I sent this to the Ayatana group and I’m posting here to my blog to invite any designers who are not in that group.
This is an invitation to all designers who will be at UDS-M soon to talk about reducing the resistance in the community to Ayatana developments and directions. So I want to kick off a discussion here and then carry
it on at UDS:
We’ve seen in the wider community resistance for a number of decisions that have been taken by the DX, Design and Ayatana groups in both Karmic and Lucid cycles. Various things seem to generate irritated users who are naturally not pleased about change.
As a community leader I don’t like this kind of fighting. So I’ve been thinking more about how to reduce the problems through better communication and conflict resolution.
I believe better communication doesn’t just mean talking in more places or going into more depth about the technical details of a design. It means using certain inviting language and designing the communication
for the audience, making sure that your course correcting each time there is a conflict of interest so the next communication includes as points what has been brought up before and doesn’t lead to duplication.
The observed culture has had a tendency to consider conflict as a bad thing, an all or nothing affair to disprove ever tenant. I’d like to encourage the view that conflicts are not about going all one way or all
another way but are about considering and factoring in the consideration into a variance so that the outcome is not exactly like either party predicted.
Some of that good dialectic goes on here in this mailing list, but that’s not communicated much outside where it would do good to calm people. I believe some of the problems stem from language of outside
publishings, e.g: “We’ve made this choice because we believe it’s better for normal users, there are no options and if your an advanced user, we’re not really thinking of you when we made this choice so please
don’t ask for us to add options.” (hyperbole, but you get the point)
Basically an invitation to get irate and not much of an invitation to come and help factor in various different positions and considerations. Not that this is the intention, I believe that the people writing these articles are really trying to communicate to the users. But language and ability to cope with user’s opinions seems to turn an opportunity to advance the design of Ubuntu into a flame war that ends up turning users off.
A few of my community circles react to Design Team news with a *sigh* and “Oh god what have they done now”. The teams reputation is low and it’s over shadowing the really great work that’s going on. How can I
convince people to trust decisions or even get involved if they don’t trust that the discussions are fair, balanced and considered? So I’d like to be able to build up social relations so that we’re not just on par with other teams, but surpass their ability to bring people in and form their world view into solid multi-consideration design.
I want people to think of Canonical and think of an awesome company that really get involved with it’s users (downstream) and it’s suppliers (upstream) and is really clever at blending everyone’s positions into something awesome. MPT is a perfect example, very good at considering and communicating effectively with the community. *cheer* Thanks! You’ve been great at calming various people.
Thoughts and Responses best put onto the Ayatana mailing list or held for UDS.