KDE Brainstorm Unites Developers and Users With Bright Ideas
Recently, the KDE Project has put a concerted effort into improving the community experience. In October, Lisa covered the relaunch of the KDE Forums, while new "real world" events such as Camp KDE and the upcoming joint Akademy/GUADEC Desktop Summit in Gran Canaria gives KDE fans a chance to meet in person.
The KDE team recently announced the KDE Brainstorm initiative. KDE Brainstorm, in practice, works much like Dell's IdeaStorm -- community members of all walks of life are invited to chip in their ideas for new and improved features and functions, with the wider community voting on (and fleshing out) these ideas. Ideas that generate enough interest are then reviewed further by developers, who work to make them happen.
KDE Brainstorm officially rolled out March 20th, and the response over these first few days has been enthusiastic. In less than 24 hours, over 100 new ideas were proposed. The Brainstorm FAQs explain in greater detail what constitutes an idea (as opposed to a bug report) and ways to better draw attention from community members, and ultimately, developers.
Getting the non-developer and developer communities really communicating is often a challenge, and KDE's approach is a great start. Developers now have an opportunity to hear what end-users want. The trick now is maintaining this communication through the development process -- users proposing ideas need to be available, even if only to clarify their thoughts and answer developer questions. Developers need to explain why an idea (or an aspect of an idea) isn't technically feasible, and perhaps offer alternatives that are possible. If the enthusiasm seen with the launch continues, keeping the momentum and conversation flowing will be less of a challenge, and more the asset it truly is.