[squeak-dev] RE: [vwnc] GSoC idea: Brainstorming portal for better community decision process

Paul Baumann paul.baumann at theice.com
Thu Mar 11 21:51:06 UTC 2010

Hi Janko,

>>What do you think?

Big mistake to ask that... :)

So "report" is the end goal?

Consensus doesn't accomplish anything. Many truly great things are not understood by a voting majority. A mixture of pride and reward is required to get work done. Few would anonymously give away great ideas. Who is going to implement a commonly recognized "great" idea that is not their own? Usually the quality and results of work lacking incentive are mediocre at best. What about the destructive personalities that take pride in destroying good ideas? It is those types that love to participate in consensus groups because that is how they derive satisfaction. The outcome of what you are proposing would be the common (mis)understanding of problems. Consensus doesn't mean that understanding is correct. Consensus doesn't mean that what is proposed will really accomplish anything. Consensus doesn't get the goals actually achieved. Consensus work does little more than mimic what someone else already struggled to prove successful--diminishing incentive from people who deserve the credit. I've never seen anything good come from a consensus.

Better to act in an environment that forms a cycle of individual liberty and reward. Create a market for change where people can work for reward. Pride is the dominant incentive in young markets. Incentive markets originate from pride in the hope to establish a market for financial reward.

"Stalemate"? That means that there is a gatekeeper blocking change or destroying incentives. What stops a Linux developer from evolving code? Obviously the cost of getting Microsoft to change their code would be a disincentive. Smalltalk is between those extremes, but with fewer incentives to overcome the cost-of-change. To me, Smalltalk development is about rapid evolution. Years ago I stopped caring about releasing code though gatekeepers. I expect you'll find many people have already done really great things but are not sharing them. That is a market opportunity for someone smart enough to develop it.

Paul Baumann

-----Original Message-----
From: vwnc-bounces at cs.uiuc.edu [mailto:vwnc-bounces at cs.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Janko Mivšek
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:15 AM
To: Squeak; Pharo-project at lists.gforge.inria.fr; GNU Smalltalk; GemStone Seaside beta discussion; 'VWNC'
Subject: [vwnc] GSoC idea: Brainstorming portal for better community decision process

Dear Smalltalkers,

Becasue we have quite some problems in a community with seeking a consensus on important questions, from organization ones and on, I came to idea to build a tool for help. And a GSoC project can be an ideal opportunity to build such a tool. What do you think?

Here is a description:

Brainstorming portal for better community decision process ==========================================================

Create a web portal for brainstorming sessions/meetings to get ideas and answers to important questions in Smalltalk community. Portal should allow on-line to:

   1. brainstorm the ideas
   2. vote to get-out the best ideas
   3. seek consensus
   4. analyze - report

On-line session/meeting should look like a Skype session together with a brainstorming portal, from collecting ideas to a final decision proposal. Example of such session can be a Squeak Oversight Board meeting or planning session for a new Smalltalk project. Or some broader session in the community, like on a question how to organize better.

Some important concepts:

    * anonymity of idea proposers
    * associations: proposers see the ideas of anonymous others to
      facilitate an association for proposing an even better idea
    * seeking consensus to avoid 51/49% decisions but to come closer to
      100% agreement on important ideas.

Technical details

    * a web application for gathering brainstormed ideas in real-time
      (using Ajax and Comet technology).
    * voting system with appropriate algorithms
    * analytics with on-line graphs and reports on paper/PDF
    * installation on a publicly available hosting server

Benefits to the Student

    * getting insight into group dynamics of Smalltalk community and in
    * gaining knowledge of modern web technologies in Smalltalk and in

Benefits to the Community

Better community decision process by getting the best ideas from the members while on the other side avoiding stalemates so frequent in Smalltalk community those days

Best regards

Janko Mivšek
Smalltalk Web Application Server
vwnc mailing list
vwnc at cs.uiuc.edu

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