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More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

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More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Icecode GL » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:38 pm

I've been following FlightGear for many years. Sometimes I just limited myself to "using" FG instead of actively being involved on it, so the newsletter was a good place to keep in touch with the latest stuff. However in the last few years/months the newsletter has seen less and less contributions. Maybe it's a general lack of interest on it, lack of developers who post their latest progress on it or maybe just a general lack of writers. I'm not here to discuss the reasons, but to propose a solution. Instead of a monthly newsletter, maybe a quarterly or even a biannual edition would be more benefitial. Just have a look at the latest issues of the newsletter - they are just a paragraph or two long. With a bigger gap between editions the newsletter might get more protagonism, "transforming" into something like a magazine.

I haven't contributed enough (or long enough) to this project to have any relevance deciding this, but maybe some people more involved with the project or the wiki specially find it interesting.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Catalanoic » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:16 pm

Shame wiki need updating continuously and we're few people there, but maybe a solution, instead of biannual or quartely issues is to move it definetely to completed and updated changelogs for each FG release would be sufficient, adding sections like scenery and aircraft, resumed screens of the month (that moved to main portal too). Better than have monthly stubs, then linking it highly visible on main FG website to increase wiki visitors..
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Thorsten » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:34 pm

Maybe it's a general lack of interest on it, lack of developers who post their latest progress on it or maybe just a general lack of writers.


You actually should know the answer, having contributed the volumetric grass effect just recently. What kept you from adding it to the wiki / newsletter?

As with pretty much everything else that's tedious (metadata tags, new splash screens, releases,...) this benefits enormously from people who take responsibility and commit the off half-hour to the task.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Icecode GL » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:49 pm

The newsletter is supposed to showcase recent development progress. If no one reads it or even cares about it, why would anyone bother to write for it? Would you write a book or compose a song if you knew no one would read/listen to it? Perhaps once or twice, just for "art's sake", but most people would think it's pointless.

By making the newsletter some kind of changelog as Catalanoic said and giving it some protagonism in the FG release page, developers would be much more interested in writing about their latest efforts, since they know their article is going to be read and it's not going to be an useless chunk of text with no revelance at all.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby wlbragg » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:03 pm

@Icecode GL, which is it,

so the newsletter was a good place to keep in touch with the latest stuff. However in the last few years/months the newsletter has seen less and less contributions.

or
If no one reads it or even cares about it, why would anyone bother to write for it?


How do you know who reads it?

I read it, the dev list and the forums. So I generally already know what is going on. I like the historical record, all bundled in a nice, clean presentation. Early on before I got the hang of following the forum and the mailing list, it was my quick check for following the latest developments.

I don't necessarily see anything wrong with figuring out a way to add more info to it automagically. I don't think it time to change the cycle for release, at least not yet. Maybe with a bit of exposure, such as this post, we can get more contributors.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Johan G » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:07 pm

Three words: "Content is King" ;)

wlbragg wrote in Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:03 pm:I like the historical record, all bundled in a nice, clean presentation.

Indeed.

Also, if we turn it mainly into an automated change list it will become rather redundant.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Icecode GL » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:15 pm

@Icecode GL, which is it,

I don't think I'm contradicting myself. In the past the newsletter got more contributions, while right now it doesn't.
I like the historical record, all bundled in a nice, clean presentation.

We all do. The problem is that right now it's a nice, clean presentation of 3 lines of text.
I don't necessarily see anything wrong with figuring out a way to add more info to it automagically.

I'm not sure if I'm understanding that sentence correctly, but I think the easiest way to add more info to the newsletter automagically is to compress 6 months worth of content into 1.
Also, if we turn it mainly into an automated change list it will be completely redundant.

I didn't mean an automated changelog.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Thorsten » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:26 pm

The newsletter is supposed to showcase recent development progress. If no one reads it or even cares about it, why would anyone bother to write for it?


Chicken and egg. Self-fulfilling prophecy. If nobody bothers to write for it, of course nobody reads it. Would you have written something if it had been a six month combined issue?

Would you write a book or compose a song if you knew no one would read/listen to it?


Of course. I do these things for myself because I enjoy them. I've coded Advanced Weather into the face of a dozen people telling me that it'd all be pointless and won't ever work - because I enjoyed doing it.

I do things because I believe in them, not because I expect a large audience. The audience tends to find to it if it's good.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby wlbragg » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:37 pm

I think the easiest way to add more info to the newsletter automagically is to compress 6 months worth of content into 1.

When I sit here and think of all the different areas of work others have done over the last cycle, I end up with a pretty good list of potential contributions to the newsletter.

The problem does appear to be no one wrote about any of it.

The publication period may allow for a few more articles per issue but may not change the overall contributions.

I'm guilty of this, there is no reason that I don't add a paragraph and a piece of art to every issue. Over the last 6 months I personally have enough work product to be able to contribute a short article on one thing or another. I also have a journalism background so I guess that makes me even more guilty. :oops: :(
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Icecode GL » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:48 pm

Of course. I do these things for myself because I enjoy them.


Yeah, we all do. But you are confusing the development itself with the writing about it (and apparently me as well since my analogy was terrible). Developing is fun and can be done for your own amusement or to challenge yourself. Writing about what you have already done is not really challenging or fun. A better comparison would be your ALS technical notes. I guess those notes are directed to people, or did you write them because you "believe in them"? And since you have an academic background: I guess the fun part is the research itself, not writing the white paper to document all the work.


We can all agree the root problem is the lack of people writing for the newsletter. Why don't people write for the newsletter? Several possibilities:
  1. They think it's pointless (for one reason or another).
  2. They don't even remember the newsletter exists.
  3. They think their work is too insignificant to be included on the newsletter.

So the solution to the first two problems is to give the newsletter more relevance. With relevance I mean it's not a hidden wiki page with 3 lines of content. Reiterating myself, in my opinion, making the newsletter some kind of release notes in the FG release page would solve both points a) and b), while probably worsening point c).
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby wlbragg » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:03 pm

Why don't people write for the newsletter?

I would add one more for sure
d. They don't take the time to do it for whatever reason.

Which is probably a bit silly as we could have written a short article in the time it took to compose these posts!
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Thorsten » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:20 pm

I guess those notes are directed to people, or did you write them because you "believe in them"?


I believe in the principle that such things should be documented properly, yes. I devote a certain fraction of my FG time to things which I do not enjoy but believe need to be done.
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Catalanoic » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:18 am

Because june edition isn't already started and the last ones are really stubs or incomplete and nobody is contributing, i suggest to move or copy all devel work notes to next FG changelog
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Thorsten » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:56 am

After some reflection:

To a first approximation, it's fairly reasonable to assume that (some) other people tick pretty much like you do. So if you don't want to do some task for some reason, chances are others do not either. If you're waiting for someone else to do something, chances are that others are also waiting.

The trick is to recognize we don't get anything done by waiting for someone else to do it.

So the solution is that if you think something is important/useful etc., you go ahead and do it if you can spare the time (and before you go claim that I preach water and drink wine, I spent the last days documenting how to add effects to an aircraft as well as bringing the Vostok wiki up to speed).

It's a wiki - it makes no sense to suggest e.g. to copy devel notes to the changelog - you can go ahead and do it if you believe it ought to be done - don't suggest that someone else does it, this makes no sense in a wiki - remember all others are waiting for you to do it - because they by and large tick the same way.

And, again in answer to the original question by IcecodeGL, the answer why the newsletter is deteriorating is because other people think just like you :mrgreen:
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Re: More time between FlightGear Newsletter issues?

Postby Catalanoic » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:14 pm

i think its all a joke or something.. but by the time you write 1186 characters to say me and some others aren't contributing you can write 2 lines for the newsletter what you made on last aircraft effects. i dont have contributed on your "area" so my knowledge there will be 0 to write something that i dont know, maybe the best person is who directly made these contributions, this isn't wikipedia (where i've quite multilanguage experience) writing for a nice article about your town or football team, all is recent (days/weeks) technical info related to active and more like personal development, I emphasize "personal" because the rest of us cannot have any idea what others are doing, thats what the newsletter or the changelogs are intended. I just suggested a temporal solution (just a already existing wiki page per release instead of monthly stubs) until we get more wiki users (hmmh, i dont expect that shortly, be realist, just few people can stay in front of computer in constant basis), but i dont want to force anything or write for myself because i'll be lonely doing it so need a community consensus.
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