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In a few ways, the SDL Tridion Ideas site was ahead of its time (2009?). Its process and website should be familiar to StackExchange and forum users ("Submit, Promote, Discuss, and See") but maybe it was missing critical mass and visibility at the time.

One of us will bring it up every so often, but I want to highlight changes since 2009 that should make you consider registering or revisiting Ideas.

The entire Tridion technical community (including SDL) is more active, engaged, and visible online.

  • StackOverflow in 2012 had 984 questions with 1,750 #tridion answers at a 99.2% answer rate from 148 #tridion users. This graph shows some fairly active members but also a "long tail" of participation.

    enter image description here

  • Tridion StackExchange in 2013 so far has 1,121 questions with 2,093 answers at a 99% answered rate, but with 723 users and 481 visitors/day we could ask/answer even more

  • SDL itself added about 20 SDL Tridion (mostly volunteer) bloggers across roles since 2009 and some 192 blog posts last year.

Example ideas that made it into SDL Tridion 2011:

  • "Firefox support for the GUI" by Kah (Tang)
  • "The broker API should support sorting on metadata fields" by Dominic Cronin
  • "Make Organizational Items on Location Bar clickable" by Ron Grisnich
  • "Content Explorer to work with Firefox" by Graeme Wigglesworth
  • "Sorting on Custom Metadatafields" by Hendrik Beenker
  • "How to Work with Rich Internet and User Generated Content" by Rogier Oudshoorn
  • "Tridion on a mac on safari" by Ignace Blanco

These submissions are backed by upvotes (more than one person liked the idea), but the submitters get their name in the list.

So going into 2014, do you feel voting (10 points each vote and no downvotes!), with comments, badges (releases actually), and rankings along with leading Tridion StackExchange members (including someone from Product Management) monitoring it make SDL Tridion Ideas appealing to the new new Tridion community?

  • Feel free to vote on this idea, up or down
  • Offer what you think challenged the Tridion Ideas site and how it will be different for the next SDL Tridion release(s)
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  • Great information Alvin – Siva Charan Nov 11 '13 at 16:55
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As a moderator and frequent reader of http://ideas.sdltridion.com, here's some tips on how to ensure that your idea will be picked up by the Product Management team:

  1. Be polite. No need to use words like "useless", "clueless", "stupid" when describing a (current) system behavior that possibly fits that description... Write as if you were going to read it.
  2. Try to describe the value of the change you want. "Add feature X to this list" doesn't help me much when deciding what to include in the backlog. "If feature X was in this list it would save me 15 clicks" is a lot more informative.
  3. Be descriptive of the behavior you wish to have. Don't assume the person reading works with Tridion in the same context that you do.
  4. Always fine to offer technical suggestions on how to fix something, ideally with a working example :).

Lastly... remember that Tridion runs on many different Application Servers, supports technologies from the dark ages (classic ASP anyone?) and that keeping compatibility is a MUST for us. That's possibly the reason why we don't support <insert App Server>'s feature to <insert unique feature>.

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I think Ideas would have been a lot more effective with a double portion of trust. Maybe now, with the visible success of Tridion on Stack Exchange, there might be a bit more trust to go round. Back when Ideas was started, there was still a sense in some quarters that if people can discuss Tridion in public, some of the things that get said might be negative. After all, one person's enhancement request is another person's missing feature.

It shows through immediately when you post a new idea. All new ideas need to be moderated before they show up. Stopping this would be a great step forward. Most people that come to a site like that are professionals, and if not, dealing with it after the fact is probably good enough. On SE, we even have effective anonymity, and I don't know of any example where a post had to be edited/moderated because of vitriol, bad blood. or even plain rudeness. Most editing and moderation effort goes into helping people get more clue about how to work effectively on a Q&A site. It's about keeping the quality up rather than policing. Enough said.

An effective mechanism for merging duplicates would help. The SE model works pretty well. Someone flags a possible duplicate, and others vote to ensure that a fine distinction between two similar issues doesn't get lost.

Down-voting isn't a bad thing - ideally with a reason given.

Personally, I'd love to see public bug-voting, (although maybe that would take a triple dose of trust!). But a bug fix or a new feature - either one takes up R&D time and effort. Maybe it would be good to give the community the ability to assign value to both.

For any weakness it may have had, the original Ideas has still been a great resource, and we've many suggestions from the site being implemented in the product. And don't forget, several of the items that didn't get selected were implemented in the community as add-ons, power-tools etc. Maybe it's interesting to think of Ideas also as a forum where open-source solutions might germinate.

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  • Great points on trust, features, and extensions. As a former customer, I didn't see or sense what went on behind the scenes. Ideas was just a place to give feedback. It wasn't until later that I heard sentiments on whether it was effective or what the risks might be. As a community resource, I'm suggesting Ideas is part what SDL creates and the rest what we do with the opportunity. Midas Rules and all that jazz. ;-) – Alvin Reyes Nov 11 '13 at 5:13
  • Good points gents. As a current customer I've always been turned off by the closed nature of parts of SDL compared when compared to what I expect from technology companies these days. Having to get a login from SDL to participate in the ideas site is just so... Well, let's just say it adds friction to the process. Compare it to say, providing Microsoft feedback on Visual Studio where you simply go to visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/filters/… yes, you have to provide your email to contribute but that is pretty frictionless. – Glenn Stevens Nov 14 '13 at 5:50
  • Dominic I think you are correct in that we haven't had to edit any posts yet due to vitriol, bad blood or rudeness although I did have to edit a comment the other day due to some colorful language. – Glenn Stevens Nov 14 '13 at 5:52
  • To finish your thought, "It's so..." 2008! I'm seeing the company and technology move towards less friction and more transparency. SDL (maybe Bart) put the old forum in read-only mode, official communication and sites directly reference TRex, and the docs accept comments (and get updated shortly after). Behind-the-scenes Ideas might not get the same resources as other cutting-edge (revenue generating?) sites, but if we're already dealing with enterprise CMS, what's one small step? It'll be worth it! :-) – Alvin Reyes Nov 15 '13 at 6:50

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