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Re: [tdf-discuss] Re: RfD: Non-corporate user representation?

Hello Nino,

On 5 décembre 2014 17:13:09 CET, Nino Novak <> wrote:
Hi Charles,

thanks for your reply :)

Am 05.12.2014 um 15:30 schrieb Charles-H. Schulz:
Le 05.12.2014 11:37, Nino Novak a écrit :

AFAICS, TDF does not have any formal "Joe Average" user lobby.

There are BoD, ESC, MC, AB - but the end user community only can
send their
opinions, needs and ideas to mailing lists or speak up informally in

Yes... why is that a problem? :-) the bodies you mentioned are bodies
are formed out of people or entities contributing something to the

This is not per se a problem, but here, the problem starts.

You really seem to believe that somebody just using LibreOffice does
contribute anything. In my eyes, everybody downloading the software and
starting to use it, *does* contribute. At least their time :-)

For me this is somehow obvious.

For me and others it is not. Contributors contributing time and users downloading the software are 
really different in their efforts. Making this distinction has allowed us to grow our community and 
our project in ways few people could think imaginable. The old project did not 
really make that distinction by the way and it was one of the factors that demotivated many actual 
and potential contributors.

So my concern might come out of need of better appreciation of "the
user". In my eyes, they are part of the community, too - but without a
voice, without a saying. Is this, what TDF > stands for?

TDF stands for its constant effort in building a great community who produces great software. 
Somewhere along the line wwe are happy to have LibreOffice be used by dozens of millions. They can 
have a voice through feedback and support channels. Not as contributors.

What about the idea of creating e.g. a "User Interest Commitee" (or
which has an advisory role - similar to the AB? Could this help to
channelize / make visible the interests of "normal users"?

This is a valid concern; so far we have options for feedback that are
summarized here: but
maybe we
could check if these carry out the right information in an acceptable

What I'm giving here is also feedback ;-)

There are highly
competent people around in mailing lists and forums, who, at least
to my
believe, should be given a stronger voice than to just send a mail
to a list.

Sure, they can contribute anything from bug reports to marketing
website bits, localizations, to code.

See above - how much do you value contributing by just using the

At zero. Seriously.... very little value. And this is also why LibreOffice just like most other 
FOSS is available free of charge.

(I know, the big hurdle is "to do it", but nevertheless wanted to
what I think/feel here as a starting point).*

What TDF has refrained from doing is precisely let the impression
that if
someone wants something, some developer will autmatically do it.

Strange kind of thinking... I can't believe that TDF is gouverned by
fear of promising unrealistic dreams :-)

:-) it is not governed by that. But it has learned its lessons from the past.

My concern in contrast is that the project thus neglects a whole bunch
good will, possibliy good ideas, and potentially clever opinions. And
addition, maybe, also fruitful dialogs.

We believe
users can become contributors, and as such we try really hard to
anyone can join the project and its activities (but of course this
can be
improved!). However, "advices for free" is not something TDF and the
in general is interested in. Did you have a different process in
mind? What
would this user committee do specifically?

Good question. A couple of answers...

Appreciate the (needs of the) users...

Listen to them...

Give them a formal voice...

Show officially that every single LibreOffice user is a valued
and per se member of the community (however not a "formal member",
sure, as
formal members have kind of an access threshold which I do not

Actually they don't. Members form the foundation but they do not have a priviledged access. Members 
decide on TDF and the way to become a member is by contributing.

It's probably indeed a question of appreciation. And of valuing a large
group of small contributors. Something like that.

However, I still don't know if it's a good idea. That's the reason I
put it
here for discussion: from my gut feeling it would sound good to have
one (or
a few) User Interest Representatives in one of the
commitees/boards/whatever. Their "duty" could be to give their opinion
questions from the UX or ESC or QA (like "should this button be renamed

So UX is really easy to join and so is QA. But aside polling people I think the real question would 
then be: how do we turn users into contributors?

not?" or "what default value should this option have?" or something
that) or even pass them to the public and to wisely value the responses
get. And people like e.g. Brian Barker from the users list seem to be
extremely sensitive to real needs of simple users, so why not ask for
input? BTW, asking for an opinion in my eyes even reduces the
impression of
implementing something automatically just if somebody says something -
contraire. It rather signalizes high sensitivity and responsibility by
questioner :-)

I am interested in this kind of feedback, definitely but I would like to point out that users 
support is also a contribution. The question then is: why do most of the people who provide users 
support are not members yet?

So that's my idea - but it's just an idea, please take it as it is.
just the idea of lifting the quality of the project yet a bit if simple
users are given a formal advocate. It might be worth an experiment.

Well we had that back at and it did not work. Most of these initiatives either end 
up in wasted energy or bitter fights. 

I do however believe we should consult our users on more topics; for instance we have weekly polls 
on UX on Twitter and they help greatly. Perhaps we should broaden their scope?



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