Wood gatherers, boat architects, or sailing experience designers?

30 Mar 2009 - 4:47am
7 years ago
4 replies
890 reads
Joshua Porter

I quit the SIGIA list 4 years ago because I couldn't stand the

I'm now ready to quit the IxDA list for the same reason.

Not saying I'm special, just saying that here is *one* vote that the
current discourse sucks.

There is a saying that I particularly like:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather
wood...Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

So...right now we're discussing what to call the people who are
gathering the f'ing wood. Should they be called wood gatherers, or
boat architects or sailing experience designers?

Here's a suggestion:

Let's talk about the sea.

Let's talk about how the Facebook interface is rewiring the way people
interact online. Would you design it similarly? Or different...why?

Let's talk about how the Kiva interface is changing economies for
entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries. How would you design the
profiles & reputation framework for this system?

Let's talk about how the PatientsLikeMe interface allows people to
manage their illnesses better. How would you design the relationships
between the site and pharmaceutical companies?

Let's make hypotheses, gather evidence, SHOW OUR RESEARCH & WORK, and
discuss rationally.

There are IxDA board members whose role it is to organize the
community. Let's leave that work for them.

For us regular folks on the list, the people creating the interfaces
that enables important human interaction, let's talk about the awesome
potential of the work we do.


30 Mar 2009 - 6:22am
Dave Malouf


It is also important every once in a while when your seaman got a bug
up their butt to let them have a good old fashion bar brawl. It is
healthy especially in this circumstance.

To be honest, there have been some great posts in this series of
threads that so far have lasted about 3 days. And if you observe the
energy flow, you'll notice that the tide is going out.

I've been on this list for 5 years now. This happens. It is in
response to some trigger in the wide world that as a community we
need to cathartically deal with. This is not just a list of peers
doing business, but a community of people. We use each other. Whether
on Twitter or on this list (or others).

I think a call to just talking about the sea, is actually counter to
the spirit I think you represent, in that we need to allow any social
community to address itself. In taking this back to the issue of good
design, any good community organizer knows that the people need more
than a mission.

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org

30 Mar 2009 - 8:56am
Mike Myles

Overall I find the discussions on IxDA to be quite thoughtful;
covering a great width and depth of design issues.

That said, I 100% agree that the "what do we call ourselves?"
conversation rears its ugly head far too often on every discussion
board and at every conference related to design. It's not that it
doesn't matter at all, but it's inside baseball that doesn't
warrant the extensive energy expended on the subject every time it's
raised - which seems to be almost constantly.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name
would smell as sweet."

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Posted from the new ixda.org

30 Mar 2009 - 9:32pm
Richard Dalton

Joshua, in the spirit of openness and honesty I feel the need to call
BS on this. There is more than a little hypocrisy about you of all
people calling for an end to talking about definitions and "deaths
of professions".

Not everyone is on the same cycle of meta-UX discussions. You were
mentally there in Nov 2006, others are there now, it will pass.

Oh and since I seem to have been an instigator (on here at least) -
its never really been about job titles (ok, yes it was framed that
way) - its about finding a common unifying concept that we can rally
around so the organizations that for years have been pretty much
"doing their own thing" can *really* collaborate at last.

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org

31 Mar 2009 - 5:10am
Leon Barnard

For me, personally, I read the threads that interest me and skip the
ones that don't. I haven't participated in, nor read much of, the
"what do we call ourselves" discussion, so I'm not bothered by it.
There are still enough topics that do interest me to keep me
- Leon

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