Help requested for Ubuntu Brainstorm response on "man" usability
martin.pitt at ubuntu.com
Wed Mar 23 11:03:47 UTC 2011
Once you've read the details below, please respond with an
acknowledgement and let me know if you can participate. The expected
time investment is on the order of a couple of hours over the next
Last November, the Technical Board recently began a new program to
respond to top voted topics on Ubuntu Brainstorm:
with the first round of responses summarized in
Our goal is to improve our responsiveness to the questions, concerns
and suggestions we receive from the user community. Note that this
does NOT mean that we will commit to following the suggestions, but we
will evaluate and respond to them. By explaining what we will (or
won't) do and why, we will show that we are paying attention and
trying to make good decisions on behalf of our users.
The way the program works is that the Technical Board identifies
people within the Ubuntu project who are knowledgeable in the specific
topics proposed in Brainstorm, and asks each of them to write a short
response to one topic.
One of the most popular topics in brainstorm at present is the
usability of "man", in particular about making it more clear how to
As you are a expert for "man", it would be great if you could give a
thorough analysis of the current status quo and investigate how the
'q' key and the available help in general could become more
Since you are well versed in the technology involved, we would
appreciate if you could spend a short time reading the Brainstorm
content about it and writing a few paragraphs. You don't need to have
all the answers, and I encourage you to ask for input from others who
might have a view on the issue. This can be in the form of a
detailled upstream bug report, a blog post, an email, or any other
suitable format. It shouldn't take more than an hour or two to
Our goal is to have everything ready for publication by the 11th of
April. Can you confirm that you're willing and able to help with
You can formulate your response as you see fit, but make sure that the
tone is sympathetic. Many of the comments in Brainstorm take the form
of demands or complaints: just treat these as if they were questions,
and answer them politely. Try to listen to the *need* behind the
suggestion, not just the suggestion itself, and connect with your
audience by telling a story about it.
Here are some example formulas which might be helpful to you:
* "It sounds like the problem described here is X. We address that in Ubuntu
today by doing A, B and C. Maybe that's not working for everyone because
of Y. We could improve this by doing Z."
* "I would love to see a new feature like that in Ubuntu. It's consistent
with the way other parts of Ubuntu work, and seems genuinely useful.
We're busy with some higher priority projects at the moment like X, but
if someone is interested in writing a patch for this, I will help them
get it into Ubuntu and upstream."
* "This is a really hard problem without an easy solution. It's complex
because of X, Y and Z. It will take some time for this to be completely
solved, but here are a few projects we're working on which will make things
better, bit by bit."
* "That's an easy fix. I've written a patch and uploaded it to Natty. It
will be in the 11.04 release!"
* "That's a great idea, and we already thought of it! Here's the blueprint,
and here's how you can follow along as this gets implemented in Natty."
* "I passed on your suggestion to the upstream developer of the software, and
we had a conversation about it. Here's what we decided."
* "This seems like a genuine problem, but I'm not sure that's the right
solution, because of X and Y. I asked our usability expert Jill about
this, and here's what she suggested."
* "I didn't understand what the problem was here, so I had a conversation on
IRC with Jamie, who submitted this topic to Brainstorm to understand better.
Here's how it went:
In the end, we both decided that the best course of action is X."
If you have any further questions about what is expected here, please
let me know.
Thank you in advance!
p. p. Ubuntu Technical Board
Martin Pitt | http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com) | Debian Developer (www.debian.org)
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