Re: Where is the data?

On Sat, 2011-08-20 at 18:42 +0200, Giovanni Campagna wrote:
> Il giorno sab, 20/08/2011 alle 11.02 -0400, Shaun McCance ha scritto:
> > I also do user tests when working on the help. I also don't do
> > write-ups. I fix problems or I pass information on to those who
> > are in a position to fix the problems.
> Uhm... Until today, I saw nothing concerning results of user testing,
> including in the parts of code written by me, and in the bugs assigned
> to me. Which either means we're doing too few tests, or they're
> communicated badly to the larger community. Or both, probably.

Both. I don't think the notion that we could use more tests is
controversial, nor the notion that we could communicate better.
But the implication throughout the way too many emails in the
last week is that nobody is doing anything. That's just plain
false, and I'm sure you can understand how that would upset
those of us who do user testing.

> In either case, we may need to stop and consider how to improve this
> situation.
> For example, at the desktop summit, the first keynote, about large
> companies and open sources, emphasized the great amount of user testing
> continuously undertaken. This could be employed by the project and
> reused to evaluate design and implementation, but pnly if those results
> are made available outside the companies.

No doubt. In the past, we've benefited greatly from results of
user tests done by companies like Sun and Novell. A constructive
conversation about how we can better partner with companies to
get more user testing would be, I think, welcomed by the community.

> > Just because I don't publish reports doesn't mean I don't do
> > user tests. And the constant assertions that nobody is looking
> > at feedback are getting a bit insulting.
> Well, if you don't publish anything, other people cannot know your doing
> them, and someone, like me, will wrongly end up thinking that you're
> doing nothing.
> I'm sorry if this is annoying you, but you cannot expect people from
> outside, that don't know you, to trust your work, without seeing the end
> results of it.

I can't speak for anybody else you've worked with, but I've never
shared results with you because I've never asked you to change
anything. If somebody asks you to change something in software
that you maintain, you absolutely have the right to demand they
justify the change. Maintainers have the final authority in GNOME.
They always have.

I make decisions every single day about the direction of the software
I maintain, and about the structure, contents, and tone of our help
and documentation. People usually trust me, because I've been at this
for a long time now. If I had to make a formal justification for all
those decisions, I don't think I'd get anything done at all.

I know you're just trying to make great free software like the rest
of us, and that you don't want to stifle the development. We could
use more transparency, but not more red tape. But right now, I think
people have serious mailing list fatigue. We might get more done if
we circulate proposals off-list.


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