[infrastructure] Re: [development] Drupal 4.5 unsupported

blogdiva at culturekitchen.com blogdiva at culturekitchen.com
Sat May 27 17:23:53 UTC 2006

Ber , Morbus and all,

Would you consider stepping back a moment and thinking as a non- 
developer? This is the kind of decision that ought to fall on the  
shoulders of a user-relations team and not developers.

I worked at Colgate-Palmolive as the tech and communications writer  
for their Consumer Affairs department. Colgate-Palmolive is the  
largest manufacturer of toothpaste in the world, among many other  
products.  They produce everything from dentistry pharmaceuticals to  
dog food.

For four years I wrote the manual on how to handle all sorts of  
inquiries, complaints and suggestions coming from consumers. My job,  
was to write human-readable instructions and communications guides  
for our Consummer Affairs representatives. I was dead against scripts  
because they show a lack of training and understanding of the  
products and consumers; and at that time my bosses agreed.

Knowledge of all products, past and present, was a part of the  
training for our reps.  I was instrumental in making that happen in  
the least of techie ways given that this was BEFORE the internet was  
used by major companies for doing business (1994). I mean, the system  
I was using was written in a pre-WYSIWYG DOS system.  So you can  
imagine how "cutting edge" and scary for non-techie people that must  
have been. My job was twofold : I had to help transition consumer-to- 
company communications from an analog system of communications to  
this new digital system while also transitioning and streamlining the  
internal communications all departments affected by consumers (Legal,  
Marketing, Sales, R&D).

One of the biggest percentages of communications was on discontinued  
products. People would always call or write about products the  
company had stopped manufacturing for years. Loyal consumers sensing  
the disappearance of the product would stock up on it. CP spent a lot  
of time and effort on these particular people. Why? Because if  
consumers were bound to look for that product high and low it meant  
they were loyal consumers. The challenge for the company was to  
transition those consumers to newer products and keep them as word-of- 
mouth evangelizers.

One of the most frustrating aspects of working with Drupal is the  
lack of forethought on word-of-mouth evangelizing and user loyalty  
that goes in the development, implementation and the dissemination of  
the product --and yes, I am calling Drupal a product because that is  
what it is.

Given that you have an open source product it is a mystery to me why  
you have decided to disappear from your site the history of the  
product's development. This is a huge loss for future developers who  
come to the site looking to learn more about the product.  If it were  
up to me, I'd curate a whole section on the development of Drupal.  
I'd keep each release for historical documentation and, if possible,  
annotate it with some commentary from not just from developer but  
particularly from loyal users of Drupal.

A product's success does not lie just on it's design or development.  
A product's success lies on it's word-of-mouth reputation among  
users. Word-of-mouth is what makes or breaks products and it's why  
most of the shittiest products succeed. Toys like "Pet Rock" to  
celebrities like "Paris Hilton" make it all by the grace of their  
word-of-mouth god. It's not fair but it's what happens in the real  

Back to Ber and Morbuss and most of the developers of Drupal :  I  
just think that as developers, you're way of thinking works best with  
code. I honestly do not know what it is about this group of  
developers but you definitely think and work differently than  
developers in the Movabletype, TextPattern and WordPress development  
groups. For me, as someone who has been 'looking from the outside  
in', in all these groups, it's really interesting to see how  
differently coders work from one product to another ---and it proves  
software development is a very personal and subjective process; even  
when done by a group of people.

You have a good product and a growing base of non-developers eager to  
use it. Open archival access to your past success needs to be an  
important part of how you engage the people who use Drupal. It should  
be integral to your documentation, which gets better with each  
passing day.

You still need people who are part of core who deal solely with  
community/user/consumer issues and think about these things. You need  
more than one person so that developers don't get the opportunity to  
gang against him/her (as in the Dilbert effect). Which is why, these  
people need to be regarded as part of the core group of developers.

Yes, I do have to agree with the common belief that it's rare to find  
developers who understand the nuances of community/consumer affairs.  
They are out there, and you do have some right here within your  
ranks. But as a development groups go, you have to decide that  
dealing with the community is just as important as dealing with the  
code. And more importantly, you need decide on a process on how to go  
about that, even if it means developers won't be part of that  
decision making.

Which is why I insist : Give away those decisions to people who can  
do that person-to-person heavy lifting. It will make Drupal.org an  
infinitely better experience.

l i z a sabater

AIM - cultkitdiva
SKYPE - lizasabater
TEL - 646.552.7365

On  27.May.2006, at 11:36, Khalid B wrote:

> On 5/27/06, Morbus Iff <morbus at disobey.com> wrote:
>> > Why do you need to remove this stuff? There are those who like I  
>> have
>> Leaving it up is, to some, an admission of *support*.
> Lisa
> Also, remember  that  4.5 is not patched for the latest exploits,  
> so it is
> very  dangerous to continue to run with that, regardless if  it  is  
> supported
> or  not  ...

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