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Re: Process for Site Improvement

by jdporter (Canon)
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:29 UTC ( #750142=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Process for Site Improvement

I'm really grateful for all the other responses so far in this thread, particular the opener by bellaire and the latest one by tye. They address the high-level issues brought up by elisheva. So here I go:

Is there a PM "wish list" posted anywhere?

Not as such. The closest thing would be the Tutorials Quest, which is specific to the Tutorials section. For other "solicited feature requests", the gods used to use the Quests section, but that has only been used for polls for several years now.

For unsolicited requests, it's pretty much just this section, Perl Monks Discussion.

Various cabal groups, such as pmdev, have their own internal "to-do" wikis... but in fact, all of these are stale. They probably contain lots of good ideas which people raised years ago, so I wouldn't say they're completely worthless in their current state.

Is there a way we could use technology to help with the tracking and prioritizing of suggestions?

It's not a technological problem, it's a social problem. I believe we have sufficiently advanced technology already. :-)

That said - A wiki for (approved) general site feature requests, analogous to the narrow-purposed Tutorials Quest, might be nice. OTOH, it would probably serve one purpose predominantly: to show the user community just how slow/ineffective the site maintainers are. :-)

If someone really felt motivated, they could go through all the old PMD threads looking for likely suggestions. The criteria for a noteworthy candidate would be that (a) it received a good positive concensus, especially from any gods who weighed in; (b) it hasn't already been implemented; (c) it hasn't been rendered moot by later developments (i.e., OBE). Because PMD is used for other purposes as well — asking for help, reporting a bug, general venting — this will be a monumental task. But anyone who even begins such an undertaking will, I feel certain, enjoy it and will learn a lot about why PerlMonks is the way it is now. (Update:) One could start by searching for PMD nodes containing the string "we need", for example.

Between the mind which plans and the hands which build, there must be a mediator... and this mediator must be the heart.


Comment on Re: Process for Site Improvement
Re^2: Process for Site Improvement
by Lawliet (Curate) on Mar 12, 2009 at 18:51 UTC
    If someone really felt motivated, they could go through all the old PMD threads looking for likely suggestions.

    Sounds more like something a robot should do. One that is good with manipulating text and has plenty of already written code that can assist with traversing websites and such. :P

    I'm not sure if that joke is overused here…

    And you didn't even know bears could type.

      If we had a working tag system, we could tag various PMDs as feature_request, bug_report, general_rant, and so on.

        Do we have one that does not work? Is it that little thing that says what type of node the currently viewed node is?. Node Type: note

        And you didn't even know bears could type.

Re^2: Process for Site Improvement
by ELISHEVA (Prior) on Mar 13, 2009 at 14:18 UTC
    If someone really felt motivated, they could go through all the old PMD threads looking for likely suggestions.

    I have actually started working my way through one particularly fertile thread full of suggestions and feedback: PerlMonks for newbies?. I'm about half way through and so can make a few observations about the work flow involved.

    The document I've been assembling lists each suggestion I found, followed by a list of comments related to that suggestion. Each comment identifies the monk, the note where the comment was found, whether the monk was for, against, expanded on the idea, or some combination of the above. Monks tend to be thoughtful, so they rarely simply say yea or nay.

    I'm currently doing this in a text editor opened side by side with the browser page. There are several things here that slow me down:

    • My text editor doesn't speak PM mark-up so I don't have any quick feedback as to whether I've formatted something correctly. That means I'm going to spend a lot of time just cleaning up format. What would be nice for this kind of work would to have extra private scratch pads that I could open side by side with a PM note.
    • Transferring the monks name and note id to my text file is slow and error prone. If there were a way I could press a button and see the id and author of a note appear in my scratch pad that would save lots of time.
    • An alternate approach (if we had the technology to support it) would be to tag and highlight selected portions of the text, but I'm not sure how useful this would really be. It turns out that a fair amount of work is involved in summarizing and categorizing suggestions. Most peoples eyes (especially mine) blur when lists don't have any narrative to help one categorize and remember the various ideas therein. I find that cutting and pasting in a text editor is the easiest way to create those categories and narrative.
    • Part of the reason this is true is that there are no well defined categories for suggestions - I'm making them up as I go. I suppose we could develop a coding system. That would facilitate multiple people getting involved - provided they would be willing to learn it. On the other hand that might hinder as much as help: it ups the learning curve for volunteers. More importantly, some of the best suggestions push things in a new direction that makes one rethink categories. What would we do with such out of the box suggestions? I think we need a history of free-form experience with this task before we can decide if a coding system is a good idea, or come up with a coding system that really works. So for the short term, tools that facilitate free-form categorization would be most helpful.
    • Where per-note tagging would really help would be in identifying lists of nodes that should be mined for suggestions. Tagging could also help volunteers keep track of which notes had been mined and which still needed mining. As notes progress, we simply change the tag to reflect that.
    • For tagging to work as a process management tool, we would also need a page that had a links to lists displaying nodes in each stage.

    Just some thoughts.

    Best, beth

      I've started using the It's All Text! Firefox extension.

      It lets me click the "edit" button on any textarea and modify it in my editor. Then clicking 'save' in the editor magically updates the textarea.

      This combined with the surround and repeat Vim plugins makes node editing much less work than it used to be.
Re^2: Process for Site Improvement
by jdporter (Canon) on Jul 28, 2009 at 11:26 UTC
    Various cabal groups, such as pmdev, have their own internal "to-do" wikis... but in fact, all of these are stale. They probably contain lots of good ideas which people raised years ago, so I wouldn't say they're completely worthless in their current state.

    I recently went through the pmdev to-do wiki and deleted all of the items which are "done" or "OBE" (no longer relevant). I then added all of the things I've been collecting on my personal pmdev to-do list. So, hopefully, the pmdev to-do wiki is now not completely worthless. :-)

    Between the mind which plans and the hands which build, there must be a mediator... and this mediator must be the heart.

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