In Part 1, I presented some of the results of my surveys about Planet Ubuntu from late 2013. Didn't read the summary? There's still time! What better a way to start your day?
With that behind us, let's dive into Part 2 of my promised summary along with additional bonus colour-commentary and recommendations not available anywhere else (at any price.)
Planet Ubuntu needs a makeover.
There is a strong indication that people want a "new and improved" Planet Ubuntu.
I'm firmly of the same opinion. Planet Ubuntu looks creaky and awkward. It's a throwback to an earlier era of web design. Interactivity? Not there. It also doesn't present well on different form factors. Have you ever tried reading it on Ubuntu Touch? Were you happy with the result? I could go on and on, but suffice to say there's room for improvement.
Some of you might be thinking "Why bother? There are plenty of other social web platforms that we could use as an Ubuntu blog. Why not just use ______." The problem with the word that's usually on top of that blank is that it's always out of our control, often predatory, and usually a bad idea in the long run. The best chance we have to shape the personality of one of the most prominent sites about Ubuntu is to actually maintain control of it. Planet Ubuntu reflects on Ubuntu whether we want to admit it or not. Let's admit it and make Planet Ubuntu great again.
Let's reboot it.
Ignoring the fence-sitters, people want Ubuntu stories to have prominence, by a factor of two to one.
I was a little surprised by how many people don't care one way or another. That aside, the majority vote for increased prominence of Ubuntu-related content is encouraging. I think this represents a good compromise for people who are insistent about blogging about non-Ubuntu topics on an Ubuntu site. (Yes, there are some who are.) Give them a small place, but not a place that detracts from the main event. Maybe the "real estate" a story gets should be proportional to the amount of Ubuntu content it contains. The mechanism for determining that would have to be designed, but it's an idea that has merit.
Ubuntu-centric stories should be granted more prominence.
People have no idea how widely (or not) Planet Ubuntu is read. Some think it's amongst the top sites on the web, and others swear it's nothing but cob webs and tumble weeds. This isn't really surprising since the site doesn't publish any stats, and in the absence of data people will make up some wild assumptions. If we want Planet Ubuntu to have as wide a readership as possible, which IS what we want, then perhaps an important first step would be to insert analytics, or even a simple page view counter that can be graphed over time. That way, well be able to see if we're as popular as we need to be.
Publish page view stats ASAP. We cannot improve what we cannot measure.
People want Planet Ubuntu authors to abide by the Ubuntu Code of Conduct.
This was a bit of an accidental poll. While I was in the midst of my polling activities an unfortunate article that was a clear violation of the CoC and in poor taste was posted. What surprised (and disappointed) me is how long it took to take it down. Thankfully it was removed, but who knows how many people saw the article and now associate Ubuntu with something crass and juvenile?
Adding even more disappointment, the article was from someone who wasn't even an Ubuntu Member any more. So, it should never even have been posted in the first place.
And, adding *even more* disappointment, an effort to clean up the list of people who could post to Planet Ubuntu had been languishing for months.
Maintain the site. (Looking in the direction of Community Council). Take down CoC violations with haste (i.e. in minutes, not hours). If you don't have the time/bandwidth, then delegate, or increase your numbers.
Nearly an even split.
Given that there's a desire to make Ubuntu stories more prominent (see above), I'm curious to know what mechanism the people who don't want up-voting would use to make this happen. Perhaps an algorithm that scans for keywords and adjusts prominence accordingly? Or, maybe we could leave the decision to a panel of experts? I don't think either of these options have merit. I advocate that we use a system of up-voting by a group of people that are passionate about Ubuntu and are actively contributing to it day-in, day-out. Perhaps Ubuntu Members would be a good start for a group of up-voters?
We need a reliable way to make Ubuntu articles prominent. Up-voting is that way.
To be continued...
I will wrap up the series in my next post with general conclusions and a prescription on how to make Planet Ubuntu awesome again. In the meantime, please share your thoughts in the comments.