Groups - the follow-up blog
The groups have been in the wild for a week now and we are pleased to see so many users poking around and creating or joining groups. I’d say the groups landing page looks well populated already. That’s great!
Marius promised some background information about how it came to be in his last blog [developer.qt.nokia.com], so here it is.
How it all came to be
Very early during the conceptual phase, we decided that we wanted to give users the opportunity to create their own area within the big animal that is the Qt Developer Network.
The first use case I had in mind was collaboration on a certain project or around a special kind of technology. What would one want there? Certainly a wiki and probably some sort of communication channel. We pondered mailing list integration but dropped that in favor of features we decided were more important and a launch in 2010. So a forum it was.
At some point, probably during my visit to INdT in Recife, it occurred to me that regional groups would also make a lot of sense. Especially, if you imagine the project users want to collaborate on is a translation. See how it all comes together now?
The DevNet is growing. Not only with regards to members but also – and probably even more noticeably – if we look at the amount of content. Obviously, not everything is equally interesting to everyone. Why not use group wikis for content that is very specialized and may be of high interest for few members only? Or for a team organizing an event?
We’re off to a very good start. Short-term I would like to put some more emphasize on local activity and face to face interaction. A big part of building a community is to get to know the people behind nick names. I have some ideas on the matter but for now, I’d like to leave the field to you.
Long-term, I hope to see more groups that bring users together around a certain, relatively limited topic. The Python and C++ Gurus groups are probably the closest to that idea at the moment.
What goes where?
The distinction between the different types of content that should live on different wikis and the possible duplication (Chaos! The horror!) is probably the biggest challenge we face with the new feature. An improved tagging system might take some pain away but not everything can be solved on a technical level. I will have to do some more thinking here.
Are there any guidelines on requesting a group?
There are. Generally speaking, we encourage everyone with the rank of Robot Herder and above to request a group. The requests are queued in the system and need manual appproval. Typically, I go through the list and decide what to do. Regional groups are usuall no-brainers, given there is not already an existing group. Groups about a specific topic are decided on a per case basis.
If we reject a group you will receive a message explaining why we decided this way. We try to be clear there and are open for discussion in case you think we made a mistake.
So far, we have not rejected any requests for forums or wikis. After the initial starting phase, we will introduce a minimum amount of members group owners need for each request. The reason behind it is the need to keep the forum on a sane level and (see above) to avoid fragmentation of the wiki. Again, we’re open for good reasons for exceptions and you know where to find us.
I am still discussing with myself where exactly to set the cap, so stay tuned.
I am sure you have some. We would like to hear them. Leave a comment below or join the ongoing discussions on the forum.