Feature Prioritization

edited May 2013 in General Archive
I don't know that I have any feature requests that I haven't "mentioned before":http://help.obsidianportal.com/users/856455 (and will surely be plugging again), but I think this is the time to reconsider adding a "feature voting" function, as discussed in a "help thread":http://help.obsidianportal.com/discussions/suggestions/86-dm-only-maps. This is especially poignant during the Reforging, as technically only Tinkerers and above should be able to vote, it seems to me. It would have to be made clear that just because a feature is on top of the voting list, that doesn't mean that it will be the first to be implemented (or even that it will be implemented at all), as Micah has to consider costs and time to implement, and besides, as GM, he gets the final say on everything :) But it seems to me that it would be very useful for Micah at this point to know what the community wants most.

Apparently there are already third-party solutions that will accomplish this: "uservoice":http://www.uservoice.com was suggested in the thread referenced above.

This wouldn't even have to be implemented or sanctioned by Micah, necessarily: Does anyone know of a free or cheap voting system that we as the fan base could adopt on our own?

I've long imagined some sort of pay-per-vote system for feature requests, so that when the developer actually implements that request, he gets all the money pledged for that feature. Anyone want to help me develop such a thing, if it doesn't exist already? Maybe we'd get rich ;)


  • Micah
    Posts: 894
    Well, the reforging isn't a grab-bag of new features, it's an attempt to take what we have and enhance and redesign it to make it work like I envision. Voting on new features won't really change that.

    Honestly, I've considered uservoice and I don't think it's a good idea. Voting won't really sway my decisions too much. I have always run Obsidian Portal as a "benevolent dictatorship":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benevolent_dictatorship, and I don't intend to change that. The main reason is that it's impossible to know from the outside how hard things are to do, or how they affect the underlying structure of the system, or how it affects my overall view for where Obsidian Portal is going.

    Obsidian Portal is "opinionated software":http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch04_Make_Opinionated_Software.php and that means that often I have to say no, regardless of public opinion. If I try to be all things to all people, then it ends up being a bland, vanilla experience. I've blundered on this in the past, and it's burned me every time.

    So, you just have to trust that I'm listening and have the best interests of the community in mind. Just remember: That's how we got where we are today. I've got a proven track record.

    I'm confident that the reforging will be a huge new phase for Obsidian Portal, and I think as time goes on and you all see what we're up to, you'll feel the same way.
  • Calion
    Posts: 144
    I guess the reason I want this isn't to sway your opinion, but so a) you can have a better idea of what the community wants, and b) to have some formal way to keep track of feature requests. This forum doesn't seem like a very good one. I can re-dump the features and fixes I've requested before on here, but if I make a new thread for each one, I'll be making umpteen threads and cluttering up the forum, and if I put them all in one thread, it'll be difficult to parse them out and discuss each one. Plus I don't want each of them equally; some are far more important to me than others.

    So I guess "voting" isn't the key for me here, just a better way to keep track of what people want.
  • Matrissa_The_Enchant
    Posts: 18
    @Michah: Thanks for linking to that "opinionated software" page! I'd never seen it before but it's so true - you can never make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time and trying is more likely to make 100% of the people annoyed 50% of the time. So it's always best pick a side, focus on it, and make the people on that side 100% happy, and letting the other 20%-30% go. If you can make some of them more than 50% happy some of the time, good on ya, but don't worry about making them happy if it reduces your ability to keep your "side" happy all the time.
  • Micah
    Posts: 894
    Okay, glad to hear that it's not an attempt to force development in one way or another. That's not going to go so well.

    For now, I'm focusing on the core features that I've envisioned, and I'm doing my best to communicate them here in the forums as well as in the videos. My main concern is staying focused and attaining a milestone that we can all be proud of. I'm very worried that adding more features will put the deadline in serious jeopardy.

    That being said, I'm also trying to stay open to input so I can hopefully hear if I'm making (or about to make) a huge mistake, or if there's some small thing that I've missed that can be easily accomplished and will make things much nicer.

    So, what I would ask is this: Try not to go into feature-request mode, and instead critically (nicely) examine the posts and screenshots we put up. Look closely for (small) enhancements that we may have missed, or decisions that you really don't like. For example, if there is some crucial piece of info that you always need but always have to hunt for, and you think it should be on the dashboard, let me know. Once we get to a point where most things are stable, then we can start considering larger features to add.
  • GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001
    That is awesome advice Micah- thanks!

    Just trying to help out.

  • Quasimotocar
    Posts: 12
    It's often hard not to go into Feature-request mode, especially with the stake-holder side-effect of something like Kickstarter. Nevertheless, I think you will find substantial support for sticking to your guns and the original vision/scope of the re-forge. We all kicked in because we believe in that original vision, and we're all here because of what's come before. Don't let our excitableness get to you, you're doing great! :)
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