Z98 wrote:Seeing as attempting to indirectly state the following have completely failed.
1) As the project's manpower is limited, the only times when something the community participates in has any chance of being closely monitored and curated by the project's personnel are those that the project itself proposes it to the community. Anything that the community itself proposes faces the issue of, if the project had the manpower to deal with it, we probably would have already proposed it to the community at large. As such the default assumed position if there is no response should be that the project cannot take it on or does not need.
2) If the project does decide to accommodate a request or proposal, then the speed at which the proposal is acted upon is dependent on when manpower is available. If something takes six months to do, it is because other things were of greater priority to the project, regardless of the personal priority of whoever made the original proposal.
3) Offering yourself to perform work has little meaning unless the work in question is something the project would consider delegating. If the work is not something the project would consider delegating, volunteering for it has no effect on how quickly it can be done. Whether to delegate or not is dependent on the degree of trust that the project holds for a volunteer and the sensitivity of what the work entails. Even in cases where the task is mundane however, if there is not a sufficient degree of trust then the task will not be delegated.
4) Offering yourself to perform work does not mean the project is spared having to do work. The majority of the time anything proposed requires action on the project's part. If the required time is not available, then the offer will be declined. While you may regard this as the project foregoing freely provided results, we regard it as not taking on additional work for something that we may not yet need.
1)That's basically the top-down model I described. If it is not decided from 'above', it has almost no chance of getting anywhere, is what you actually say there. Whether it is due to a lack of manpower or something else, it remains the same concept, with the same results. One fails to see that with that attitude, the lack of manpower will also continue in the long run, since there is very little influx of 'new blood' possible. People from within the community who want to help out with little things are getting nowhere, getting frustrated and eventually leave. Thus, instead of stimulating a process of more community-participation by and from the community, which would eventually lead to having more manpower as a whole, one gets stuck in a chicken-or-egg problem. It is deemed no such bottom-up community-effort can be done because of lack of manpower, and because of this lackluster approach, very few manpower is added, which serves as a reason not to react to community-efforts, etc. Well, you know...maybe one should think of the long-term too, and break this cycle. The last sentence you use in that paragraph is, from the viewpoint of communication, a complete no-no. Seriously, it is. there is not one communication-theory who would claim it's normal practise that NO REACTION OR FEEDBACK should be considered a form of adequate feedback, not even negative feedback. This is exactly THE problem with communications around here, and rest assured, I'm well aware PR uses this frequently. which is why I always ask and discuss my projects in front, exactly to make sure I'm not on a fools' errand and my work is not for naught. Still with very little success, because even after the answer is general positive, once I do the work, still nothing happens with it. Which pisses me off even more, granted.
2) and 3): well, that's exactly one of the issues I wanted to point out. The priority for almost anything that the community does gets far too low of a priority. Yes, coding is the most important. It doesn't mean all the rest has no importance whatsoever. And yes, no doubt there are other things of PR as well that have a higher priority than what any community-member proposes, but there is a difference between giving something a higher priority and basically neglecting something because of giving it an ultra-low priority. As said in another post, it's not that I or others do not understand one is busy, but there are limits to everything. If something has SO low priority that it takes six months for a relatively easy task that only takes a fraction of that time to do, there is something wrong with the level at which one sets your priorities.
Furthermore, as I've tried to explain in the past, it is NOT only the direct value something has, but, certainly in the department of PR, also the indirect value it has too. Namely, in these cases, you create goodwill instead of frustration, you make people stay instead of leaving, you make people more inclined to also do other things, and in the long run reduce the shortage of manpower with it. All these things also mean you create and maintain a larger fanbase, which in turn can also test more, give more money, etc. It is in this context you have to view the proposals too, and prioritise them accordingly. This aspect has not seeped through within PR, I must honestly say. As you indicate yourself, virtual all proposals or actual work on things from the community - granted, often deemed of less important for the higher ups (but everything but coding is, really) - is deemed worth next to nothing compared to other things. It's exactly that which I tried to substantiate. It receives a much too low priority, to the point that even simple things lasts more than half a year. Well, sorry, this is not normal anymore. If anyone, you included, would be dealt with in such a manner by any other organisation you offered help and support, you would feel vexed and frustrated as well, and not offer any help anymore nor hold your support. Goodwill has to be created by both sides, after all.
And no, it's not like community-members are all unreasonable people who want 'their' idea to be implemented 'immediately' as 'it is'; most understand very well you're busy and short-handed. I personally, for instance, have been patient months upon months to have a rather trivial work been done so that my translated site works. I've reworked my newspaper - after a positive reaction to my suggestion on forehand to see if there was interest - until PR was satisfied. I did not complain about that at all. Idem with the wallpapers. And I'm sure others have done or proposed things too. Very few got ever implemented however, and certainly not within a reasonable time. (Reasonably being giving someone more than 1000 times the time that one normally would expect of a normal working organisation, for instance). This is, indeed - as you said - because you set SUCH a low priority on those things, that it's worth next to nothing - which, if you really are of that opinion, you should just say so in front, instead of making it sound that such help would be welcome and then afterwards put a priority 'next to worthless' to it. You seem to miss the understanding that it's better to have a clear 'no' than a 'sure go ahead' and then prioritise that work as nothing, making the person in question waste his time as well, making him frustrated, ignore all what he says (he'll discover soon enough that it means no after all if we ignore him long enough) and don't communicate about it. Then it's better to say outright you don't appreciate community efforts. Maybe make a banner on top of the forum.
But then also, do not be surprised if you stay short-handed in the long run, your fanbase doesn't really get much bigger, and your financial backing does not go beyond a maximum of around 30000 dollar. You can't grow in those aspects if you consider the proposals and work and help offered by your fanbase the lowest priority there is. I would, thus, keep this in mind when 'prioritising' things in the future. It's not because it's less tangible that that extra worth isn't there. It IS important to have an involved community, and not only from the top-down viewpoint but also the bottom-up way. Ignoring or neglecting help, offers and communication because it's so 'low priority' is not a good way to deal with that.
4)While it may take some small amount of work, the majority of the work is done by others, that's the whole point. Relative to the work as a whole, thus, one needs very little input of the devs/PR. Since I can't speak for others, I'll take my own eforts as examples again: I did not ask for anyone else to make a compilation of blogs as a new newsletter, I did it myself. I also didn't see (nor ask) any of the devs or PR to organise and maintain a wallpaper-contest on the forum, nor did I ask to search for adequate high-res pics and put them conveniently on a site to choose from. I didn't ask anyone else to translate the site in Dutch neither, or expected you or anyone else from PR to do it: that's why *I* offered to do that after all, and when it concerns work, I demand from myself to deliver good work in a reasonable timeframe. I also expect that of others. Regardless of personal opinions or even potential misgivings, once you decide to do a job, you do it as best and as quick as you can: that's called professionalism.
The expectation for this professionalism for and of all parties, is not unreasonable, me thinks. Thus, as one can see, 90% of that specific work is done by somebody else, and 10% is left for the PR. For that 10%, one can, however, expect the same professionalism. Yes, you are busy, have things with more priority and are time-constraint by real-life and other occupations. So am I. I do not invoke all these things to make people wait for more than half a year, nor to cancel things one agreed to, nor to ignore people or refuse to communicate or give adequate feedback to it. I, too, have many other priorities. It still does not mean I don't deliver what I agreed to or can reasonably expect my part of the job is (aka, when offering translation, I don't expect *you* to translate, for instance). But, in reverse, one CAN expect other people doing their part for the effort too. Even if they think and find the work is very low priority. The navigation buttons, for instance, prohibited any useful navigation through any of the pages/site that I translated. I could not do it. So it stands to reason you (PR) does it then, and that within a reasonable timeframe. I don't care how important one deems the priority to be: it comes with the job (if not of the devs, than certainly the job of PR/webmaster/etc.).
Now, it's one way or the other: OR you do the (10% of the) job that can be expected - yes, at a certain moment EVEN if it means postponing something else (unless one has no feeling of being reasonable in making people wait, nor being professional) - OR you give those people enough rights to do it themselves. However, none of the above is done. One either ignores or low-prioritises anything that isn't decided top-down (or is of personal interest) and complain the remaining work is still too much (the 'taking on additional work'), yet at the same time, one does not give people enough possibilities to do 100% of the work. Now, this is contradictory. Yes, one talks about how there must be enough trust to do that and what not, but in essence, what one is saying is: we can't do that because we're shorthanded, and we're shorthanded, because we don't trust enough people to give them the rights to help remedying our short-handedness. Well...be that as it may, but that's a decision you make of your own volition, then. Thus one can hardly complain about being shorthanded as if it were a force majeure. Mind you, I'm not saying you are wrong or right in being selective to whom you defer certain rights, but I AM saying that, if ones' excuse is that there are too few people helping, but at the same time you don't trust enough people to give those rights to, the problems lays squarely with you guys. Because it's a conscious decision on your part with as consequence one is and remains shorthanded, in that case. It's fully your right to distrust people wanting to help, but then don't invoke short-handedness as a reason you can't get anything of the community-proposals done.
In summary, I think it would do good to do a few things, if community effort is appreciated at all:
1)give a higher prioritisation to offers/proposals/work done from and by the community itself (not only the top-down kind, thus). In that respect, not only count the short-term direct result, but also the long-term indirect results of such a thing.
2)keep to minimum standards of delivery and professionalism. EVEN if you find something low-priority, and EVEN if one is busy, one must remain reasonable and understand one can't keep shoving something to the backburner eternally.This means, giving adequate feedback and/or going on with the (part of) the job within a reasonable timeframe. Ignoring, neglecting and not responding or doing anything for that particular job or person on your part for more than half a year is not
3)If you're too shorthanded, delegate more. Decentralise. Give more rights to more people. Trust people more. If not, stop complaining about being shorthanded, since it's a direct result of not wanting to trust people enough to give them rights to help you. You can't have it both ways, and complain about it on the one hand and use it as an explanation why things don't get done, but at the same time not wanting to trust people enough to become less short-handed. Basically, it's YOUR decision to be shorthanded, then - if not as a goal, than in any case as a direct result of ones' own decisions made in this respect.
4)Even if the answer would be negative, it's necessary to give proper feedback on that. In front. And during/afterwards. Communication is at the heart of many problems, frustrations and other issues within a group of people. One must be able to speak openly and without always having to sugar-coat everything, but at the same time avoid being personal or resorting to namecalling or such. One can be open and direct and yet remain civil, after all. Also, one has to remain logical and to the point; there is no use for wish-wash and nonsensicalities, nor irrational back-and-forths. And yes, I know this takes time and effort, but that's part of the job. If you don't care nor want to do PR, then don't go for the job of PR. If you do accept the job of PR, then be professional and act the part. This also means realising that it's not just about things one is personally interested in or find high-priority, but also what the community wants or proposes. Since PR, after all, is dealing in a two-way direction with the community, and enlarging the fanbase should be a major part of any PR work.