I don’t think that helps. No one person can create a bridge, and asking someone here to be so specific when the issue is we don’t know enough to do so, isn’t removing one of the main barriers.
Let me give an example that works really well IMO. Maidsafe use RFCs (quite formal ‘Request for Comment’ documents) to propose, get feedback on and decide on whether to adopt or reject ideas for features and designs in SAFE Network. I expect developers are familiar with this model as several projects use this or something similar.
For those who are not familiar, you can take a look at the Maidsafe RFC repository, which you will see is on github.
I won’t go into details about RFCs, but much like the Solid panels which also run on github, this is a relatively formalised and cumbersome process that works very well with a handful of core people over on github, but is outside the reach of most of the community for the reasons highlighted. Yet Maidsafe have managed to involve the community in this process through the main hub which is the forum.
This wasn’t always the case, but has evolved over time and I think works well because we have a supporting and diverse community with many people of different backgrounds and kinds of knowledge who are keen to understand and contribute through the forum.
However, that community has come about because Maidsafe have consciously tried to involve as many of the people interested in and supportive of the project as they can in all aspects of the project. This goes to the heart of decentralisation and universal access, which I believe are common to both Solid and SAFE, and which is why I’m still here trying to help the Solid project.
I think this is where the two projects show a crucial difference in approach, that all Solid stakeholders could take note of and learn from. But most of all those who set the culture, and who are conspicuously absent from most of these discussions.
Coming back to how the SAFE community are able to contribute to the dry, formalised, technical world of RFCs that mostly happens on github…
Others in the community support anyone wanting to understand and learn etc. So the process is open to anyone, regardless of technical ability. Anyone wanting to understand will be helped.
It’s creative and growthful in lots of ways for the community, individuals and the project. Maidsafe maintain that while it does involve them in work to help facilitate this, they get a lot of benefit, including in the technical process. I think developers may be skeptical or even afraid of this kind of openness, but it is managed with their needs in mind, so I think they come to enjoy the engagement and feel support and appreciation from the community for what they do. Take a look at any weekly dev update (this from yesterday for example) and imagine being a Dev reading this kind of feedback every week.
Most RFCs are written by Maidsafe developers, but anyone can have a go and some great work has been contributed by community members directly via github. But only a small fraction of community input is directly via github, either in creating or commenting.
The rest comes because Maidsafe publish RFCs in full in the forum when they feel ready for community input. Not just links, but the full text. Not every RFC, but ones where they value community input.
This creates a community discussion, mostly lead by the community members who help each other understand, share and debate criticism, ideas for improvements or alternatives etc. Maidsafe devs generally are just involved clarifying and answering questions.
Everyone wins, and big changes as well as small ones have come about through this process, such as the adoption of capability based access which is replacing the original approach using Solid style access controls.
It’s not just about involving those with less technical knowledge, but also some very bright minds who would otherwise not have read or got involved via github because they don’t have time to be everywhere. But the education that happens among everyone through this process, at every level of understanding, is also valuable.
And since the SAFE forum accumulates all this it provides a readily accessible reference for others, including anyone from the Solid project who is interested in the process (see the forum RFCs category)
This does involve input from developers, but my impression is: not that much, and that they see the benefits directly as it helps improve their own understanding as well as gives them a source of new ideas, or a heads up about things they’ve not thought of. Most of the debate is handled by the community after all.
I hope this gives some understanding not just that there’s a problem here which is real and IMO damaging the Solid project, but solutions already working for a sister project which Solid could adopt, adapt or learn from.