Re: Allow users to vote : website in the idea of Ideastorm
The Launchpad Bounty system is going away. In fact I think they are in the process of removing all the UI traces of it. It was an idea that didn't work out apparently.
Originally Posted by aysiu
To be honest I'm a bit skeptical of this ideastorm proposal. It seems like a good idea for a corporate product (like Dell or HP or ...) but I have some serious doubts that'd work for Ubuntu (or many FLOSS projects for that matter). The problem that is see, as Hobbsee pointed out, that this hinges on things actually being done. Here are some relevant observations that I might make:
* The importance of a bug/feature is a combination of the number of people that will be effected and how critically they will be effected. The practical priority of a bug/feature is a combination of the importance and feasibility. An ideastorm-like site can really only address the "number of people" part effectively. Ideas that are critical to small numbers of people are generally not going to make it if they don't get backed by enough people. Feasibility will have to be assessed by people capable of implementing the desired feature.
* The usefulness of such a site depends on the most voted "ideas" being implemented. If say the top 5-10 ideas are not implemented within say the 1st release then the voters will start to become unhappy. After the 2nd release rolls around people start getting downright mutinous. And the interest in your site goes by the wayside. Not for a lack of what you did, but it's generally not a good idea to make some claim "Vote for your top feature so it will get implemented" without the control to back it up.
* This idea, and many others I've seen around the forums, seem to hinge around the idea the "problem" is that the Ubuntu developers don't know what to work on or how important it is to users. The vision I get is some uber-hacker sitting in his mom's basement thinking to himself, "dang it, I can't think of anything to work on!" I would like to propose that this is utter nonsense.
The majority of Ubuntu developers are volunteers and have day-jobs. Many have families and lots of obligations outside Ubuntu. If you look at the number of open bugs in Launchpad (just over 34k when I checked just now), the number of packages (somewhere around 20k), and then you realize that there are probably not any more than 50 really active developers (there are 97 total in Ubuntu) at a given time, that means for every active developer there is 680 bugs and 400 packages per developer at any given time. On top of that most developers spend time help upstream projects, working in other areas in Ubuntu, and/or helping to recruit new developers. There are already way more ideas than people to implement them.
Beyond just the sheer issue of available time, the plain fact of the matter is that the average user is not in the best position to understand the feasibility, consequences, and necessary components to implement features they are wanting. They just know they want it
* I think also the "Developers don't care about us" attitude is also utter nonsense. I've seen developers sacrifice a lot, time, money, family, etc. to try to give users their best. Many developers do skim through the forums occasionally but it's very difficult to wade through with the limited time we have. The forums are not appropriate for development coordination or discussion and are really awful bug trackers. And I'll let you in on a secret, many developers don't say they are developers on the forums because they've been treated badly in the past. It's no fun pouring all your effort out for people only to have them tell you you suck and are an idiot. So they go about their work anonymously.
So, to end this with a positive note, I do think if you could get developer buy-in and made sure that the voters expectations where managed right that an ideastorm-like site could be successful for Ubuntu. My word of caution is that idea's alone aren't going to be enough.
"That's all very well in practice, but will it ever work in theory?" -- G. Hill
"A tidy laboratory means a lazy chemist." -- Jöns Jacob Berzelius