Thu 22 Nov 2012 10:09AM

How do we get more people involved?

RS- Robin Stent - Outreach Public Seen by 210

I think diaspora's biggest problem as a project is lack of people, so I'd like people to share their ideas for how we improve this situation.

Obviously developers are needed but that's not the only thing, there are many other skills and functions that make a project like this work effectively.


matl Thu 22 Nov 2012 11:08AM

Is it possible that we could involve some young students at different universities.

For example we could ask a "ruby" professor, that he/she should make some advertisement for this project. Maybe it is possible to involve some student for different easy jobs at diaspora.

Also there are different small projects in universities - you can make a announcement for a small project or a small feature which should be implemented.

Do you understand me idea? ;)


Roger Thu 22 Nov 2012 12:10PM

I think this is a great idea. I'm personally not involved in helping out Diaspora because I haven't got a clue about Ruby and other developer jobs. However, I would like to be able to contribute in other areas.


goob Thu 22 Nov 2012 2:05PM

This sounds good to me. If students are given tasks in Diaspora development as part of their courses, it could really help. Of course, we needed to be guided by the core devs such as Raven24 and MrZYX, as there may be technical reasons why this wouldn't work well. But in plain terms of recruiting more devs it sounds like an excellent idea. And students have plenty of time on their hands, and tend to be quite idealistic ... perfect!


Flaburgan Thu 22 Nov 2012 2:15PM

Another point is to talk about diaspora to big foss foundation / company like RedHat, Mozilla and co. They have a lot of knowledge, great developers and money. If we convince them to use our software, they will probably contribute and do a great job.


Sean Tilley Thu 22 Nov 2012 6:27PM

Here's my thinking.

  1. Make it easy to install. We can do this by supporting packaging teams. When getting Diaspora set up is as easy as running "sudo apt-get install diaspora", and following a configuration prompt. Part of the difficulty that newcomers have with developing for D* is that it's been harder to set up in a development environment in the past.

  2. Strip out all the junk. We're in the middle of doing this right now; but cleaning everything up and improving our docs goes a long way towards appealing to new developers.

  3. Make it modular. We ought to think about ways to make it easier to take apart different pieces of D*, especially if we want to ever have an extension/theme/plugin system in the future. Putting federation into its own layer has also been discussed.

  4. We need to fix federation by improving our queuing system; as well as adding global id's to statuses has also been advocated by Mike Macgirvin of the Friendica project. We might want to think about adopting a new standard to build on, like Tent, or we might want to implement full OStatus compliance. Maybe we could set up the federation layer to have backends that we can switch in and out for talking to different networks that aren't supported by Tent/OStatus.

  5. Add bigger features. Things like groups, chat, photo albums, apps, these are all things we can figure out in the long run. I think it would also be good to figure out what features are going to be "core features" (features that ship with Diaspora by default), and which ones could be extensions that podmins could add.

  6. Make it beautiful. Design a new default theme/UX as a community so that Diaspora doesn't just appeal to other developers, but end users as well. Decentralized social is still a concept that isn't fully understood or realized by most people, but there's a number of ways we can make it meaningful and appealing. Really, decentralized social needs to be so appealing to people that they'd feel stupid for using centralized services and locking themselves down by being on a network like Facebook.

I also think working with students is a fantastic idea.


goob Thu 22 Nov 2012 7:00PM

Sean, agree with all your points - very well thought-out post there - although I'd say the current UI is great in itself: a case-study in elegant simplicity. All I'd suggest is clearing up the side-bar a bit.

I'd be sad to see this UI go, but in the future I think it could be a good idea to allow users to install their own 'skins' so if they find the black-and-white look too boring, they can choose something more colourful.


Jon Lemmon Thu 22 Nov 2012 8:29PM

Just a point on the university students idea... we did this with Loomio and it worked really well. A team of 8 agile web-dev students worked on Loomio for a semester. They knocked out several features for us and one of them is still actively contributing. So yeah, +1 for that idea. =)


tortoise Thu 22 Nov 2012 9:47PM

I'd say that the way to get more people involved is to do our best not to present as prima donnas. That means being friendly, respectful and inclusive. Diversity widens the gene pool, ya know?

My greatest disappointment in this project is how cloistered and insular this group is. Not everyone, so I do not mean that as a blow torch statement, but I think that is the reputation here.

I think there is just too much ego and it turns people off.

As far as students? I think that might work, but remember, students will be in it for the grades. I don't think that it is true that students have lots of free time. If they do, they probably aren't doing well in school, and D* is just a distraction.

Just another side to that idea.


goob Thu 22 Nov 2012 10:05PM

Hi, madamephilo, while you're here, could you pop over to http://www.loomio.org/discussions/954 please? It seems you're the only admin of that section, and only you can take action. Thanks.


Robin Stent - Outreach Thu 22 Nov 2012 10:37PM

@madamephilo yes I've encountered a certain amount of, lets say pricklyness from some people who seem to be heavily involved in the project as if me suggesting a feature or commenting on how something works is a personal affront to their hard work. I know how this works, I've got like it myself when I've worked hard on something.

Great idea about the students and Mozilla, does anyone have a good contact at Mozilla that we could talk to?

@Sean you make some valid points but much of your post reads like a jobs list, when to me part of the problem is there are not enough people to do the jobs we have already.

@Roger I'm also not able to help out with the coding but I'm trying to help out in other ways by using and promoting D, spotting bugs and simple improvements, and generally pointing things out that aren't obvious to people who are heavily involved, which I hope is useful.

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