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Last post Author Topic: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?  (Read 29079 times)

IainB

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2010, 11:50:57 PM »
@Shades and @MilesAhead: Could we keep on-topic please? It would seem to be a diversion to talk about AJ. I only happened to make reference to AJ in passing, as an example of the sort of content quality improvement that we might consider for the DC site. AJ therefore was not the topic.

In fact, "improving the Search function" was the topic that was clearly focussed on in my last post, where I think you will agree that I added some real quality and much-needed technical foresight and clarity of vision to the otherwise dull points about Search being made in comments by @urlwolf and @JavaJones.

It is regrettable, and I am as disappointed as you no doubt were, that there was a prudish DMCA-style take-down of the extremely high quality example graphic file that I attached to that post.

IainB

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2010, 12:15:56 AM »
@40hz: Nice graphic image!
Oh, and I suppose the points you make are er, interesting, too.

Seriously though:
Quote
"Does Donation Coder have anything like a current mission statement?"
Absolutely spot-on.

If there is one- i.e., something like a mission statement or "vision" - then what is it, and why is it, and are the reasons for it being the way it is now changed?

If there isn't one, then should there be one, and why? If there is a "Yes", and a solid reason in response to this Q, then what could we do to help mouser to pull a coherent and useful mission statement or "vision" together?

This is the sort of thing that I was getting at in my initial post in this thread, before I had a behaviour melt-down to "jerk" status. From experience, if you use pretty basic questions like that, then there is a very real potential risk of discovering something useful - but I have only seen it work in a deliberately collaborative environment.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 12:24:53 AM by IainB »

MilesAhead

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2010, 01:25:08 AM »
@Shades and @MilesAhead: Could we keep on-topic please? It would seem to be a diversion to talk about AJ. I only happened to make reference to AJ in passing, as an example of the sort of content quality improvement that we might consider for the DC site. AJ therefore was not the topic.

So discussing what you brought up is going off topic? That's a neat twist.

btw please don't discuss my response.  Let's stick to the topic.


IainB

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2010, 02:19:26 AM »
@MilesAhead: Sorry!
I was making (or trying to make) a joke there, but it was ironic and a joke on myself. (The "jerk" pot calling the kettle black - and yes, I thought it was a neat twist too!)
If you took it seriously, then I really do apologise. It was meant to make you smile. I really didn't mean for you to take it seriously. I maybe should have included a smiley or three.
Here they are:  ;D      :)       8)        ;)       :D      :P  (better late than never)

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2010, 05:36:32 AM »
maybe one way to address gothic's ideas and also help make things easier to find in general is to have a kind of wiki system incorporated into DC where trusted people could keep an organized set of pages updated that helped catalog stuff on the site and was a navigational aid.

This is what the blog and the newsletter essentially does, isn't it? Just over a shorter time period...

and I think it's a grand idea to stop good stuff getting lost over time.

JavaJones

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2010, 12:43:51 PM »
The blog and newsletter definitely have similar fundamental value to the wiki idea, it's just that a wiki would be more persistent and, over time, more a catalog of specifically determined information and resource listings than a "of the moment" info an topics of interest listing. As such I think it would be a more useful general resource for the lay person who is not at all involved in the community.

I'm still not certain there would be enough interest in actively updating it by members though. Making it as easy as possible to move info from forum to wiki would probably be key.

- Oshyan

CWuestefeld

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2010, 01:28:30 PM »
I'm still not certain there would be enough interest in actively updating it by members though.

If we had a wiki for software reviews/suggestions/questions, I'd be willing to commit to keeping my thoughts in it.

mouser

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2010, 02:00:28 PM »
some really good thoughts so far, keep 'em coming.. i think what i may do is try to summarize the main ideas and divide into categories of ideas that don't involve any tradeoffs and are things that can't backfire, vs. things that need debate because they could impact things negatively.

MilesAhead

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2010, 02:26:14 PM »
@MilesAhead: Sorry!
I was making (or trying to make) a joke there, but it was ironic and a joke on myself. (The "jerk" pot calling the kettle black - and yes, I thought it was a neat twist too!)
If you took it seriously, then I really do apologise. It was meant to make you smile. I really didn't mean for you to take it seriously. I maybe should have included a smiley or three.
Here they are:  ;D      :)       8)        ;)       :D      :P  (better late than never)

No, I'm sorry.  It was in the early AM and I was one cup short of a coffee.  Believe me, I appreciate it when someone tries to lighten it up. :)

edit: came into the thread at the end and didn't read the whole thing else I would have seen tongue in cheek. :)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 02:34:49 PM by MilesAhead »

MilesAhead

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2010, 02:46:39 PM »
2 Things come to mind.

+1 on the Search Question.

I was kind of surprised as I recently got onto SRWare Iron browser after noticing talk about it on another forum.  Come to find out there was a big thread about it months/years ago I never even noticed.

The 2nd issue is the overall impression when one mentions DonationCoder to those who haven't encountered it.  Many boards have spam paranoia. Seems like when I mention DonationCoder the first 2 paragraphs have to be about the fact that you don't have to pay to get on there, or to use some of the software.  Anything that looks like cost is construed as spam.  I don't think we wan't to attract everyone who is looking for something for nothing, but perhaps a certain percentage so as not to scare off everybody.  I don't know how to determine the "sweet spot" in this trade-off.. but the site is somewhat unusual in its approach.  Mainly I think it has going the fact that many of the software titles get notice on download and review sites.  People sort of back their way into DC because they noticed a particular utility they want to use.

As for the nature of posts and making it easier for people to filter out the banter.. only thing I could think of is perhaps some type of PopUp so that anyone who follows the digression link is forwarned that it's likely to be 90% banter.  They could just not opt to follow that path. Don't know how difficult it would be to implement though.

The balance between discussion and small talk is for someone wiser than I.  To make it tantamount to filling in a form though, I think would make it feel too much like work.  It's a balancing act I suppose.

Bottom line though, I think seeing the word Donation should be handled in such a way as not to scare people off before they even have a clue what it's about(redundancy for emphasis purposes.)




« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 02:49:09 PM by MilesAhead »

JavaJones

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2010, 03:16:24 PM »
Miles (and others previously), great point about the word "Donation" and the name of the site.

I'll be honest, I've always been a bit dubious about that name too. For one thing the site isn't necessarily (in practice) that much "about" (or affected by?) the whole donation model, though it is well implemented here in the forums and hopefully used with good frequency. But in some sense you could think of it as just a part of the system here, not necessarily the *point* of it. Just like other forums may have a "Karma" system or similar, but they're not called "Karmatown". That may not be a fair analogy though as the intention *here* may actually be that the donation model does take more of a front-seat than other similar systems on other sites. That being said, it's a question whether A: that approach is actually most beneficial to promotion of donationware as a concept, and B: whether it's still relevant as a core aspect of where the site has evolved to.

The reason I haven't been more vocal about all this before though is my understanding is mouser founded the site with this model in mind, and with the intention of promoting it and trying to make it successful. So some promotion of that approach is perhaps implicit in the "mission", even if unstated. But as I alluded to above, the idea of direct promotion of the donationware model, particularly through naming, may not actually be as beneficial to the concept as we might like. In fact, often times *not* calling attention to a controversial concept, and simply demonstrating its efficacy, will have better results. So that would be exemplified here by e.g. renaming the site to "SoftwareSnacks.com", and having donationware as just part of the encouraged model, with the same systems we have now, just not trying to *focus* on the donation aspect (as indeed for all practical purposes we already do not, but the name perhaps betrays that reality). Then people would come to the site, use the software, go through the same processes, and if they found the software good, and the process for registering and using it is not onerous, they might automatically have their perspective on a "donation" model changed, at least a bit. It's purely by positive demonstration of the model, rather than outright advertisement of it.

I realize the idea of changing the name of the site is huge and has large repercussions, but I have to be honest, it's something that has always bugged me a bit (and not because I don't support the donationware concept!), and I think it *does* affect the initial impression for many users.

At the same time I don't think a name change necessarily addresses many of the other concerns here. It's really just *another* concern that needs consideration I think. It's not going to make content easier to find or more relevant or organized or anything.

- Oshyan

rjbull

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2010, 03:24:33 PM »
there was a big thread about it months/years ago I never even noticed.

DC has over 20,000 topics and over 200,000 each of total posts and members.  I don't think anybody can keep up with all of it in detail any more, and it can scarcely help being a broad church.  I fairly often click on Show latest topics to see what's new, besides skimming the newsletter.  And I hope nobody stridently wants things that would need to be implemented by hard-pressed time-poor volunteers.  For one, mouser is supposed to be working on his *P*h*.D*.

mouser

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2010, 03:26:40 PM »
Regarding the points about the site name..

When I first set up the site, the idea was to see if enough people would be willing to donate to support the development of my software, enough to let me continue developing it.  Truth be told, i didn't have high hopes that the site would survive very long.

What happened is that the site has evolved because of the amazing people that have decided to make it their home.

The name of the site doesn't perfectly match what the site is anymore.. But i'm not sure it's practical to change it.. Names have a way of gaining emotional traction and momentum, and changing the name would cause all kinds of havok and confusion.

MilesAhead

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2010, 05:58:02 PM »
My note about the "donation deterrent effect" wasn't meant to suggest changing the name of the site.  That would kill off any publicity the software associated with it has earned.  I don't know the solution.  Maybe some concise explanation of what people can expect, that could be linked to, would be helpful.

The Coding Snacks board is kind of novel and should be touted a bit more I think.  But one problem is there's a bit of a tongue in cheek quality that's hard to transplant when telling people about it other places. They think you are trying to get them to contract custom software or something like that(spam paranoia again.)  It's just difficult to know how to capsulize why people should visit and look for software and a novel board.

MilesAhead

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2010, 06:02:17 PM »
there was a big thread about it months/years ago I never even noticed.

DC has over 20,000 topics and over 200,000 each of total posts and members.  I don't think anybody can keep up with all of it in detail any more, and it can scarcely help being a broad church.  I fairly often click on Show latest topics to see what's new, besides skimming the newsletter.  And I hope nobody stridently wants things that would need to be implemented by hard-pressed time-poor volunteers.  For one, mouser is supposed to be working on his *P*h*.D*.

I'm not suggesting chaining anyone to the grinding wheel.  There must be some intermittent problem or something with search.  Seems I remember looking around to avoid duplicating posts already done only to be made aware later with the link.  Granted I may just not have searched correctly but it seems like it happens often enough to discount operator error.

In the particular case of the browser it could be that it came to my notice and I dismissed it because I was so into Firefox at the time.  But I just get the impression some things that should pop up in result lists often don't.

Could be just an impression.

Dormouse

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2010, 07:37:52 PM »
Seems to me that DC has an awful lot of members for a site like this, so I don't think many people are being put off by the idea or practice of donating. Also seems to me that there's a lot of posts and threads and a lot of continuity of ideas and discussion as well as a lot of new ideas and discussions; not many sites have that either, and I don't think we'd have that if the mix of posters changed.

AFAICS, the site is for people interested in software (writing/using or both) and has a high proportion of nice, helpful and knowledgeable posters and a lot of that character comes across because threads do veer from serious and focussed to inconsequential and funny.

I'm not sure there's a great deal broken in any of that and I wouldn't want it to change. Not to say there aren't things that could be done better, but we don't want to risk losing anything to do it.

Which sort of brings me to the wiki. In some ways I like the idea, but I do have a concern about whether it is really the way to go. For a wiki to be useful, it needs to be kept up-to-date. There's a lot of subjects we would want in it and keeping a lot of things up-to-date on a forum as active as these would take a lot of effort and even more commitment, however many people it was spread across. I'm sure we'd be able to set it up, I'm not so sure we would succeed in keeping it going at the same level. And a lot of that effort would just be recycling stuff that is here already (even if it is not always easy to find). I just feel that there is probably a more productive way for that time to be used.

But there is a real issue over reviews. Useful reviews are ever more difficult for Search to find on the net, being swamped by software download sites and short opinions/reviews/blogs often of a single product by people whose experience and expertise is debatable once you have read the review. There is a lot of knowledge and expertise in forum members and a lot comes through in the forums. What the old, big reviews had was a systematic approach by what seemed to be a single person (?) per review, probably with extra input, and it was possible to see the biases and factors they believed important. I suspect that our time would be better spent getting closer to that model again. Possibly with comments & relevant threads being edited and maintained in an accompanying wiki, and with updates. Before a review was tackled, we could all comment on the factors we personally find important in that type of software and suggest which software should be looked at. I wasn't really around at the time, but it does feel rather like the old model.  I don't know if it is possible, but I do know that if I was looking on the net for something, it is what I would be searching for.


40hz

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2010, 08:57:13 PM »
The name of the site doesn't perfectly match what the site is anymore.. But i'm not sure it's practical to change it.. Names have a way of gaining emotional traction and momentum, and changing the name would cause all kinds of havok and confusion.

+1 with Mouser on that point. The name doesn't have to perfectly fit the site so long as it's recognized.

There's a good amount of brand recognition associated with the DC name and it would be counterproductive to change it. And  it's also getting fairly difficult to find a good succinct domain name with all the new registrations that have taken place.


cranioscopical

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2010, 09:06:42 PM »
Quote from: 40hz
+1 with Mouser on that point. The name doesn't have to perfectly fit the site so long as it's recognized.
+1 again.

The name is also nicely ambiguous, viz. donation to coder for software/donation of software by coder.

mouser

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2010, 09:21:20 PM »
Also let's face it, when a friend asks "what is donationcoder?" one already has to reserve time for a 30 minute sit-down and powerpoint slide show to explain it. Changing the domain name would at best cut the presentation down by only 1 minute, so it hardly seems worth the effort.

40hz

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2010, 09:57:15 PM »
a 30 minute sit-down and powerpoint slide show

I'm ok with the 30 minute sit-down...but I beg you - not the dreaded Powerpoint presentation!


Please, please, pretty please?

I promise I'll be good from now on...  :'(


MilesAhead

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2010, 09:59:15 PM »
Also let's face it, when a friend asks "what is donationcoder?" one already has to reserve time for a 30 minute sit-down and powerpoint slide show to explain it. Changing the domain name would at best cut the presentation down by only 1 minute, so it hardly seems worth the effort.

Hmmmmm, do I get a whiff of a video demo in the offing?  :)

JavaJones

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2010, 10:37:20 PM »
Points taken. :D I was more just getting at the fact that the site purpose has broadened considerably. Which is a good thing.

Really I think there aren't many significant problems here. It's a *great* community. A better way to store and organize commonly agreed upon bits of information would be good (e.g. wiki), but I also agree it would be hard to maintain.

As for the reviews, I think those will simply have to come with the inspiration of the writer(s), and my feeling as to why there haven't been any lately is no one is inspired or has the time. But when someone gets a serious bee in their bonnet about it, there's nothing stopping a mega review from happening, and I'd reckon the door is wide open here on publishing it. I think it will stay limited this way until and unless a system is developed to spread the load, if that's truly possible.

- Oshyan

cranioscopical

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #47 on: April 27, 2010, 07:14:32 AM »
not the dreaded Powerpoint presentation!

Take Heart!
BP2.pngDiscussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?


mouser

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #48 on: April 27, 2010, 10:21:16 AM »
 ;D ;D ;D ;D

JavaJones

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Re: Discussion: How can we Improve DonationCoder?
« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2010, 01:26:23 PM »
That is priceless!

- Oshyan