Introducing the Magento Community Advisory Board and First Meeting!

After a couple of weeks of hard work, I am glad to finally be able to announce the formation of the Community Advisory.  The Community Advisory Board is here to discuss issues that are meaningful to the community, to analyze all angles of relevance and to define the policies and practices that will enable purposeful community interaction and engagement.  We are here to help the community thrive, to hear your comments and concerns and to act as your voice.  We are here to make sure that all interest are kept aligned and in sync, and by doing that set solid foundations for the continued healthy growth and success of the community, of Magento itself and of Varien.

The Community Advisory Board is:

Philippe Humeau - Philippe is from France and has been an advocate of Magento.  He is also a Varien Partner.  His site is http://www.nbs-system.com
Guido Jansen - Guido is the Magento Dutch Community Manager
Yoav Kutner - Yoav is the CTO of Varien.
Sebastien Lepers - Sebastien is the French Community Manager
Rico Neitzel - Rico is the German Community Manager
Roy Rubin - Roy is the Founder and CEO of Varien
Lee Saferite - Lee is a well respected of the Magento Community. He is located in Lake City, FL in the US.
Francois Zisserman - Francois is a popular French eCommerce blogger.  His site is http://www.araok.fr and his blog is located at http://www.araok.fr/categorie/e-commerce
and myself of course!!!

In order for this meeting to be a success, we need your help!

Our first meeting will be this upcoming Monday morning, the 30th of March 2009 at 9AM PDT.  Expect a full summary of the proceedings and a follow up on here and in the forums as well.  I have been involved in many conversations over the last two weeks with many members of the community, about many different topics, and I have enjoyed it tremendously.  The goal of the community board is to bring up issues relevant to the community and as such I would like people to comment to this post about what you think we should discuss.  I will keep a running list and at 6AM PDT on Monday, I will finalize a list and hope to post an agenda on here for everyone to see what topics we will be talking about.

The future’s looking bright.

Koby smile

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User Comments

|19 comments
  1. MXWest

    1MXWest |posted March 26 2009

    Sounds like an excellent beginning. Will be back to check the proceedings and post some ideas.

  2. blueben

    2blueben from Charleston, SC|posted March 26 2009

    Koby & the rest of the CAB,

    Thank you very much for providing such a valuable service to the community.  It is my sincere hope that the Board will be able to filter through and prioritize the community’s needs.  The resulting awareness of and improved response to community needs will serve the platform well.

    That said, I would like to throw in my $0.02:

    * Please express to Varien the need to improve the bug tracker, particularly with regards to searching by ID and having them provide a comment when status is changed, perhaps with an indication of which upcoming release will contain the patch.  Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a problem being listed as “closed” without any apparent change to relevant code.

    * Varien should consider providing a la carte support incidents via email or a private forum, at least to partners.  The economics and demand both should make this feasible.

    Again, thank you all for your work.  I’m excited.

    Regards,
    Ben / Blue Acorn

  3. tjscgroup

    3tjscgroup from United Kingdom|posted March 26 2009

    I suggest you look through the forum and find threads with lots of views as this shows which the community are interested in.

    I’m sure there are several popular threads, one that I would be interested in hearing Varien feedback on is this one: http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards/viewthread/20813/

  4. Koby Oz

    4Koby Oz |posted March 26 2009

    @tjscgroup I have combed through the forums several times over the past couple of weeks, but nonetheless this was meant to hear specific suggestions from people.  It is clear, as with any software project, there are many feature requests and functionality requests.  At the same time, there are limited resources and time to be expended on things.  That’s why the CAB was created to get feedback from you guys and make the right moves based on that.  We are working on enabling everyone to participate effectively and that’s gonna take some time.  The best way to help is to help me help us by bringing issues to my attention and approaching each situation with enthusiasm and optimism.

    Koby smile

  5. vinai

    5vinai from Heidelberg, Germany|posted March 26 2009

    The topics I would like to read about in the summary would be:

    * How can community developers contribute code to the Magento Core and the Magento Infrastructure (as blueben said, the bug tracker, but also Magento Connect and the forums)

    * How can the Magento Core development be made more transparent. What is going on behind the walls?

    * Planing of community projects that go further then just small patches, e.g. building QA infrastructure, working in focus teams to implement features as community extensions that would be to big for single developers or small companies.

    Vinai

  6. Ross

    6Ross from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK|posted March 26 2009

    There are a lot of great ways for the community to contribute, and also this site has some great features to help with that, but there are a couple of things that I would like to suggest for discussion (similar to above):

    1.  Bug tracking - why are there ‘core’ and ‘community’ bugs?  The community bug tracking interface seems a bit sanitised (perhaps that’s intentional). What about a system like Trac?

    2. Trunk SVN visibility - Just another step towards transparent development.

    3. Community code contributions to core - Is this something that Varien is open to, or working towards?

    4. Code hosting for community projects - SVN space for community code would be a great way to extend involvement in community extension development. (As far as I know only Mean Bee’s Royal Mail extension has public code hosting - which is with Google)

    5. Bug tracking for community extensions would be nice too (the forum is a bit limiting for this)

    6. Improved sorting on Magento Connect - As more and more extensions become available, finding the good ones becomes more important.  As a first suggestion I think it would be great if the ‘Sort by Rating’ was weighted against the number of votes (so you don’t have extensions with only 1 5-star vote coming to the top).

    Hope the meeting goes well, look forward to hearing the result.

    Cheers,
    Ross.

  7. kara

    7kara from aa, mi, us|posted March 26 2009

    Hey there-- Awesome that you’re starting a community advisory board!  I love that Varien is even interested in hearing what its user base has to say. So I’ll toss in with some initial thoughts for your use and abuse.

    Thought 1 is that I recognize about half of the board by reputation at least and it seems to skew toward the developer side (other half could prove me dead wrong).  IMHO, Magento has at least 3 strong constituencies—developers, theme designers, and business/merchants.  My hope is that designers and merchants will also be well represented in your thinking too.  For Magento to be embraced, not merely downloaded, it needs provide documentation, tools, features, and business cases, case studies that appeal to each of those user groups.  Please discuss, what those are.

    Thought 2 is that the starting hurdle for each of those user groups is too high—just look at the 100 or so “I can’t get my categories to show up” posts.  I would love to see you all address what are the documentation/knowledge gaps for each of those user groups.  There’s a lot of really excellent community content, but it’s terribly indexed and the search functionality is poor at best.  Please discuss what can you do to make what’s already there more available, accessible, and useful--human indexing, better search engine, relevancy results, usefulness ratings, etc.

    Also please discuss continued transparency on the development roadmap and then tell us the conclusion.  As a business owner, I need to be able to know how to proceed as well.  I base my roadmap at least in part on Varien’s.  If I know a feature set is coming, I might wait for it.  If I know it’s not, I might proceed with an extension or custom development.  I imagine it’s the same for developers and themers as well.

    OK, that’s enough from me.  Good luck with it.
    --k.

  8. timovski

    8timovski from France|posted March 27 2009

    I’m in a hurry to see what this council is given. I think this is a good initiative, good luck.
    Long live Open Source!

  9. Ross

    9Ross from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK|posted March 27 2009

    @kara - Some good thoughts there +1

  10. _monocat

    10_monocat |posted March 27 2009

    Great Idea. Maybe in the future the meetings can also be open to all who wish to attend via video chat, text chat, and/or video conference.

    Two quickies I like to see taken care of:

    1. Better search results. Most of the results point to the same topic discussion. Very time consuming. Maybe have two options. One that points to a single topic that may have relevance to the question in search. Second; Have the current outcome as advanced.

    2. Remove redundant categories in MagentoConnect. It’s time consuming to navigate through current setup and end up seeing the same extension in different categories. ie. Design, Theme, Skin should all fall under just Design category; add more detailed categories; also an area for javascript code snippet contributions.

    Good luck with the meeting.

  11. BlueKai

    11BlueKai from Madrid Spain|posted March 28 2009

    I would agree that solid documentation is something that would be a tremendous help, but I also understand that from the developer side it’s incredibly difficult to upkeep.

    Therefore, some kind of a structure for community contributions to documentation would be nice. Wiki is often helpful, but finding exactly what you need can be difficult and having some kind of stamp of approval from the Magento team might inspire a bit more confidence.

    I personally prefer tutorials that walk step-by-step through a specific process. It would be nice if there were a bunch of short tutorials easily found and structured by category and browse-able. I’m willing to write these kinds of tutorials when I figure something out, and I know I’m not the only one from the community willing to contribute.

    Magento isn’t perfect (it would be impossible), but it’s definitely the best and I, like many others, are loving having such an awesome open-source, configurable lamp-based product to work with in ecommerce - a web environment that actually produces real income. So thank you for all your work.

  12. radders

    12radders |posted March 28 2009

    Great that you are doing this!

    I’d like to see you guys discuss what steps need to be taken to convert Magento into a fully functioning core product. The idea is to quickly translate some more of those downloads into working stores.

    I feel we are very close, but a lack of the basic functions that everyone needs such as a simple sales report means that only those who can employ their own developers will be able to translate their download into a working store.

    Of course the more advanced functions can be supplied as community or commercial extensions but I think basic funtionality should be available out of the box

  13. brendan.

    13brendan. from London, United Kingdom|posted March 31 2009

    hey there koby,

    i would consider myself a pretty paitent person and i really think this community advisory board is a great first step. I dont know where to post this comment, i currently have a thread going about how slow the forums have gotten lately see url http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards/viewthread/36205/

    Im not sure how aware you are of this issue, but i thought id chime in here.

    anway…

    I really.. really want this to succeed and there are plenty of other people really contributing a lot of effort into magento. But the time it takes to post or read posts in the forum has dropped to levels id say are unacceptable.

    I have posts that take over a minute to complete. I dont understand whats going on, but it needs to be addressed.

    anyway, hope you take this onboard and have your people look into a solution

    brendan

  14. _monocat

    14_monocat |posted March 31 2009

    @brendan I second that. It has gotten worst for me the last few days. I thought maybe it was my ISP, but other sites work fine. I guess it’s time to upgrade the servers.  wink

  15. RoyRubin

    15RoyRubin from Los Angeles, CA|posted March 31 2009

    @brendan., _monocat - We’ll take a look at the issues. We are currently running MagentoCommerce.com on a number of servers and will be looking at adding European mirrors or/and additional servers.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  16. brendan.

    16brendan. from London, United Kingdom|posted March 31 2009

    hey roy,

    thanks for getting back to me.

    As the forum posts show i dont think its just a EU v’s US issue as you have some posts from a LA based user with slow post times…

    But anyway, appreciate your quick followup

    brendan

  17. Armen

    17Armen from Los Angeles|posted April 6 2009

    So what came out of the first community board meeting? Can we get an update?

  18. Koby Oz

    18Koby Oz |posted April 7 2009

    The update will be posted to the blog in less than an hour now

  19. brendan.

    19brendan. from London, United Kingdom|posted April 27 2009

    Hi Roy,.

    any news on speeding up the forums?.

    Im starting to see quite a few duplicate and triplicate postings. infact i just had a triplicate posting happen to me just now. The forums are still too slow to and im sure making life very difficult for people to post and try and help out.
    with each post taking approx 30-45secs to post, its just not accepttable

    I know you have said you are looking at provision more equipment, but what about looking whether the forum software is just not upto the job?.
    I say this as aside from the slowness there is also quite a few posts about how hard it is to use this forum to find anything.
    Maybee a general re-think on the forum software is required?

    thanks
    brendan


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