On 06/05/2009, at 7:18 PM, Hanno Schlichting wrote:

Matt Hamilton wrote:
On 6 May 2009, at 01:44, Ross Patterson wrote:
These kind of messages are not largely or exclusively technically,
marketing, or user oriented. They require a cohesion of all concerns.

Maybe I'm trying to be structural about something that shouldn't be
addressed that way. It does seem, however, that this is a significant
challenge for our communities.  No?

I see what you are getting at here.  I think one event that does do a
lot for this is the Plone Conference keynote by Alan and Alex. Or the
'what coming up in release X'  talks that Alex usually does.  These
generally focus on what is coming up feature-wise and I think do a lot to set expectations of what is coming up. Now I know that Alex is often (and I hope you don't mind me saying this Alex) quite ambitious in his
visions for Plone in some of these talks, but I think that is a good

I have been sitting with a big smile in my face in all keynotes I
attended, knowing that half of what our founders where talking about was
not to be taken too seriously ;)

I think we do have two types of messaging going on here. One is the real marketing messaging to our customers. These better only promise features
and directions that are based on some good ground, as in whatever is
actually released or in late beta / release candidates.

The other one is part of the community conversation about where we are
headed. It's trying to build consensus or set expectations on where we
should go. The keynotes do have a bit of both, but a talk from Alexander about the Future of the Plone UI is pretty much completely in the later scope. Another aspect of these internal conversations is also to attract
people to the idea. If you have an idea that you cannot technically or
time-wise implement, you need to market the idea to the community, so it
is on the one side accepted as something we should do but on the other
hand you also need to attract someone who wants to do it for you.

Thanks to our open discussion nature we do have the conversation about
what to do next in the same open way as everything else. If an outsider
mistakes these as factual promises on some deliverables he has a bit
more to learn about Open Source. What you can count on is what is
released in a final version. This holds true for commercial vendors in
the same way, which might remove a feature from a late beta release.

Persoanly I think that there isn't an issue with the messages about future features of Plone. There's some fantastic ideas going into the new version and some great people working on it, as well as many leasson learned. I think perhaps what isn't working well and what Ross means by messaging is communicating what Plone is now. We all understand it because we're Plone experts but others wanting to engage with Plone don't have that advantage.

The hardest message to get out is what Plone is to people who don't know its details. For instance to developers who haven't used a CMS, or who are familar to other CMSs. To explain it business managers, or goverment strategists, or NGO CTO's. These people typically don't have much time but need to make decisions to take further steps toward Plone or toward a competitor. Perhaps we need single, simple, effective yet truth messages about Plone. Messages that are repeated in marketting material, web content, documentation etc. But thats really hard to do, even by paid professionals. Its also hard to do when picking one message might upset members who see Plone differently. Unfortunatly many messages and opinions make for a confused message which is just too hard work for outsiders to decipher. But it's important for us to try right?

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