible.
@twoworlds: True, timezones make keeping up with IRC hard on some people, especially if they log out and would have to read logs somewhere else to catch up (which I know a lot of people don’t bother to do). I like your idea of being able to subscribe to certain discussions or threads in the dashboard.
@sproke: Once 2.8 is out the door (soon), we’ll be getting started on 2.9, which is when we begin tackling a media overhaul. We don’t have a feature list yet, and you can expect some surveys about it to show up on the dev blog, but we’ll be streamlining the uploading process, improving galleries, and adding additional media features that have been frequently requested by users.
I think the hardest part is that the community is very large. One thing that I find is a huge problem is old and duplicate content.
I do a search for a plug-in and find a lot that have not been updated in well over a year. (It would be great if I could search for a plug-in based on year of last developed or if old out dated plug-ins got taken out)
I check the forums and a lot of the posts are duplicate or old with no answers (Could some one merge the posts or delete the ones that don’t add anything)
The ideas section has not changed in a long time. The ideas section should be cleaned out. The ideas section should be broken into versions of WordPress (ideas for 2.7 2.8 2.9 3.0 and a section for janric suggestions like make it faster)
Is their another large Open Source project that WordPress could learn form (Linux, Debian, Ubuntu)
The biggest thing we need is a police man to clean and sort out the different sections of WordPress. We keep adding to all these sections without taking out the old stuff. It gets harder and harder as their is more stuff to sort through.
Less is more!
This new announcement completely misses the point, I think. The “communication channels” and the “feedback loop” are not a problem.
As I see it, the real problems that need to be solved are two:
1. Governance. (Contributing to something in which you don’t have at least some say is never an attractive proposition. Now WP governance not only excludes the “community” but it is also completely opaque.)
2. Sense of direction and purpose. (I mean for WP as an independent publishing platform, not as part of a bundle of services.)
The second is partly a result of the first, as are many ills of WordPress. To give but one example, if the “community” around WP as an independent tool and publishing platform had some say in the governance of the project, there is NO WAY ON EARTH this forum would use bbPress.
Of course, this is a sizeable subject and it would take a long article to expand on it, but I believe these points should be obvious to anyone familiar with software projects and open-source development.
PS. About the inappropriate tickets opened in the bug tracker: I think that their amount is manageable and a small price to pay for the benefits of an open tracker.
The points demetris makes are valid, as a user/developer not knowing where WP wants to go I’m hesitant to release plugins or contribute code.
As to the communication part I think a single place for registering bugs, change requests and ideas would help. These items form the input for a new release. Bugs get the highest priority since you shouldn’t start coding new features if the current code has known bugs.
A process should be in place to decide which changes are made. It would help if there is a roadmap for WP which sets out future plans.
Changes and new features that do not fit the roadmap are rejected. The rest are ranked by voting to decide what will be included.
I guess the core team also should have something to say in this, as they can estimate the required resources to implement the changes.
I agree with demetris. Without transparency in both governance and direction, it’s hard to know where contributions will be appreciated and what kind of contribution will even be accepted. The leads to frustration and eventually to unwillingness to participate.
I’d also like core team to consider that there is a large body of WP users who are not developers and have no desire to be developers – or even testers. But they do, in many cases, have a lot of experience as users and have great ideas for features that could be added to WP or modified. Other than Ideas, and maybe these forums, there is no place for these users to contribute. They’re not going to be out on IRC or sign up for dev blog feeds or report bugs in trac. It would be awesome to provide some way to let these users get their ideas in front of developers who could help to realize them.
I would love to see the irrelevant entries cleared out of Trac and Ideas.
For Trac, how about separating bug fixes and new release features? As new bugs roll in, someone (the core team?) could decide if they need fixing now (and priority) or should be rolled into the next release. At the end of the release, if a feature or bug is not implemented then dump it to an archive where the info will be available if needed, but don’t simply roll it forward into the next release. Each release should start fresh deciding which features will be implemented. And certainly each release generates its own bugs.
Ideas… there are many good ideas in there but also a lot of junk. It needs to be weeded out. I wouldn’t mind seeing some sort of automated weed-whacker, but release-based rather than date-based. For example, if an idea hasn’t been included in two or three releases, it’s probably either no longer relevant or just won’t be implemented and should be removed.
Transforming the current Ideas section into something like UserVoice seems like it would work well. This could probably be integrated and released as a plugin for bbPress which would be very beneficial to the open-source community. The biggest problem with the current Ideas forum is that there’s no way to tell the status of an idea, whether it’s being considered, already implemented, not being considered, etc.
As pointed out in the blog post, There are way too many methods of communication currently. I think there should be Trac and then one other channel (a beefed up Ideas section). And, most importantly, the developers have to actively participate in the conversation so we don’t feel like we’re talking to a wall.
Definitely too many channels. I HATE track! I’ve listed bugs more than once there and not only was it confusing to use in the first place but none of my posts…to my knowledge anyways…ever got addressed. So for my two sense I would use less channels and either make trac more user friendly or scrap it and use something else.
Since you’re asking, if I had one criticism, it would be that everything is information overload without any real indication of what is relevant to a specific task or topic.
Categories, tags, forums, blogs, mailing lists, irc chats, all about wp.com.org.mu.bbpress.buddypress.talkpress 1.0/2.8/1.0alpha/2.7.1. It’s a lot to keep up with, as I’m sure you can agree with.
Even though I have one unified login through-out the platforms, I check 7 websites, am logged into 4 IRC chat rooms, get 3 emails a day, all to stay on the edge of what is going on with development, and I don’t even get paid from automattic to keep up with it all.
My wish, would be for automattic to pull all of the platforms together, and have a central place for me to collect and view the information that’s relevant to me.
I’m willing to help in whatever way(s) I can. 🙂
Jane, you’re asking the right question which is a great encouragement.
- Let the IRC channel die. It’s not being used.
- The hackers list seems to work. Personally I prefer online forums so I can subscribe with RSS, but I guess the list itself would have to determine that.
- The blog also works. Great.
- I didn’t know about wpdevel, but have now subscribed to the feed. Perhaps this could be made more widely known from wordpress.org
- Ideas forum. Great idea, poor implementation. As a minimum it needs a huge cleanup. Users should be asked for their WP version when making the suggestion or adding a comment. Threads that don’t receive comments from users using current versions of WP should be automatically closed. When a new version comes out that affects the suggestion (even if it doesn’t completely implement the suggestion) mods should close the thread and add an appropriate note. Users ought also be able to suggest that threads can be closed with a link to a plugin that implements the idea. Users ought to be able to nominate threads for closing if the idea is duplicated elsewhere.
- Trac. Trac is great – for those who know how to use it. But there’s too much noise. I would be very much in favour of needing to fill in an application form to get write-access to Trac. The application would be automatically approved, but the application form would point end-users to other places where bug reports and ideas should be posted, and say that Trac was restricted to software developers only. Moderators on the Forum and Ideas discussions would need to create Trac tickets on behalf of end-users where appropriate. When they do so, they could link to the ticket so end-users could follow the discussion.
PS – I disagree with the concerns about governance expressed above. There is some correct concern about the direction of WP (which is sometimes led by WordPress.com needs), but I’ve always found the core devs willing to listen to the community. On balance though, I’m quite sure the community benefits significantly by Automattic’s leadership. If we didn’t, there’d be a fork. Now if we were talking about BBPress, that’s a different scenario…
First off, I’m really glad to see someone step up to the plate to finally help make sense of the WordPress Spaghetti project. I’ve been waiting for this day for awhile now and am pleased to have the opportunity to voice my suggestions. This is a complex problem given the size and scope of the WordPress community. As others have already mentioned, I strongly believe that there are TOO MANY channels of communication. Mailing Lists, IRC, Forum, Ideas, Trac, Blogs, WordPress Dashboard, my head is already starting to spin.
I believe that it’s time to consolidate. Time to trim the WordPress tree and remove some branches in order to bring the information and interaction back to the trunk of the project. The more I think about all of the possibilities to solve this problem, the more I think that BuddyPress could serve to be most of the answer. I’ve heard Matt a number of times share the idea of WordPress.org having an installation of BuddyPress and tying all of the various parts of the projects together into a registered users activity stream. I think now would be a good opportunity to see this realized.
I’d like for WordPress.org to be the ultimate social network/hub for WordPress. I should only need to register one account which will provide me with my typical BuddyPress profile. The WordPress.org forums should be integrated with BuddyPress, as should the Ideas section. If not integrated, just start over from scratch with those two bits of the project integrated right into BuddyPress. IRC should be reserved for power users. Instead, Prologue 2 would be a much better solution. You could schedule chats, have an archive, and overall do a better job organizing the discussions. No more searching for log files published on the Codex. Using BuddyPress, I could have the ability to create mini groups inside of the main project and I could configure how much or how little I want to contribute.
Ultimately inside of this social network, I would like to see a core group created which consists of the core developers or those close to the project with no other members added to the group. You could throw the developer blog in for good measure. I want to see the end of each major developer of WordPress publishing bits and pieces of information and it shows up in the dashboard where in the end, we have a bunch of fragmented information. It would serve the community better if we keep that stuff off of the developers blogs and put into a central repository aka the developers group in this BuddyPress install.
With regards to the Codex, I’m not sure of the best way to get more people contributing to this evolving manual. As it stands, I hate everything about the Codex except the information that is their. The Codex would be so much better if it contained HALF of the information which is presented on a weekly basis on blogs that are part of the WordPress community. Again, a problem of fragmented information. Their either needs to be an incentive for people to publish that information to the Codex, or the Codex needs to somehow link to these in depth blog posts sometimes providing better information than what is found in the Codex. Again, not sure how to fit this into the social network/hub of WordPress but their has to be a way.
I think WordPress should create an official hashtag to utilize Twitter. Perhaps #wpideas or #wpfeedback or things like that and then aggregate that Twitter information into BuddyPress where I could choose to follow or ignore that information. Maybe taking into account some other social means of participating would be cool as well.
I think this is getting a little long in the tooth so I’ll just end it by saying I think BuddyPress could serve as an awesome platform to help reform the way people contribute to the project and provide a means of Two-Way communication that many people would be able to partake in without a PHd in Coding.
But, if there are not enough people to manage things which apparently has been the case for the forum, the ideas section, and other channels of communication, it doesn’t matter what WordPress does, it will fail.
How about everything apart from the forums dies? Then, with a brand spanking new version of bbPress (okay, so I’m aiming this at bbPress too) you get a forum with a few new mods and emailability: once I write a post or reply I get emails with it’s progression. That way I get the best of wp-hackers and the forum.
Management of the forum has to be developed: you needs mods dedicated to answering questions 24/7 in a support forum (subforums: installation, themes, css etc) and then mods working in an ideas forum (subforums: bugs, wibnis). When a post is submitted to the ideas forum a mod reviews it (and marks it as reviewed [flagging without getting it sticky]) then, where suitable it get’s added to a WordPress bug tracking system. Only mods get to add bugs but anybody can leave comments on the bug report. That way there should be no duplicates (as the mods are trusted to search before adding) and the mods can give each entry a priority rating that is fair (otherwise everyone’s going to hit 1).
PS. @demetris I love bbPress!
d just like to second jeffr0s thoughts about using BuddyPress. Atm its very hard to collaborate together with others to make WordPress better.
There should be Automattic moderated and initiated workshops to work on specific issues where people might contribute. I`d also like so see a such workgroup for plugins, themes, hacks and graphics.
BuddyPress should be the colloberation environment.
There`s a nice article on Alistapart this week by Derek Powazek – The wisdom of community:
I guess it might be the article that initiated this discussion ? 😉
I think WordPress should use UserVoice as a method of input. It is free for Open Source so price isn’t an issue.
You receive voting on issues that the community thinks is important and they can be open and closed like bugs. So if there is an irrelevant conversation admins can close them, but still getting a feel for the issues that are important to the community.
Currently Stack Overflow uses this as their sole bug tracking system.
@demetris: Your post just proves the point that communication is an issue. I would not say that WP lacks a clear direction, I would say that it simply hasn’t been communicated properly.
@kwebble: A published roadmap against which suggestions can be weighed is a great idea.
@aaron_guitar: In the Ideas forum, right under the rating and tags it will say the idea is -under consideration, -addressed by a plugin, or -it has been implemented.
@mark8barnes: re WordPress.com affecting WP development, I haven’t really seen that since I started at Automattic. Different developers work on .com full-time, so they write their own stuff as needed. Also? If I’d been thinking about .com when I worked on the 2.7 redesign, a few things definitely would have been different. 🙂
@jeffr0: I agree that using BuddyPress as a base would open up a lot of possibilities.
@bsutcliffe: I should have mentioned the wp-testers mailing list in the original post, too. Thousands of people test the alpha/beta versions and submit bug reports, so we’d need to make sure any system allowed them quick and easy bug reporting.
@johnmyr: Derek’s article did not inspire this discussion, as the dev blog post is based on a talk I gave at WordCamp Denver in February, but his article does make some good points. If you look back at the icon design contest, I think we followed a process similar to that which he recommends.
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