[development] #drupal and #drupal-contribute split (Was: Re: Proposal: Move all dev support off this list to new StackExchange site)

Blake Senftner bsenftner at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 20 01:16:34 UTC 2011

This whole thing has led me to realize the head shaking irony that is at the core of this newbie question overload issue: Drupal does not eat it's own food. We've not made a well functioning online community with our platform that is architected for creating online communities. The d.o is scavenger hunt. I spend time answering questions at the forums, of things I know, but I only know what I know and Drupal is huge. My feelings are that new, intermediate and advanced drupal site builders, module developers, and large enterprise architects are all continually searching for quality Drupal information.

Drupal documentation needs help. I write handbook pages, and feel that is probably my best time investment for the community. If someone finds themselves answering some "how to" more than twice, please take the time to write a handbook page, and include the Drupal and module versions in that information. 

If we were to add some useful interactive widgets to d.o and the handbook pages, we could get everyone seeking information to side-effect improve and fill out our missing documentation. We need more voting widgets for our handbook pages, tagging, and a search that works better than what we have now. Although I understand they had issues with them, the comments beneath each API page at php.net are rich with useful tidbits. Simply adding required version fields to any comments, and a voting mechanism would make handbook and API pages better resources than they are now. Plus they direct some community information-seeking-energy into d.o where it currently gets consumed by irc, mailing lists like this one, and now the drupal answers site at stackoverwhatever. Answers to questions in mailing lists, irc and the like are lost to d.o; we need to capture that information so others can benefit and spend more time doing rather than asking. 

The best thing that could happen is this email list dies, irc dies, and private channels die because drupal.org becomes "Facebook" (not THEM, but I hope you know what I mean) where everyone "Drupalish" to "shadow ninji" contribute and interact in a "24-7" global drupal gathering. There really ought to be a way that each person's account at d.o can have "modules" or something similar (like a Facebook App) that can be contributed, and used at d.o. Then useful whatever-we-call-these will be created, fun, useless, and invaluable ones will be created, and to some degree d.o will radically, radically change. I think such changes will make d.o actually become a community rather than the information scavenger hunt that it is now. As an online community, d.o only has the minimum set of 'community' features to engage with. All an "App" is, is a module that implements a block, and whatever logic is behind that block. We gotta have some security layer somewhere or other to enable these to be "sandboxed" or something similar. 

Creating silos and private information channels is ignoring our own food that we make everyday for ourselves, clients and our employers. We need to make a way for all this energy to go into improving d.o, its information and its ability for someone to 'make it their own' as in contribute, interact and feel a part of the great, huge global gathering. Someone, some group, within drupal needs to just do it. Raise the pirate flag, if need be. If you're anything like me, you spend too much time looking for how than actually doing. We can change that. We really can. A big part of that would be making a feedback loop within d.o, like "apps" that one could install into your d.o account, which anyone could contribute and learn from. Make d.o the place where people "hang out", learn, converse, contribute their latest creation, and experience the creations of our fellow drupalistas, while getting working examples of what clever thing they did.

bsenftner at earthlink.net

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