Wishlist best practices

I made this glib comment (sorry @Rob_G!) in a recent wishlist post and I wanted to expand on it a bit to explain why this is a pet peeve for me and how we can all work together to improve Ottoneu through the wishlist, one of my favorite things that we have in this community.

The wishlist is meant to be a place for people to either talk about new things they want to see from Ottoneu (look alive, Ottoneu Hockey) or talk about problems they have with the site that aren’t necessarily bugs. Generally the idea is to share a problem you’re having and see if other people in the community share that problem. This has produced some really good improvements to the site and I am always happy to implement stuff that people find helpful or that solves a problem. I know I haven’t considered every single thing and am not the complete authority on what features Ottoneu needs, and getting that help from the community is one of the things that makes Ottoneu what it is.

However, when people try to be helpful (and I believe everyone is trying to be helpful here, to be clear) by adding mocks or proposed solutions, that does a couple of things:

  1. It tries to present a solution without having a complete set of information i.e. what any of the site code looks like, for starters, or the data available behind the scenes. This is kind of like showing what a cake should look like without knowing what ingredients are required or available at the store.

  2. It implies that someone needs to present a solution, i.e. that I can’t come up with a good solution for the underlying problem. This does not make me feel great, even though I know it isn’t the intention.

  3. It restricts the scope of the wishlist item - “I want to see X” is very different than “I have X problem”, the latter of which could have a variety of solutions, some of which could align with other people’s wishlist items as well or result in a more creative solution that is more interesting than anyone thought possible.

So, generally I would suggest focusing on the “why” of your problem rather than the “what” of your solution when posting to the Wishlist, since that will return better results for everyone.