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Re: website redesign proposal

From: Richard Frith-Macdonald
Subject: Re: website redesign proposal
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 10:26:54 +0000

On 3 Jan 2014, at 01:55, Patryk Laurent <address@hidden> wrote:

> In your opinion, how many people would have to make noise so that it would no 
> longer be considered as emanating from a minority?

I think you are taking my comment more literally than intended (in that spirit, 
 a minority is anything under 50% of all people concerned), but that's not what 
I was talking about.  In this case we were talking about just one person, and 
one from whom it took a lot of effort to get any specific/concrete points.

In fact it ought to be obvious that I (and most others posting on the list) do 
pay attention to even a minority of one.  All I was saying was that we should 
remind ourselves not to over-estimate the value of one person's opinions, and 
not to overestimate the value of the opinions of those who shout loudest ... we 
must bear in mind that there is a larger community not shouting, and try to 
work out what the quiet people think too. It's a mistake to think that the 
people making the noise are representative of the community as a whole (they 
might be, but there's no good reason to think they are).

The points I grasped from Doc on the kickstarter thread (I wasn't around for 
the whole thread, and may well have missed a few) were:

1. he didn't like the website, but we all want to improve that, have been 
talking about it for ages etc. That's clearly a work in progress which is 
great, but the basic point didn't help much  (though the noise has stimulated 
activity a bit, which is good).  It's great that we have people willing and 
able to work on this.

2. he thought gnustep has no purpose/goal ... but that's been clearly stated 
many times and nobody else seems to have much of a problem with it.  Perhaps 
rather than simply stating what GNUstep is at the top of the home page, we 
should prefix it with 'Goal:' in a very large font :-)  Actually, that's 
semi-serious, it may be that it would help to tag and formally identify the 
'mission statement' rather than just putting it at the top of the home page.  
However, this is one of those areas where changing might make things works for 
all I know.

3. he said gnustep is actively hostile to mac users.  That's just silly as I 
can see nothing to suggest that on the website, and can only think the idea 
comes from a few comments on the mailing list combined with the fact that we 
provide nothing to actually run *on*  OSX (because, in the nature of being a 
porting project, we've been expecting people to take their source from OSC and 
run it on other systems), but it's reasonable to think how/whether we can 
prioritise making things easier for them.  I like the idea of a VM for use on 
OSX and I like the idea of building gnustep stuff from xcode (I hate using 
xcode myself and have no idea where to start, but it makes sense for anyone who 
uses/likes it).
Unfortunately nobody has volunteered to do either of these. :-(
For the VM ... I might be able to do that if other people think its worthwhile, 
and if we can figure out *which* virtualisation technology makes sense for OSX 
For xcode, the suggestion of taking cocotron as an example sounds good to me, 
but I'm completely unfamiliar with xcode, so I don't have the skill to get 

>  And through what outlet should they voice themselves -- would it be by 
> subscribing to and posting to this mailing list (and then unsubscribing)?

Not sure what you mean about subscribing and unsubscribing.  I don't think you 
have to subscribe to post, but if you are interested enough to subscribe then I 
hope you will get involved and stay subscribed.

> If you wanted to gauge the size of the population who is confused by the 
> website's message in the most friction-free manner, you should probably run a 
> poll on the website itself.

Good point, but I think we need to poll more specific questions; we already 
have a long standing consensus that we want to make the web site better (more 
appealing, more informative, easier to find things etc), but no data on 
specifically how/why anything might actually be confusing.  Could we formulate 
a series of questions about things we think have the potential to be confusing?

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