Hi list,

An idea came up very informally at the Jazkarta Developer Training in Montreal last month. I've thought about it enough since then to post it here. I did check and haven't seen it mentioned in the list archive, but I imagine some discussion on this topic has happened at least once. I've tried to flesh out some of the angles for sake of discussion, but what follows is meant only as a first poke. Here's the idea:


Proposal: 1st Annual Ploney Awards
File under: Marketing, viral and social
What is it: Lightweight, semi-serious recognition for outstanding products, contributions and innovations in the Plone community in several categories. How it might work: Open submission process would involve self- certification on a relative scale of best-practice-ness. Finalists (say 4-6) in each category chosen from the open submission pool would be required to write/post/present a short case study and perhaps a walkthrough of the code as a minisymposium/code fair for display at/ for the annual conference. Final general voting takes place online sometime near the conference timeline. Prizes are small, and hopefully fun. (Pls note that my working assumption would be that this is to promote contributions and involvement from developers other than hardcore experts. Of course, that's a soft line to draw and probably just reflects my assumptions about who knows how much.) When: Winners to be announced at annual (fall) Plone worldwide conference. Open submission period begins yearly on, say, World Plone Day in the spring. Finalists announced and final voting period some time relative to annual worldwide conference.
Suggested possible categories:
Newbie add-on product (Best 1st time submission from new developer(s) of a new product),
Newbie theme,
Newbie flavor (where flavor = customization of Plone buildout or site policy to turn it into something that doesn't immediately resemble an out-of-box Plone),
Best overall add-on product,
Best theme,
Best flavor,
Best whole number product release,
Next big thing (for innovations not ready for production, but super exciting anyway),
Best developer utility
(would probably recommend against conferring something like a VIP award-- would rather focus on solutions & innovations, not persons/ personalities)

Business case:
The best-of-breed angle:
On various lists, there's an ongoing discussion about identifying and promoting good, forward-looking contributions. From the viewpoint of community development, the idea about having awards isn't so much about getting the 'best' stamp as much as it is about making a public display of what is meant by 'Plone best-of-breed.' The idea of self certification and then open voting hopefully sidesteps the argument against Plone Foundation endorsing or formally certifying projects. And, if finalists and winners are encouraged to explain their code/ design/use cases, hopefully info on best-of-breed thinking disseminates and inspires.
The fellowship angle:
It's easy to think that unless you're a core/full-time/jedi developer who understands all the ins & outs, you're not really, really contributing to the wider community. Some small, community-originated kudos to a larger bunch of people is a good thing. Potentially, it extends a source of pride to developers who are expanding the reach of Plone in ways other than "core" development. Also, newbie categories would give an indication of reasonable first horizons for less experienced folks.
The (re)engagement angle:
It's probably a bit much to expect the first go around, but having a structure & timeline to bounce off of may eventually encourage revisiting code changes that need to checked in, or betas to finalize, etc., if this thing takes hold.
The viral marketing angle:
Make an incentive for developers to tinker with a few products, themes or buildouts they may have missed. Give people a simple reason to talk up plone on their facebook page, their blog, or on twitter. Make '2009 Ploney finalist' and '2009 Ploney winner' website badges that could generate viral attention. Make a facebook voting app or badge, etc. Let people solicit testimonials if they want. Give a reason for a press release, and a timeframe that generates a little buzz for the conference.
The fun angle:
If it's framed as an edutaining display of creative problem solving and not so much a competition, then this could be a lot of fun. Fun == good.
The academic angle:
3rd party development influences the direction of the crowd. I'd think there'd be some intrinsic value in having a yearly snapshot of commendable contributions as a way to diagram the evolution of Plone.


Of course, this is a sketch, and experience tells me that semi- competitive things make some people happy and others very angry. I do think there's a way to do this that's seen more as cooperative/ celebratory than competitive, & I think that would be the angle to explore. I'd be willing to work on this if there are a couple more people who think it's worth pursuing.

What do you think?

Cheers,

Matt Fisher





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