William Anderson neuro at well.com
Mon Feb 21 07:16:49 CST 2005

Martin Burns wrote:
> William wrote:
>>>Right now, I don't know whether the imperfections in this - or to be
>>>honest, pretty much any - new design are fundamental or can be resolved
>>>through incremental improvement. And I don't think we *can* know until
>>>it's a live site and we've lived with it for a bit.
>>If you can't tell after living and breathing it for the last month or two
>>during the construction process, you'll never know.
> Neither of us have used it as a live site. It's not a valid comparison.

Rubbish - how else have we been testing the site?

>>Let's get
>>the community in to help, big time, and let's make a huge thing of it.
> See, I'm all behind this, but not at the expense of throwing away what we
> have without launching it.

Why not?  To make an omelette ...

>>Let's make it something people *want* to get involved in and get it deployed
>>*fast, fast, fast*.  I'm not giving timescales
> To suggest any such thing without an actual concrete plan to decide on is
> handwaving to the point of daydream. Do a breakdown of steps please, and
> estimate how long each will take.

Regardless of my supposed inability to estimate boiling time of an egg, see

> When estimating, please bear the following in mind:
> 1) Getting from comp to where we are has taken the best part of 2 years


> 2) From starting work on HTML to here has taken since before Christmas

And where has it gotten us?  The backend work has been fanfuckingtastic, but
I feel the design we selected isn't doing us any good.  Absolutely no slight
against those working on the implementation, but the actual design is
problematic, and I'm not the only one to think this.

> 3) Whenever anyone farts round here we go back a (another) month

That's a rather cruel statement.

> 4) As you're usually keen to point out, we're not working on this fulltime
> - real life can and often does intervene.

So stop treating us like mindless drones and quit the pessimism.

> 5) In the recruiting volunteers stakes, having a track record of throwing
> away several months' of volunteer work a week before launching is not
> really an attractive poster.

It's called calling it like it is.  The design imo doesn't work.  Before we
launch something half-arsed, let's take stock and see how the community can
help.  Because wasn't this whole thing about community ownership to start with?

> This is not an organisation that is blessed with the Completer-Finisher
> gene. Nor is it one that moves quickly on anything. To start again from
> scratch will take months and months and months.

Rubbish.  Who's suggesting starting from scratch?  I refuse to believe every
scrap of work done over the last 8 weeks can't be recycled.

> I'll give you a fairly optimistic head start:
> 1) Agreeing to do competition: a week

a day.

> 2) Competition rules/guidelines/standards: a week

a day.

> 3) Assuming pre-announcing of competition in 1 & 2, competition run time:
> 4 weeks

2-4 weeks

> 4) Deciding on results: a week

1-3 days

> 5) Deciding on which bits to pull from entries and collating to final
> design: 2 weeks.

1-3 days

> That's over 2 months, before you start implementing. Factor in people
> taking breaks at Easter and you're looking at June before implementation.

I just nailed it down from your 60-120 days to 18-36 days.  Again, you're
being overly pessimistic, and that can be dangerously infectious.  Lower the
 timescales appropriately and you light a fire under people.  Not a "let's
launch this incomplete bland design come hell or high water because I can't
stand to get rid of stuff we've worked on" but "let's learn from our
mistakes, engage the community and increase the level of involvement, thus
hopefully improving our delivery times by having more pairs of eyes/hands".

Well managed, more cooks can make this broth absolutely delicious.

>>Let's do it now before it's really way too late, because imo launching what
>>we have now will get us laughed at.
> Dude, we *are already being laughed at*. Duke Nukem Forever? Having an
> evolt redesign as vapourware for nigh on 2 years and then propose
> extending it, merrily waving hands at timescales, is the worst possible
> course of action.

I'm not the one waving hands; I'm suggesting a course of action, you're
trying to utterly shoot it down.  Why?

>>Look at
>>stopdesign, adaptive path: lush.  Why can't we look as good as these sites?
> Because they have teams of highly skilled, *full time* presentation layer
> designers on staff and we don't? Because those sites are the shopwindow
> that puts food on the table for the owners? "Fail to complete the site
> quickly, the business dies at birth and we're all jobhunting" is a damned
> strong motivation.

The mefi redesign contest pumped out some similarly eyecatching designs; do
not underestimate eagerness by the community to dazzle.

_ __/|  William Anderson      | "There's something about records which is
\`O_o'  neuro at well dot com |  really satisfying."
=(_ _)= http://neuro.me.uk/   |     -- John Peel (1939 - 2004)
   U  - Thhbt! GPG 0xFA5F1100 |

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