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Hi Narayan, all,

*short version:*

Thanks for proposing a web design expert to provide his knowledge and expertise to LibreOffice.

Like mentioned by others it might be hard for an external expert to learn about the needs and preconditions in our community being the prerequisite for any acceptance of his work by the community. Most of these conditions are not written, but need explanation by long-term project members during a phase of iterative improvement.

If your expert doesn't want to be involved in discussions and proposals with experts and community members from other parts of the LibO community, his work can't be more than a proposal, perhaps used as starting point for a community based web design. Most likely he will find important parts (in his expert opinion) of his design modified and downgraded. As this might have an impact on your personal relationship, I want him to know this beforehand.

But if he is interested in getting information about our needs, wants to join a collaborative effort to improve the website and is open to modifications caused by present community experience (especially in iterative improvements rather than general overhaul), he is more than welcome to propose his ideas.

Even if he doesn't want to stay longer with us, I think everybody will see his positive contribution (and if he likes the way we work - perhaps he reconsiders his decision...)

In order to include his work in our efforts it would be necessary to license it under a proper OS license (CC by-sa 3.0 for the website).

*long version (covering some other topics too):*

Narayan Aras schrieb:

Hi David,

From: Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 10:32:56 +0800

@Narayan: I understand very well your thoughts and attitudes about
involving that talented graphic designer contact of yours. I also
see the need to someone to work closely with us on graphics and
page presentation. But, this is an OS project, and I don't think it
can be achieved in quite the manner you envision.

I think it doesn't need to be black or white - if the designer would be interested in work for the community, we'll probably find a way to use his expertise.

We have to remember that developing the site is
very much a cooperative effort between design contributors and
content contributors, and that we need to keep Design in the loop
about things.

Fully agreed - so please read below.

First, let us differentiate between (a) the designer and (b) his
designs for our project.

The designer would produce IA+wireframe+icon proposals.

The proposals are to be reviewed publicly and subject to change.

It is not a "take it or leave it" offer.

For any contributor to our project it is important, that he sees his contribution being respected and valued.

For the community it is important, that our central needs and interests are respected.

This is more easily to be achieved, if the contributor works collaboratively with the respective team, present his ideas and is open to improvements necessary because he can't know all the preconditions by the community.

It is possible to provide IA, wireframe and icons on a independent basis, but it's quite likely that it will not be accepted by the team because it doesn't include all the necessary aspects.

Re-iteration is necessary - and if the designer doesn't want to take part in this area, it is crucial to get the sources for his icons and the right to use his work (under an appropriate license).

If he doesn't want to be involved in this way, his work can't be more than a stimulus for the team to work in his direction.


Do we have bigger web professionals on board who can judge him?

I don't know, but this is not the main point:

Our website needs to fulfill several different goals - attract curious people to become users or contributors, provide information to present users and contributors.

The user groups are diverging, contributors work in very different areas - how can you describe the needs of our community to someone who doesn't know about our structure and the way we work?

And what has this to do with the OS model?? [...] Website
design is a specialized field, and even an OS project would have to
follow its norms.

... provided the designer knows about the preconditions mentioned above.

Some of these conditions show up later on - just because they have been forgotten or not taken as serious as they should, some develop in future. They have to become implemented too - and evolving a design without the primary team is harder.

I have often heard about this "design" group, but- I have not seen
its leadership for the website (providing vision, setting scope of
work, planning). It failed to allocate resources to this project
(e.g. graphic designer, copywriters). It has not given periodic
creative feedback on the work done so far.

You don't understand "leadership" in the way we define it in this volunteer community. As long as the group is not large enough to do all the necessary work immediately (and I never experienced this during some years of work in the OOo community) it is necessary to find volunteers to work on specific topics - or to wait a bit longer...

What we call "leadership" is providing the "overall view", some insight in the basic ideas and necessities of the community. This is very important in a community with so many different activities and groups - and that's the point that didn't work well in this team in the past.

Given that, they should not at least be a hindrance when we are
struggling to manage on our own. To be fair, I have not seen any
evidence that they would block us from doing any positive work.

"On our own" might be problematic - because the website team is one (important) aspect of the overall community. But in general you're right: You will not be blocked, if the work is considered as positive for the community.

[...] I think the root cause is that some members lack knowledge of this
field (website design). Then they try to make it up with common
sense. This results in conflicts.

When two disparate Communities of Practice come together, it is best
to give space to the core specialists.

Agreed - if the specialists are in line with the common community goals.

Everyone wants the project to go forward - but often in different

There comes a time when we have to choose one path and then all
contribute to it.

That was my point: The current design is way off course - Both in
process and contents. See this checklist and decide for yourself:

Thanks for this link - If I remember correctly, most of these points have been mentioned during our discussions here, but haven't been presented in such a good structure.

[...]SC should give us a lab space. Like Google labs, we should
have an official idea-generation and prototyping area.

With Pumbaa [1] there is already a staging site.

But we shouldn't start to work on an independent structure - at the moment the present website needs work! We don't have superfluous resources to divide our activities on two sites...

[... Drupal staging site ...]

In fact, why not NOW? The two phases can run concurrently. And we
will also work on phase-1 unreservedly.

Just because we had this problem already in the past.

The SC decision not to support Drupal development during the next month has been based on the experience, that Drupal supporters worked on their site instead of the main LibreOffice site, they started a challenge between the two CMS and proposed Drupal solutions as the best way to handle several tasks in different teams while people having worked with other tools for some years didn't want to give up their tools.

This led to numerous mails and discussions - with the result of a negative work/discussion ratio.

To enable work again the SC decision to postpone Drupal development has been taken - and as Charles already stated: Please don't try to revert this decision before we have reached a final state of our website.

It would lead to even more discussion and less real work...

Best regards



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