yarffaJ nalA (jnala) wrote in lj_biz,
yarffaJ nalA

Getting biz and dev to play nice

kibbles wrote an interesting comment to my last post, to the effect that it's sometimes frustrating to be a nontechnical LJ contributor when you need guidance or resources from the dev side of the house but don't get it.

I think this is a real problem. Most hackers find it more interesting to do things that are technically interesting than technically noninteresting, and when you're working for love rather than money, the motivation to do boring necessities can be even lower. I'm not an exception here. I don't think Brad is either.

However, there's an awful lot of noise from people who have ideas but aren't necessarily going to put in the work to follow through on them. When people are talking about code, it's pretty easy to tell who's who. I'll pay a lot more attention to someone who shows me code additions or patches, or at least some signs of having read existing code with a vaguely clueful eye, than someone random.

But in the case of nontechnical stuff, I find it really difficult to identify the people with both talent and perseverance. If someone asks the group for assistance, or analysis of various ideas, I might let it slide. I have a lot of stuff to work on that I know will benefit LJ, and spending solid effort in response to something that might be idle thoughts leading nowhere is just frustrating.

For this reason, I'm a lot more likely to take someone seriously if they demonstrate that they've done work up front. You want to do a mass mailing about the Webbys? Cool! Draft an email, come up with proposals for future emails and how often they'll happen and who's allowed to send them, make a definite commitment to do the routine mailing list administration (or find someone who'll do it), etc. None of this has to be correct, and you should expect all of it to be quibbled over and edited endlessly by the hordes of kibitzers... but get something on the table. Make it clear that if I set up the mailing list server, and provide addresses, that this will happen; that it's worth my while. This will drastically increase the likelihood that I pay attention.

This is actually a bogus example, because I don't have the permissions to set up a mailing list server on livejournal.com. :-) Brad or Dormando would have to do that. But I suspect their minds work in similar ways.

The web page texts are the same thing. Our front page sucks! Someone rewrite it, already! Don't ask about it, just do it! Worry about the protocol for uploading it and how to integrate it with the rest of the site LATER!

(Hmmm, that gives me an idea; write a horrifically bad front page design, and have Brad threaten to actually use it unless people come up with something better. We'd have a dozen submissions within a week.)

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