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

Janko Mivšek janko.mivsek at eranova.si
Fri Mar 12 20:56:35 UTC 2010

Hi Paul,

On 11. 03. 2010 22:51, Paul Baumann wrote:

>>> What do you think?
> Big mistake to ask that... :)

Not at all :)

> So "report" is the end goal?

Not a big fancy report for big bosses of course. But a result in some
easy understand form to base further decisions on.

> 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.

About consensus: I don't have in mind bad compromises etc, but moving
the initial majory voting result from too frequent 51/49%  slowly closer
to ideal 100/0%. By continuing the argumented debate, revoting etc.
Remember that majory voting usualy leaves a substantial percent of
voters unsatisfied, which is not good and can lead to polarization of a
community. Seeking a consensus is a technique to lower this percent. But
this is also a cultural thing, Japanese are for instance more inclined
to consensus seeking.

About destructive personalities: Anonymity is here to solve and silence
such people, because everyone can say what has in his mind freely,
without fear of exposure and any represalies of any form. Also, the
result of such idea gathering and voting is a strong argument against
such the people. We have just now an example in Squeak community and
with a collection of "ideas" with such a tool I'm sure we'd measure what
a community really think quite precisely and this will be an undeniable
argument against the guy, who thinks that only he knows well, what the
community really think.

About pride and reward: Well, authors of the best ideas at the end can
be announced, but on the other side author of such idea will know that
he wins even if he stays anonymous.

Also remember that such a tool is not good for every possible case. I
think the best is for collecting initial ideas as freely as possible and
measuring the opinion about them from others. This can then be a base
for the real decisions.

Best regards

> 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
>       general
>     * gaining knowledge of modern web technologies in Smalltalk and in
>       general
> 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

Janko Mivšek
Smalltalk Web Application Server

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