Re: [IxDA] Re: [IxDA] improvement request :: add jobs mailing list

10 Jun 2010 - 8:24pm
4 years ago
6 replies
617 reads
Adam Korman
2004

On Jun 10, 2010, at 12:48 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> I do think though, that there is a bigger design problem here and email is NOT the ideal solution for it. I don't think we have the resources for the ideal, but I think email as a behavior model is not the right model for communities.

You may be right that email is not ideal for "communities," but I'm not sure that the organization's goal of creating a community is what most people use this (or any) discussion list/forum for most of the time. I have tried to follow the discussion on the site and via RSS, and neither of these are anywhere near acceptable. Email may not be the perfect tool either, but it is the best solution available (for me).

The main reasons? 1. The web is not push -- I will never seek it out. 2. RSS is too passive -- I use it to subscribe to feeds of content that are under someone else's control, not to follow and participate in discussion. 3. Email is a great for reading AND writing. 4. Email is great for scanning messages to find something that might be of interest, managing threaded conversations, saving messages I'm interested in, and getting rid of the stuff I'm not interested in. 5. Email is a common denominator for discussion lists. I subscribe to many of them, and as much as I like IxDA, it's not so special that I want to deal with it in a different way.

So, I understand that email delivery isn't going away, but I wouldn't assume that it needs to be supported just because people (like me) don't realize that there are better options or are stubborn. For me, email is the best option for subscribing to a discussion list.

Comments

10 Jun 2010 - 11:19pm
Dave Malouf
2005

[The below statements are my own and only I am responsible for them. I do not represent anyone or anything other than myself.]

Hi Adam,

This is a difficult conversation. The points you raise are all valid and important, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say something that might come across as rude and that is not my intent. I go back to my open letter I put out a few weeks ago when I said that IxDA needs to re-address its core values as part of the design criteria of the project. So, when I hear that you (and others) would not articulate their relationship to IxDA as something of a community, it re-affirms my basic fear that we have grown as an organization beyond our core constituency and probably need to return to our core personas (yes, we have them) and map them against the mission and goals of the organization.

This may mean that some people may be left out and I hope only in the beginning. I think that ultimately IXDA as a community is ultimately more valuable than IxDA as a "discussion" or "conversation" or even knowledge source. Why? b/c community can contain a conversation and SO MUCH MORE. A conversation as an end goal, or landing space is too limited, too small, and too ineffective. 

Again, these are just high statements that the organization does not have enough resources to delve into, but if you think so lowly of this community that it is not worth reaching out to, then I feel that probably it is not for you (and others). Maybe we do need membershi? Maybe we do need to reduce our numbers? I don't know. but I'm disheartened by the comment above and it makes me feel like the "experiment" of IxDA is not working out to its original goals and mission (aka a failure). 

Let the conversation continue ... but free it up and return it back to its Yahoo Group roots. It probably has all the functionality that anyone like Adam could hope for.

Am I the only one who feels that the conversation while important is not an end to itself? Is there something more here or am I delusional and too close?

-- dave
http://davemalouf.com/

11 Jun 2010 - 3:05am
Daniel Gross
2009

Hello David,

I am one of those who listens into the discussions from the periphery, since my main focus is currently elsewhere (research in organizational software engineering methodologies). However, I can clearly see the importance of the discussions I briefly follow to my work even if it's not (currently) directly applicable -- and I did pick up all kind of interesting nuggets that are quite useful and instructive.

I think it could be interesting to learn what you and others mean, understand, and intuit when you (and others) say community. What are the expectations, goals and, I guess, kind of interactions, you feel, would make the list into a community (again).

More generally, I feel it would be interesting to "canvas" the goals or purposes list subscribers have in putting some of their attention to the messages they receive from the list, or when getting it touch with the list.

Daniel

-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of David Malouf Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 9:59 AM To: daniel.gross@utoronto.ca Subject: Re: [IxDA] Re: [IxDA] Re: [IxDA] improvement request :: add jobs mailing list

[The below statements are my own and only I am responsible for them. I do
not represent anyone or anything other than myself.]

Hi Adam,

This is a difficult conversation. The points you raise are all valid and
important, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say something that might
come across as rude and that is not my intent. I go back to my open letter I
put out a few weeks ago when I said that IxDA needs to re-address its core
values as part of the design criteria of the project. So, when I hear that
you (and others) would not articulate their relationship to IxDA as something
of a community, it re-affirms my basic fear that we have grown as an
organization beyond our core constituency and probably need to return to our
core personas (yes, we have them) and map them against the mission and goals
of the organization.

This may mean that some people may be left out and I hope only in the
beginning. I think that ultimately IXDA as a community is ultimately more
valuable than IxDA as a "discussion" or "conversation" or even knowledge
source. Why? b/c community can contain a conversation and SO MUCH MORE. A
conversation as an end goal, or landing space is too limited, too small, and
too ineffective.

Again, these are just high statements that the organization does not have
enough resources to delve into, but if you think so lowly of this community
that it is not worth reaching out to, then I feel that probably it is not for
you (and others). Maybe we do need membershi? Maybe we do need to reduce our
numbers? I don't know. but I'm disheartened by the comment above and it makes
me feel like the "experiment" of IxDA is not working out to its original
goals and mission (aka a failure).

Let the conversation continue ... but free it up and return it back to its
Yahoo Group roots. It probably has all the functionality that anyone like
Adam could hope for.

Am I the only one who feels that the conversation while important is not an
end to itself? Is there something more here or am I delusional and too close?

-- dave http://davemalouf.com/

11 Jun 2010 - 3:12am
Adam Korman
2004

Hi David,

I don't think this conversation is all that difficult or complicated. A community and a discussion list don't have to be mutually exclusive. Dave wrote: "So, when I hear that you (and others) would not articulate their relationship to IxDA as something of a community..." This is extrapolating a broad meaning from what I wrote that I didn't intend.

Just to provide some context, I didn't just recently join this list by accident -- I have been a part of IxDA (and ID Discuss and the AIFIA lists before that) from the very beginning, contributed money to the Conan project, and have been active in the local IxD community for many years -- attending, speaking at, and organizing local events. So, I do see IxDA as something of a community that I'm a part of.

Dave also wrote: "IXDA as a community is ultimately more valuable than IxDA as a 'discussion' or 'conversation' or even knowledge source. Why? b/c community can contain a conversation and SO MUCH MORE."

While I agree with all that, what I was trying to get across is that this kind of discussion (which is just one part of the broader community and mission of IxDA) is best served (for me) by a normal email-based discussion list with a good web archive. My experience so far has been that turning it into a primarily web-based forum/billboard/whatever has created friction with my mental model for how a discussion list should work. This isn't just cognitive friction, but has unfortunate functional side effects, like mangling basic formatting (line breaks), creating orphaned threads, and so on. It is unfortunate that the discussion list, which provides a good pulse and connection to the community, has suffered a bit in the course of the IxDA's (needed and appreciated!) broader technology transition, and I know that many of these kinds of kinks are still getting worked out.

So, my comments were pretty specific to why I think the discussion list is best served with email, and I'm not suggesting that the IxDA should throw out the baby with the bathwater. But, it sounds like you're wondering if IxDA needs to abandon a discussion list (as I've grown accustomed to it) in order to achieve the goal of creating community (or vice versa, that in order to satisfy my desire for a functional discussion list, the IxDA has to abandon the goal of fostering a community). I think that's a false choice -- to stretch a metaphor badly, there are a bunch of babies in the bath but we probably shouldn't throw out any of them.

Regards, Adam

11 Jun 2010 - 2:00pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Adam, good to know.

I had this thought yesterday and I want to float it your way. Are we as technologist (early adopters, and what not) getting in our own way of developing/designing better interactions because we have overwritten natural affordances with what we have learned by engaging with technology so closely.  This may be tied to the previous conversation regarding "desktop" metaphor (but I'm convinced that's a red herring). 

I think this issues is hardest when we are trying to design products and systems for ourselves.

dave

11 Jun 2010 - 5:04pm
Adam Korman
2004

Isn't combating this problem one of the main reasons for the existence of our profession (and tools like personas)?

12 Jun 2010 - 4:24pm
Dave Malouf
2005

ideally, but I think we still will never design anything that we ourselves will use that is "opposition" to our newly created mental models. i.e. you put out your mental model ... now go ignore it! You are not the ONLY user so how do you both listen to yourself and design generically for others? It's almost easier to design a medical interface (assuming you aren't a dr or nurse or similar), b/c you KNOW you are out of the equation.

To me this issue is the big fail of 37signals. You can't design en masse for yourself and others, when YOU have such a different experience.

Right now I'm working on a design project and I can tell I'm too close, despite having very clear personas to work from. It is limiting my options.

But the other problem here is in the pattern libraries that we work from. Yes, we have done a lot of great work in this area, but most of these patterns were developed (i.e. became canonical) during early adopter periods (given the large critical mass of people who are just joining this party in many genres and markets.

Anyway, my diagnosis of email is that it is NOT good for communities or even good for complex conversations. I'm not sure "web" is better, but I'm pretty convinced that email has issues. These are not at the "flow" level (what I noticed you were talking about) but at the level of cognition, behavior, and emotion. (a big reason why motivation/activity models are seemingly false gods for really complex relationships and actions bound within those contexts).

-- dave

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