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Hi Narayan, (and the Website team! even of most of this isn't relevant to you)

Forgive me for top-posting, but Ivan was kind enough to address all your concerns in turn. My name is Nikash, I'm on the Design list. I used to be on the website list also, but recently, the website list has a great deal of infrastructural issues to discuss that I unfortunately can't keep up with, not due to lack of technical-knowledge (I work and teach in this, after all) but due to volume and time.

Sometimes my /polite/ Emails are interpreted as quite /rude/... this is not one of those times.

In the past (and I know you don't care about the past, but it is relevant here) we've had *very* good collaboration between the Design and Website teams.
There is even camaraderie and respect.
I don't mean to sound rude ... or maybe I do ... but your comments, whether you see it this way or not, are hurting our relationship. They don't show the same respect. I sincerely hope there *aren't* others from our list still subscribed here because what you've said about our team, is insulting. I previously assumed you truly didn't mean to insult anyone, but comments like this; ... > "Reality check: How much is the contribution from the design team on those topics?" ... don't show much consideration. I'm sure the Design team could make uninformed claims about the Website team, but no one on our list is that ... well let's not pussy-foot ... stupid. Instead, you seem to think the Design team exists only to answer your beck-and-call.

You wanted to bring someone in? do the job? better than us? and get out?
Nice. Quick. Clean. Right?

Well actually, no. Why do you assume there is not enough skill in the Design team to be able to support/offer/improve on your friend's capabilities? I'm sure he's good, but to be quite blunt, we'd own him. I don't mean hierarchically, I mean competitively. We'd tear him a new processed-food hole. I don't usually say things like that, I suppose you think /that/ is disrespectful? funny, isn't it?.

Anywho, you asked why your designer should be "approved" by the Design team.
When did the Design team say they would be "approving" members?
We raise ideas, we work together, and we refine each other's work. Like you do. We have a community who toils for LibO and deserves to contribute to EVERY graphic solution. Like you do. Why would we be interested in having a stranger, with their own subjective tastes, come in and override all our hard work? Leaving us with a Design style that we would have no choice but to integrate, without having any input. It would affect all our members and all our work so far. And we've been working *VERY* hard for consistency!

This list went through a recent torrent of activity because your members felt they had not been consulted about certain areas that they should have a say in. Did you learn that lesson; how important that feeling of inclusion is? or does the "population of the LibO site with graphics" override these concerns?
That would be rather hypocritical.

*But put all that aside, let me pose to you a hypothetical situation;
- The Design team needs a gallery website to display X
- The Design team /hires/ a "specialist" in web-development to create this solution
- The Website team is not consulted
- The solution provided by the "specialist" gets adopted as the preferred technology throughout LibO
- The Website team is told to _adjust_ to it.*

Doesn't sound fairm right? Well, we wouldn't be this inconsiderate. Christian knows we come to him to pimp our sites. Not because we HAVE to, but because we WANT to. And we WANT to come to ALL of you with requests for collaboration. The Design team would suffer the above fate if you just brought in your "designer friend". The hard work of an entire team, undone by the inconsiderate zeal of just one man.
When has nepotism proven superior to competition in OpenSource?

But I'm sick of complaining.

_To the *rest* of you: _
We have a long-standing tradition of collaboration and we've done well. But the past isn't everything, even today, we look to you for support and engagement. We can still work with each other to make AMAZING solutions if you will bare with us in this very busy time we are going through while we try and create a consistent look and feel for this entire project. It may take time, it may not be straight-forward, but we contribute DESIGN for the same reason you contribute WEBDEV: we want the best for LibO. We ask you to be patient because we too have been patient, we could have harassed you with Website-requests, but instead we waited patiently until you had things under control.

So please, don't circumnavigate us. Talk to us. Ask us for help and we will.
We all know people who are awesome at what they do,
but people who /come/, /contribute 1 thing/ and /leave/ don't help the community, they harm the community. If they were GENUINELY interested in supporting our cause, they would JOIN the community. Like everyone here has done.

It might not be the most immediate solution, but how often is the /immediate/ solution the /best/ solution? I'm appealing to your pragmatism, to trust that "slow and steady" will win this race.

Sorry Ivan. I've undone all your hard work in diplomacy. I don't know how you are the tolerant man you are. But if I scream in one ear while you speak softly in the other, I'm sure one of us will get through, otherwise we'll just have an odd conversation. But this is only the crutch of one man. I don't think the entire Website team has supported this suggestion to bypass the Design team rather than work with them?


I quite admired what you and Mike all went through recently to establish yourselves as valid voices in this community. It would be a shame if all that determination were driven by self-gratification, instead of true conviction.


PS. This Email IS insulting, but only to Narayan+anyone-else-who-thinks-our-community-is-composed-of-ONLY-the-Website-team. If you've taken offence to it, no apologies, and rest assured, I'm as uninterested in working with you, as you are me.

On 6:59 AM, Narayan Aras wrote:
Hi Ivan,

After all, we are NOT screening a thousand contenders to select the lucky winner.
So why do you feel this compulsion to get the designer approved by the Design team?

I wanted to bring a designer strictly one time; only for the website work (not on permanent basis).

He would have done this as a big favor to me.

So I proposed that he should be doing his good deed and go his way, but I could not have him judged.

He would have been a rescuer, not a supplicant.

I think there might be a misunderstanding here. The focus of the
Design team is much broader than the website. For one, it has a focus
on branding, which will necessarily set constraints on the website
design (e.g. which colors to use, what kinds of styles to develop,
etc). It also has a focus on user experience, which includes (among
many other things) wireframing. From what I gather, you are interested
in these topics. They can certainly be discussed here on the website
list, but to get the big picture, I would suggest you also subscribe
to the Design list to keep up with related developments. I think
you'll be surprised by the talent we have and it would be great to
have you on board.
sure! :)

And about this "approval" per se- How appropriate is it?
How exactly will the Design team approve the designer?

You know the professional profile of my friend.

Do we have bigger web professionals on board who can judge him?
Not necessarily, but I don't like the implication of what you are
saying because you are implicitly making a judgement yourself. No one
can come in expecting a mandate to be handed over to them just because
they are a professional - they will need to show that they can make
tangible contributions to meet the needs of the project *now*. This
will allow them to establish merit and have their suggestions taken
seriously in the future.
He was NOT interested in joining the team.
He agreed to help out only because I requested.
He would have done his design, gifted it to me (to Libo) and moved on.
Why do we have to harass such good samaritans with our approval process?

If our car is wrecked on the road, and if someone is offering first aid, do we subject him to full 
approval process?
Or just grab his offer thankfully?

And what has this to do with the OS model??
I refuse to believe that an OS project has to be run unprofessionally as a policy.
Website design is a specialized field, and even an OS project would have to follow its norms.
Yes, there are some norms we need to follow, but there are also norms
set by the project that website designers will need to follow. We are
a collaborative volunteer community, not a web design firm. The
dynamics are rather different - it can be a lot more complicated, much
slower, but also very rewarding when it's done.
While handling guests. we have to be extra courteous, and not make them jump hoops in the name of 

No 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.
I'm going to rewrite your statement in a way that I hope will make an
important point. Please don't interpret it as if it refers to you
specifically but rather try to see the point behind it (i.e., we need
'institutional knowledge' within the project as much as we need
'expertise' in a specific discipline):
Some members lack the knowledge of this project (LibreOffice). Then
they try to make it up with the way things are done elsewhere (be it
design school, web design firms, commercial/'real life' experience,
even other open source projects, etc). This results in conflicts.
UX principles will remain universal, as applied to a website for any purpose.
It has nothing to do with organizational dynamics.
Are dynamics responsible for the fact that the website lacks search, tag line, AND site map?
Why is it designed for reading, as against scanning?

When two disparate Communities of Practice come together, it is best to give space to the core 
Ideally, we will have a mix of big picture people and specialists. I
don't mean 'big picture' in terms of a redesign; I mean 'big picture'
as in "where does the website fit in LibreOffice, which projects or
people should I ask for help on this or that task, how does the
website design reflect, represent, or develop the visual 'language'
established in the branding guidelines", etc. Design and website are
not disparate communities; like Venn Diagrams, they have overlapping
areas of interest.
I meant content-writers and graphic designers are disparate groups! :)

BTW you are right about the big picture- That's what we are going to discuss at the conference call.

It's good to have this discussion.


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