First a little story...
There was an incredible basketball game on last night. As you may know from reading Scripting News, I have been enthusiastically following basketball all season, and now we're in the semi-finals, and the Indiana-Miami series has been incredible. Last night's game was probably the best game all season.
At the same time, the community feed is going through what I think of as growing pains. I've been developing community software for a long time, going back to the early 80s, and I've started lots of these things. Some of them grow up to be huge, like blogging and podcasting, and some don't. I learn a lot either way. But I don't need to learn things three or four times. Or more! One would hope.
The community feed, as it was set up, is exactly the same as an unmoderated mail list or discussion group. The fact that we're all using an outliner to write for it doesn't matter. It goes in a predictable direction. There's a sense that this is the center of everything, the place where decisions are made, the authority of everything. It isn't that. But it feels that way.
Over time that tends to push away the people we want to hear from most, the people who use our product but for their own work. They're not trying to do our work, which is to develop and enhance an outliner product, Fargo. But over time that's where these things tend to go. This community is growing very quickly, so the focus has shifted a lot sooner than I thought it would. I think to some extent, btw, that I am responsible for this rapid shift. My presence there serves as a lightning rod for people to give me feedback, and I even ask for it. I shouldn't, and I wll try not to in the future. I want to participate less, and get out of the way and let the users speak.
Anyway, during the game, a couple of well-intentioned outlines were posted that said "Pay attention to me now or else!" But I didn't want to do that, because I was watching a game, and I needed some time to think about what to do next, and I honestly I had had a few beers by then, and the last thing I wanted to do is get involved in the community feed. So, this is what I did:
1. I set the enabled flag for the group to false.
2. I went back to watching the game.
3. I thought some more about where I want to go with this.
That means that someone from Small Picture will read everything that's posted to the feed. If it's primarily feature suggestions about one of our products, we'll read it and it will influence our product decisions. Can't say we'll do everything people ask us to do, we can't (sometimes the requests are contradictory), but we are listening.
If it's a personal comment, we'll listen to that too, but hopefully it won't influence us very much. (That was a joke.)
If it's an ad for a product, esp from a competitor, we will read it, be influenced by it too. However none of these will be posted.
You are of course free to post these items anywhere else you like.
It's possible that moderation on this feed will help boot up an active widespread community of outliners publishing to the web. That's our hope! We're working on tools to make that easy and fun and powerful. It's certainly not unprecedented that lots of good can come from distributing the flow of ideas wide and far. That's what blogging is, after all.
Other than these items, unless people come up with other ideas, everything else will go through.
There's not very much new in the product itself.
A few changes needed to be made to support moderation.
And I still have more work to do on the back-end, so you can post items to the feed now, but they won't appear until the moderation feature is finished, server-side.
Thanks for your help in this, it really has been and continues to be a great learning experience for us!