Planet Ubuntu Needs More Awesome - Conclusion

Could Planet Ubuntu be made more awesome? Definitely. Planet Ubuntu is not as useful as it could be and we are aiming too low. Let's reboot it.In conclusion (and interpreting that I collected and summarized here and here):Readers of Planet Ubuntu are loyal. They say that they derive value from the site but they want more. Planet Ubuntu is an important part of the Ubuntu information landscape. Let's admit that and let's give it the attention and maintenance it deserves. Planet Ubuntu is nearly as important to Ubuntu as www.ubuntu.com as it represents the real pulse of the Ubuntu project as seen through the eyes of its contributors, potentially *all* of them. It does not have a commercial angle, nor does it present Ubuntu in the uni-dimensional "software-y" way that most privately run Ubuntu news sites do. In fact, Planet Ubuntu reminds us that *"Ubuntu is not just software"*. No other site has the potential to send that message as loudly and clearly. Name a proprietary platform that is anything except software for the extraction of profit for a select few at the expense of everyone else. See why the "Ubuntu is not just software" message is important?I recommend that we work hard to measure our audience size, publish it, then set goals to expand our readership *well* beyond the current echo chamber that consists mainly of Ubuntu Members (and "free software enthusiasts/contributors"). We cannot improve what we cannot measure.Let's re-frame Planet Ubuntu as *the* place for authoritative goings-on in the Ubuntu project as written by those who are passionate about making Ubuntu. Let's ditch the current tagline "Planet Ubuntu is a window into the world, work and lives of Ubuntu developers and contributors." This tagline opens the door to ambiguity and confusion of our readers. I can imagine someone new to Ubuntu coming to Planet Ubuntu and seeing that most of the posts have nothing to do with Ubuntu. The signal that sends is "Ubuntu is not important enough for even its contributors to write about." Perception becomes reality.Let's not water down the site with random tidbits of unrelated content. This infuriates (yes, that strong a word) people who come to the site looking for a pulse on the Ubuntu project. I personally feel that it is disrespectful (or at least in bad taste) to use the popularity of Planet Ubuntu as a springboard for one's personal projects and topics completely unrelated to Ubuntu. I'm not saying that's always the motivation of those who post unrelated content, but I *am* saying that it happens. Plus, everyone who posts to Planet Ubuntu has their own personal blog anyways. What's the point of shipping irrelevant information to the eyeballs of people who crave Ubuntu information?If we cannot enforce a "stay on topic" rule, then I recommend that we consider moderation and/or emphasis/de-emphasis of submitted articles based on the relevance to Ubuntu. This moderation could be crowd-sourced or automated.I recommend that we adopt a zero tolerance rule for Ubuntu CoC violations, deleting posts that do not comply in no longer than 5 minutes or 500 page views, whichever occurs first. Authors that violate the Ubuntu CoC should be removed using a "three-strikes and you're out" rule. I recommend that we remove authors that have not posted Ubuntu content during a span of one year.I recommend that we extend Planet Ubuntu authorship well beyond Ubuntu Members. Let's identify people who are truly passionate about Ubuntu and who live and breathe it. Let's get past the notion that blogging about Ubuntu requires membership in an exclusive club. Let's encourage and people who do a lot for Ubuntu but who never get a voice to step forward and help write the content of the site. Let's embrace our community members inside Canonical and respect them for what they are: passionate and dedicated Ubuntu contributors.Let's change the look of Planet Ubuntu. Let's make it more modern and more interactive. Let's make it work well on all the screen sizes (form factors) that Ubuntu supports. Let's choose a platform that we make and control, or at least one that does not use us. We are tired of being used.In conclusion, Planet Ubuntu has the potential to be *much* more awesome, and we should seriously consider making it *the* place to visit for all things Ubuntu by rebooting it.---Thank you, and a call for assistance.This concludes my series on making Planet Ubuntu awesome again. If you have additional thoughts and constructive suggestions kindly share your thoughts in the comments. If you would like to help champion a blueprint or work items to bring these improvements to fruition, please raise your hand.

Could Planet Ubuntu be made more awesome? Definitely. Planet Ubuntu is not as useful as it could be and we are aiming too low. Let's reboot it.

In conclusion (and interpreting that I collected and summarized here and here):

Readers of Planet Ubuntu are loyal. They say that they derive value from the site but they want more. Planet Ubuntu is an important part of the Ubuntu information landscape. Let's admit that and let's give it the attention and maintenance it deserves.

Planet Ubuntu is nearly as important to Ubuntu as www.ubuntu.com as it represents the real pulse of the Ubuntu project as seen through the eyes of its contributors, potentially *all* of them. It does not have a commercial angle, nor does it present Ubuntu in the uni-dimensional "software-y" way that most privately run Ubuntu news sites do. In fact, Planet Ubuntu reminds us that *"Ubuntu is not just software"*. No other site has the potential to send that message as loudly and clearly. Name a proprietary platform that is anything except software for the extraction of profit for a select few at the expense of everyone else. See why the "Ubuntu is not just software" message is important?

I recommend that we work hard to measure our audience size, publish it, then set goals to expand our readership *well* beyond the current echo chamber that consists mainly of Ubuntu Members (and "free software enthusiasts/contributors"). We cannot improve what we cannot measure.

Let's re-frame Planet Ubuntu as *the* place for authoritative goings-on in the Ubuntu project as written by those who are passionate about making Ubuntu. Let's ditch the current tagline "Planet Ubuntu is a window into the world, work and lives of Ubuntu developers and contributors." This tagline opens the door to ambiguity and confusion of our readers. I can imagine someone new to Ubuntu coming to Planet Ubuntu and seeing that most of the posts have nothing to do with Ubuntu. The signal that sends is "Ubuntu is not important enough for even its contributors to write about." Perception becomes reality.

Let's not water down the site with random tidbits of unrelated content. This infuriates (yes, that strong a word) people who come to the site looking for a pulse on the Ubuntu project. I personally feel that it is disrespectful (or at least in bad taste) to use the popularity of Planet Ubuntu as a springboard for one's personal projects and topics completely unrelated to Ubuntu. I'm not saying that's always the motivation of those who post unrelated content, but I *am* saying that it happens. Plus, everyone who posts to Planet Ubuntu has their own personal blog anyways. What's the point of shipping irrelevant information to the eyeballs of people who crave Ubuntu information?

If we cannot enforce a "stay on topic" rule, then I recommend that we consider moderation and/or emphasis/de-emphasis of submitted articles based on the relevance to Ubuntu. This moderation could be crowd-sourced or automated.

I recommend that we adopt a zero tolerance rule for Ubuntu CoC violations, deleting posts that do not comply in no longer than 5 minutes or 500 page views, whichever occurs first. Authors that violate the Ubuntu CoC should be removed using a "three-strikes and you're out" rule. I recommend that we remove authors that have not posted Ubuntu content during a span of one year.

I recommend that we extend Planet Ubuntu authorship well beyond Ubuntu Members. Let's identify people who are truly passionate about Ubuntu and who live and breathe it. Let's get past the notion that blogging about Ubuntu requires membership in an exclusive club. Let's encourage and people who do a lot for Ubuntu but who never get a voice to step forward and help write the content of the site. Let's embrace our community members inside Canonical and respect them for what they are: passionate and dedicated Ubuntu contributors.

Let's change the look of Planet Ubuntu. Let's make it more modern and more interactive. Let's make it work well on all the screen sizes (form factors) that Ubuntu supports. Let's choose a platform that we make and control, or at least one that does not use us. We are tired of being used.

In conclusion, Planet Ubuntu has the potential to be *much* more awesome, and we should seriously consider making it *the* place to visit for all things Ubuntu by rebooting it.

---
Thank you, and a call for assistance.
This concludes my series on making Planet Ubuntu awesome again. If you have additional thoughts and constructive suggestions kindly share your thoughts in the comments. If you would like to help champion a blueprint or work items to bring these improvements to fruition, please raise your hand.

 #

What is the point of participating in this survey if those with loud voices and strong opinions drown out the views as expressed by the readers in the survey?

Many are now blogging about this survey but they are not discussing the significance of the results, are they? Did they not participate in the survey? Do they actually read Planet Ubuntu? I wonder. But nontheless they must have their say.

And of course all these blogs are being aggregated into Planet Ubuntu. And so private disagreements become public arguments. To me this illustrates one of the things that are wrong with Planet Ubuntu.

I wish you success in what you are trying to do.

 
 #

It's a shame you didn't do the surveys as one, so you could cross-correlate different results. For example, you express a desire to increase readership by non-Ubuntu-members (#1), but you can't split out the non-members on other questions to see what appeals specifically to them. Similarly, you don't know whether the people wanting more of a focus on Ubuntu (#7) are those that find the current form useful or not (#2), so you don't know whether increasing the focus will help or hurt.

A single poll would be more likely to be finished by everyone. I know I stopped filling out polls after the third or fourth one, and from the vote totals, I was hardly alone.

 
 #

Yes, that is a shame. Time constraints forced me to trickle them out one-by-one. If I do a re-poll, I'll try to do them all at once.

Thank you for your suggestion and feedback.

 
 #

Interesting post. I did not understand what part of the CoC is violated by writing off topic post that gets aggregated on Ubuntu planet.

I think that the original spirit of the Ubuntu planet was as the tagline states "Planet Ubuntu is a window...."

Anyway, thanks for your ideas.

 
 #

Thanks for your comments.

To clarify: An off-topic post may or may not violate the CoC. The CoC issue is separate from the issue of our readers wanting people to stay on topic. We ignore our readers at our peril.

I'm not questioning whether the original tagline is "Planet Ubuntu is a window....", I'm questioning whether that tagline is still relevant. Again, readers want us to stay on topic. I don't see any reason to cling to a tagline for the sole reason that it's always been done that way.

 
 #

Thank you for the clarification, I understood your message this time.

 
 #

So, I've been following the series to try and understand your point of view, which, I should say, differs from mine.

Let's start with the defintion of 'Planet'. According to Wikipedia:
In online media, Planet is a feed aggregator application designed to collect posts from the weblogs of members of an Internet community and display them on a single page.

Having that in mind, I think the Planet works as a Planet should be working. Now, let's move on to the part of 'who should be allowed to get their content aggregated on the Planet'.

Right now, Ubuntu Members are allowed to use the Planet for aggregation purposes. That means content published on the feed they submit is aggregated onto the webpage. If we allow everyone to post there, it may get to a point where it will be filled with spam, you never know who may be posting. If we want that, we can start using Reddit, which even has the upvote feature you mentioned at some point. If there's an Ubuntu contributor who wants to be featured on the Planet, it has two options:

First, they can ask a current Ubuntu Member to post in their blogs. I have done that myself with another contributor, as I felt the post would be relevant information.

Second option is to become Ubuntu Members themselves. If they have sustained and sustantial contributions, this is their best bet. I think this is the correct regulation method to see who should/shouldn't be posting on the Planet. Everyone is welcome to apply for Ubuntu Membership, and if they do are contributors to the project I don't see any reasons why their application will be rejected.

Now, Planet Ubuntu is a window into the world, work and lives of Ubuntu developers and contributors. That means that its original purpose is not to feature Ubuntu content and have Ubuntu everything, but instead to be a window to Members lives, as well as work, including their Ubuntu work. In other words, the main functionality of the Planet is not to be an announcements site, but instead a window to what happens on the contributors' lives, which, in my opinion, is quite useful for freedom of speech. Also, about removing authors, I do not see a good reason for doing that, why should someone be removed from Planet Ubuntu just for not posting Ubuntu content? I really find interesting knowing a bit more about the background of the people I work with.

I don't want to make this longer, but will simply say that I think that a reboot is, definitely, too much work for something that currently works. It can be improved, yes, but in other ways. How? That's what we may think. The reboot will require too much efforts which can be focused in another areas.

Those are just my bits of thoughts about this in general :)

 
 #

Thanks for your detailed feedback José! Differences and diverse viewpoints are what make us as an Ubuntu community stronger. Allow me to elaborate and clarify my position.

You wrote:
>Let's start with the defintion of 'Planet'.
>According to Wikipedia:
>In online media, Planet is a feed aggregator
>application designed to collect posts from
>the weblogs of members of an Internet community
>and display them on a single page.

I agree with that. However, I don't think we should be constrained by the Wikipedia definition in the purest sense. Displaying entries on a single page is not the be-all and end-all of what we could accomplish.

You wrote:
>If we allow everyone
>to post there, it may get to a point where it will be
>filled with spam, you never know who may be posting.

We could expand the list of authors to include some non-members, without allowing everyone. It's not an all or nothing. My sense is that there are non-members who are incredibly enthusiastic about Ubuntu and should have a voice. How they get that voice is up to us. Membership is one way, but membership may be excluding too many.

You wrote:
>First, they can ask a current Ubuntu Member to post in
>their blogs. I have done that myself with another contributor,
> as I felt the post would be relevant information.

That is a good option. I think as planet people we should always reach out with an offer to post on others' behalf. Perhaps that could become a common invitation at the end of all of our blog posts?

You wrote:
>Second option is to become Ubuntu Members themselves.
>If they have sustained and sustantial contributions, this
>is their best bet. I think this is the correct regulation
>method to see who should/shouldn't be posting on the Planet.
>Everyone is welcome to apply for Ubuntu Membership, and
>if they do are contributors to the project I don't see
>any reasons why their application will be rejected.

I guess we need to figure out whether there are cases where a person would not achieve membership, or was not interested, but would still make an excellent Ubuntu blogger. My sense is that there are people out there that love Ubuntu and would love to write about it if given the chance.

You wrote:
Now, Planet Ubuntu is a window into the world, work and
>lives of Ubuntu developers and contributors. That means
>that its original purpose is not to feature Ubuntu content
>and have Ubuntu everything, but instead to be a window to
>Members lives, as well as work, including their Ubuntu work.

I'm not questioning whether the original tagline is "Planet Ubuntu is a window....", I'm questioning whether that tagline is still relevant. Again, readers said they want us to stay on topic. I don't see any reason to cling to a tagline for the sole reason that it's always been done that way.

>Also, about removing authors, I do not see a good reason
>for doing that, why should someone be removed from Planet
>Ubuntu just for not posting Ubuntu content? I really find
>interesting knowing a bit more about the background of
>the people I work with.

I think that it is in bad taste to never post about Ubuntu on an site that is an Ubuntu site. (ubuntu.com). I think that if an author has not been involved in Ubuntu for a long time and never blogs about Ubuntu, then there are other better places for them to publish their works. Those who wish to follow them may do so by reading their RSS directly.

You wrote:
>I don't want to make this longer, but will simply
>say that I think that a reboot is, definitely, too
>much work for something that currently works. It can
>be improved, yes, but in other ways. How? That's what
>we may think. The reboot will require too much efforts
>which can be focused in another areas.

I think a reboot can be a lot of effort but does not need to be. Does Planet Ubuntu work? Maybe for some. But poll results indicate people *do* want change. I don't think we should take that feedback lightly, nor should we shy away from effort required to make Planet Ubuntu better. Maybe the word "reboot" is a bit too strong and the word "tune" might be more appropriate. I strongly feel that positive change has the potential to make Planet Ubuntu extremely popular. Ubuntu has never been shy toward change, and that is one of our core strengths.

You wrote:
>Those are just my bits of thoughts about this in general :)

Thanks again.

 

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