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Author Topic: bconf2011 - saturday - 11: Community/website reports  (Read 3214 times)

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Offline kat

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bconf2011 - saturday - 11: Community/website reports
« on: December 09, 2011, 05:27:52 PM »
Long post warning

Some initial thoughts after watching the Blender Conference community/website reports video. The central question being posed is in regards to finding a way to bring the community together as a means to help users get the information they need when they need it. It's not a simple question to answer, especially when the people asking it don't know what they want from the outcome!.

The Blender community is largely composed of 'casual users', people that dabble or use Blender for 'fun' (in whatever form that takes). The rest of the user base is a mixture of 'semi-professional', graduating to 'professional' users (individuals, teams and business users), people with some sort of commercial interest in Blender. Each demographic has different needs that don't necessarily center around finding information as new users; there's already a wealth of information available on the Internet covering most of what one would need when in a tight spot, so there is a danger of focusing too much on spoon-feeding new users information at the cost of encouraging self-investigation and initiative and providing high quality level support (especially if comparing support to other 'paid' applications).

The Blender Foundation has to take on a more active role and responcibilty if it wants to be the Blender Community Hub it seeks. The people, resources and time need to be made available for this, if not it just ends up being a bit too wishy-washy in intent. Something that won't enamor business or professional users to the application.

So what does the Foundation need to do if it want to connect or centralise information? The Blender Foundation needs to understand it's user base better so perhaps for starters they could put some effort in to;
  • Understand the different demographics associated with it's userbase
  • Look at the resources needed to facilitate blender.org being an activity hub
  • A badge, icon or graphic indicating Blender Foundation approval
The following is a rough notation of the main points raised in the BFConf video linked above.

Quote from: BFConf
  • Who is registered or visit BlenderNation
  • Integrate all the Blender sites more closely
  • Anything on sites that would make them better connected with the community, help bring community together
  • New users difficult to find where they are. A map "you are here"
  • Difficulty keeping up with latest news and or tutorials that are up to date
  • Interconnecting site that are sustainable (been around for a while)
  • Criteria for inclusion
  • What would 'list' inclusion be for? A list, aggregation, syndication
  • Blender specific search page
  • Maya? Phone number to call for support
  • #hashtag'ing sites context relative to "Blender"
  • NaN "Blender Learning Path"
  • Quality and date of material - up to date - Google not 'time' selective
  • What is Blender Community doing well
  • Overwhelmed new users
  • Suggestion on where to start for new users
  • Blender for beginners with cleaned up interface
  • [...unclear...] in house
  • Wiki documentation. Who keeps this info updated, responsibility. Add tutorial links to Wiki. Link spam & relevancy
  • Add graphic links to community sites (no more work needed)
  • Forum functionality, gallery, additional features
  • 'Partnerships' between sites
  • Tutorial classifications - a 'collection site'
  • OpenID - single login for all Blender sites

A lot of separate issue generated in the above which mainly center around the quality and usefulness (relevancy) of available information. Can blender.org be used as a means to provide some sense of 'value association' to the data and info it links to. Tutorials for instance that are linked to from the current blender.org site have an increased importance and value to the end user simply because of the association.

So, how can this be improved? More categorisation? Change the presentation of information? As always who would be responsible for doing this - communities very rarely understand the work involved and the dedication required to keep a page, let a long an entire complex site like blender.org running and up-to-date. Is the fundamental problem here simply a lack of focus and proper delegation of responsibilities from the Blender Foundation in terms of their aims with regards to the community?

PS: note to future conference operators... have an extra mic available to roam the room for when people in the audience ask questions.


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