Tuesday 29 September 2015

A real prospect of getting engagement from the ColdFusion Team regarding your "favourite" bugs

Dan Fredericks, backed by Elishia Dvorak and later Denard Springle have asked me to spread the word and garner some interest in an idea they've had to improve engagement between the ColdFusion community and the Adobe ColdFusion Team. We had a round of emails yesterday, and Dan and Denard have come up with this write-up:

This past weekend while attending NCDevCon 2015, Adobe... at the bequest and in conjunction with CFML community members... came up with an idea that we hope will help foster and facilitate better communication between the Adobe CF development team and community members.

The idea, in a nutshell, is to take advantage of the momentum we are building as a community with our Slack channel and work together to generate a list of the communities most pressing and important CF bugs that need addressed. They want us to use the Slack channel [#adobe] to accomplish this.

To participate, simply join the channel and work as a community to come up with a list of the most important bugs.

There are some caveats to this request... We ask for you to put in the bug number from the Adobe bug base and give a concise use case for why it should be in this list. Other community members can then comment on the bug and/or the use case. This way we can have open community dialog on the bugs to make sure we get the best and more pressing list of bugs for Adobe.

[The] channel will be used to do this for 3 weeks[...]. All community comments [in this period] will be used to aggregate the bug numbers and business cases, and turned over to the CF team to have a larger internal discussion of those bugs.

After a timely review of the aggregated data by the Adobe CF team they will update us on the status of the bugs on the list via the [#adobe] channel [you need to have subscribed to the #cfml channel first before that will work], a blog post and/or other Slack channels.

This status will include which bugs were accepted to be addressed, and which ones were not accepted. In each case the community expects a fuller explanation of what is chosen to be addressed and what is not, and why those decisions were made. It is our hope that this may lead to a more inclusive discussion of the bugs that are elected not to be addressed if the reasons given turn out to be poor. It is also the community’s expectation that the bug base will likewise be updated with fuller explanations for the actions taken on these bugs.

We hope by using Slack, which is getting a lot of daily use, the community can come together more readily with the Adobe CF development team and put together the best list possible. If this is a successful venture, then we will try using Slack more aggressively with the Adobe CF dev team to foster a more open relationship that benefits all concerned parties.

This is an interesting idea, and I'm happy to get behind it. As is always the case with these situations, I did have my own feedback on the concept to make. Abridged as follows (below). What I say though should in no way detract from the fact I'm behind their initiative, and do what I can to help out. But I felt the need to observe a coupla things.

My issue with this is this [concept] is an exercise in community engagement. It's not community engagement that we need: it's ColdFusion Team engagement that we need. We can throw any manner of communication tools at them, but if they simply won't engage, then all that is a waste of time.

What needs to happen is for someone [on the team] to actively babysit how the [rest of] team members communicate. If they change the status of a bug in a "negative" fashion and don't explain themselves: remind them that they are not engaging with their community and they need to (need to) feed-back. It's part of their job. If someone has asked them a question on a ticket, then they need to reply. Not simply ignore it. If they cannot reproduce an issue then ask someone about it. Don't simply close it "cannot reproduce" and move on (they've got better in this particular regard recently, that said). Even if the dev concerned isn't up to speed with interpersonal comms, then - fine - someone else needs to do it for them. The team, basically, needs to conduct itself like 21stC IT professionals, which I don't think they are. Sure not all of them will be up to the task of being "outward-facing", but there needs to be someone to cover for them.

[I initially questioned whether there's any] point in having a Slack channel to direct communications to them if they aren't participating. [...] You (Elishia, Rakshith, Rupesh) need to quietly observe how the Lucee guys engage with their community. This is how you should be doing it. There's an element of proactivity coming from them which is absent from Adobe, most of the comms from which are reactive.

[Elishia rightly pointed out that they have other comms channels that aren't immediately obvious, so there is a lot more engagement than I perhaps perceive].


Get the CF devs signed up to Slack. If they're having an issue with or don't understand a ticket, then they can pipe up saying "hey, am working on ticket 1234567, anyone know about [something to do with it]? Or maybe - just like other ppl do on social media - at least share what they're doing ("working on bug X, should be getting it fixed today...", "how do you lot go about doing [something]", "is this a good idea for CFML?" etc). Over and above feeding back to their community, the should also be observing what we're all talking about: this will give more of a feel for what CFMLers are doing. [...].

That said, if you want to go ahead with it: that's cool and I'll support it.


The bits I cut our were just more in context of the broader conversation we were having, and not relevant here.

But - hey - I back Elishia to be able to get the CF Team to pay attention here, so let's go for it. And bloody good work Dan, Elishia and Denard for getting this underway.


(Stephen's comment below has prompted this observation):

One thing that Adobe must be clear on though... the aggregation of any valuable content coming out of Slack discussions must make it back into the bug tracker. And that burden needs to be on them. Slack is not a permanent record, and it's not accessible via Google.

If you're not on the CFML Slack channel yet (in which case you are a slacker. [eye roll]). Sign-up here: "Join cfml on Slack", and stick your bugs in the #adobe sub channel.

And for my part, I'm gonna sift through the bugs I have raised and look at what seems most important, and post them there.

For other people's part, if you can retweet the message I will be embedding here shortly, that'll help get some broader outreach of this plan (my audience is pretty limited). Cheers.