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4 parts, clearly demarcated. So depending on how much this is related to
your own group, you can adjust your reading pace.
(2-4 responds most to some of Aldo's questions.)
1. SEG (the "Scientific Expert Group") and seul-research
This bit is mostly review. I want to make sure we all understand SEG's
role in the SEUL project, and have an idea of how it and the broader
seul-research concept are expected to evolve over time.
I say it's mostly review because I think we all have a pretty good idea of
what's going on, but I want to go over it explicitly once, just to make
sure there's no question. It's remarkably easy for us to miscommunicate,
given seul's size and diversity. Also there's going to be some slight
changes in grouping/naming to make things more sensible given what we're
doing now. And if there are any questions, well... ask.
By the definition for seul-seg, SEG's purpose is to provide certain channels
between the users and coders. One of these groups is techies and the other
is laymen (in the context of computers/linux/etc), and we all know the classic
difficulties they often have with speaking the same language. SEG's role is
to present things one group needs to communicate to the other in a way the
recipient will understand well.
SEG's tasks really fall into several types of communication that I won't
enumerate in full, but a few illustrative ones are:
o Initial user input: Surveying the users to give the coders an initial idea
of what it is good to work on, _and provide statistical proof_ that this
really is what the users want. (Discerning what the users want from what
they think they want deserves discussion on the -reseach list.)
o User alpha/beta/release feedback: alpha, beta, and release product must all
be presented to the user in a different manner, controlled carefully to
elicit useful, accurate responses from the users rather than knee-jerk
reactions. (How to do this best should also be discusse in -research.)
Some newish/recent things and questions:
First a small structural note/alteration. SEG is technically a subgroup of
seul-research, which is a group that didn't really exist. (Hence the reason
it's seul-seg, not seul-research-seg or somesuch.) A diagram of the concept
looks something like this:
seul -> (seul-research) -> seul-seg.
We want now to make seul-research be the whole user research group, composed
of people who want to be surveyoRs (as opposed to surveyeEs), and covering
users in all desired areas (potential areas include scientists, schools,
businesses, and homes). SEG will become the actual user group for scientific
and other professional users (whom we refer to, in short, as "experts").
(I'll give a suggestion for how to make this change below.)
Regarding the name, we're going with "scientific expert group" rather than the
original "seul expert group" as the expansion of SEG, since i think "expert"
is the operative word, BUT... as people come by, "scientific" is a more useful
and less ambiguous qualifier to use in the name. "SEUL expert" is more open
to accidental misintrepretation.
2. Survey (the current SEG task)
This is something for all the SEG surveyers to start talking about now.
Also, seul-leaders and the rest of SEUL can help with it, but SEG should
exploit the structure of the project to get more response quickly.
(This is a good thing for all leaders to notice actually.) SEUL is a pretty
huge project, but we've divided it up into the groups as we have to allow
people to specialize and focus their efforts on reasonably sized chunks.
So a good technique to use when doing seul-wide things like this survey
setup is to organize it into segments that mirror that group structure:
admin : administrative software / core system services
apps : applications
help : help system
ui : user interface
distrib : standard components / default setup configuration and options
install : installer, hardware detection, etc.
[ sidenote: (contribution to survey from me) find out how prevalent/desired/
easy-to-replace plug n play (a.k.a. evil incarnate) hardware is among the users
you're surveying. This is important since Linus does not wish to play the PnP
game, and frankly neither do I, but we need to know whether the userbase will
prompt us to do _something_ other than be stubborn. This goes under "install",
btw, since it has to do with hardware. ]
Also regarding the survey, since it is in fact the first "real" survey ANY of
us have done, I'd prefer that we not do it on a large scale without testing it
on a smaller scale first, and then tweaking it based on the results of that
test-run. As I'll mention below (4), doing the first run on some of the
people in SEG is probably a good method. Read on for the details.
3. seul-seg (the list)
Aldo: I notice the seul-seg list is getting little (almost zero) use. As it
is, I can't tell if you've been in contact with the other seg people much at
all, or what's going on with them. Fill me in briefly, please.
At any rate, we should start using these folks. The seul-seg list is still
private sub, so no one will get on it unless you let them. The membership is
just your folks, aldo, and the 3 sysarchs, so we can know what's going on well
enough to do our job. If you see any problems, let us know.
The email@example.com list has also been set up now, same private-sub
configuration as seul-seg, but no members yet.
Now would be a good time to send an initial message to seul-seg, basically to
wake everybody up, tell them what we're doing, and see how much they can help.
I'm about to go into more detail suggesting what I think is a good way to do
this, in the next section (4).
4. Plan of Action: what to do now!
Initially, discussion should start on -seg to bring out people interested
in and capable of building and executing a survey. Initial discussion may
take place on -seg, but as soon as a few people are found, all traffic
regarding survey construction and execution should move to -research.
-research would then complete the construction of the initial survey with
help from any member of any list, and prepare to execute the survey on the
The survey being prepared should probably be reorganized explicitly to
follow the seul-dev-* group structure, since that makes it easier for
everyone inside the project to pass around bite-size portions to work on.
Theoretically, -seg could even be involved in the construction of the
survey, as surveyees generally do have some degree of clue as to what will
produce the most information for the surveyors.
Once the survey is ready, it must be served to the -seg members, and
results recorded and tabulated. This is -research's job, and should be
done on the web to make certain that the data is available. In fact, it'd
be good if all the surveys were actually web forms. It would make
collection and collation much simpler.
I will be watching the seul-seg list (along with arma and omega), so we
can help things go smoothly with regard to what techniques will mesh best
with the rest of seul.
seg tasks summary:
o moving seg surveyors to seul-research
o getting survey worked on
-reorganize to match groups
-revise with any new input (multiple times?)
-reword/format based on input of seg surveyor folks (multiple times?)
o testing survey on seul-seg remainder, and revising based on how that
o releasing survey for real and the analyzing resulting data, and survey
effectiveness, and how to fix shortcomings.
** and aldo, please put your survey materials in some accessible area (on cran
in cvs if possible, but elsewhere is ok too if it's easier for you right
now). let me know if you need any help with that.
this should also expedite the process of getting input/improvements to the
survey from everyone, since we'll be able to freely browse what's there
without needing full email updates for every change.
-luka, for seul-sysarchs
/-- Peter Luka -- Programmer, Electronics hacker, Crazy renaissance man --\
| Specialization: high-speed 2D/3D graphics, and systems software. |
| Finger firstname.lastname@example.org for schedule and other info. |
|<email@example.com> MIT student http://cran.mit.edu/~luka |
|<firstname.lastname@example.org> SEUL Project system architect http://www.seul.org |
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