My email to the ubuntu marketing list:
As you all know; Dell launched dellideastorm.com to get community feedback and suggestions. I think this move was brilliant on Dell's part, allowing them to get invaluable feedback that otherwise would have been too vast, overwhelming and complex to deal with. This " Web2.0" approach allowing users to vote and comment ideas, allows the most popular to float to the top, to "separate the wheat from the chaff" so to speak
I purpose that Canonical follow suit with a similar "idea storm". A web2.0 approach similar to dell's ideastorm, for ideas on how to improve ubuntu , suggestions, constructive criticism and annoyances. A place where people feel their opinions can actually be heard, rather than ignored.
It has been my experience that developers while brilliant and technically capable lack the ability to see the perspective of the "average Joe computer user". It has also been pointed out that the forums and lauchpad allow for users to give feedback, however both of these lack the spirit that the " Web2.0" approach gives. Launchpad is imho too technical for most users, and the forums really don't provide an easy way to harness the collective opinions of ubuntu's user base.
I can see only good things coming from harnessing the collective wisdom of users, such as allowing for coherent, focused and prioritized feedback for the developers.
Adam's letter to me:
We spoke briefly on IRC. Again, I'm more in favor of collecting the information from inside of Ubuntu if at all possible ("Click here to take Ubuntu surveys") so that the absolute largest number of users can send feedback to us, as well as suggestions. I think that the web 2.0 approach you're suggesting adds unnecessary technical strains. I am more in favor of polls and surveys being added to the Canonical site and linked to from inside of Ubuntu.
Why not do both? I see each approach as bringing something unique and useful to the table.
I think that the web 2.0 approach you're suggesting adds unnecessary technical strains.
Setting up a site similar to Dell's Idea Storm, specifically for Ubuntu, would be rather easy using pligg http://pligg.com/ It is still in beta but seems to be a completely usable platform.
I am more in favor of polls and surveys being added to the Canonical site and linked to from inside of Ubuntu.
I personally do not fill out surveys, they seem like such a chore and hassle, and I feel as though no one reads them. Poll's are nice within the options they provide, but what if the user has an opinion or idea outside the scope of the poll's choices? Also I would think it would be harder to manually gather statistics, maybe there is some software for manually sorting suggestions?
The reason I love Dell's Idea Storm so much is it allows the most popular and agreed upon suggestions to float to the top. I can look and see how the community resonates with my idea. When I send in a survey I have no idea if anyone else shares my opinions, and honestly I don't want to take the time and effort to complete one. The " Web2.0" approach holds much more appeal to me as a feedback mechanism, than polls, forums, surveys, or launchpads ever could. I think all methods of feedback are useful, but I believe the Web2.0 approach would wield the most power for polishing ubuntu's rough edges for end users.
"Web 2.0" is just the marketing name for "Hype 8.20RC20."
Web 2.0--and Web 1.0 for that matter--are excellent tools for spreading information and permitting communication among dispersed individuals. That should come as no surprise--that's what the network is for.
What has been less demonstrable is the ability of this distributed horde of commentators and contributors to add anything productive to the phenomenon they are attempting to criticize.** "Web 2.0" is an echo chamber: it lets you get the word out to people who are interested in hearing you. It's most certainly not a guarantee of actual development energy.
The development model that exists for Ubuntu and its constituent components depends on user input, yes--but it depends more on actual developer action. Comments posted on some independent forum, no matter how hype-compliant, will not reach the eyes of the developers that need to read them. Consequently, those features will not be implemented. The HypeBoard Echo Chamber will once again ring with the howls of Web 2.0 flamers, who decry the insensitivity of the developers.
These flamers will conveniently ignore the fact that there are structures already in place for dealing with user input and feature requests.
It is, of course, useless to point this out to dedicated flamers, because their community instincts have already been satisfied by posting their flame on their Hype 2.0 compatible structure.
** Note, for instance, the so-called revolutionary effect of political bloggers and blogging. I am not yet convinced that anyone can tell me of an instance where blogging literally turned an election. Moreover, I continue to suspect that, had people bothered actually participating in the existing, formal structure for politics (you know, elections!), they might have accomplished more than simply venting their spleen on the internet for the consumption of more like-minded spleen-venters.
Yeah great idea. maybe we could call it Launchpad!
Anyone know whatever happened to the Ubuntu Forums Ambassadors idea?
Launchpad feels more technical for developers and such... not for end users.
The dev mailing lists are open; but tend to be more technically-oriented.
The bug trackers and Launchpad seem technical because, let's face it, bug-tracking is technical work. But that is also the accepted and preferred way of making feature requests.