Help requested for Ubuntu Brainstorm response on TOPIC

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Thu Sep 8 14:18:28 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 two

Last November, the Technical Board recently began a new program to
respond to top voted topics on Ubuntu Brainstorm:

with the first two rounds of responses summarised here:

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 a suggestion
that superuser windows should differ from user windows:

As a design expert, 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 detailed upstream bug report, a blog post, an email, or
any other suitable format.  It shouldn't take more than an hour or two
to complete.

Our goal is to have everything ready for publication by the 27th of
September.  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
   Oneiric.  It will be in the 11.10 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

 * "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!

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]
pp. Ubuntu Technical Board

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