MDG needs to be more involved with the community


#1

I know there’s always a lot of talk about what MDG should or shouldn’t be doing, and I bet it gets annoying pretty quickly. But this is something that’s been bothering me for a while.

From where I stand, there’s not much to tell me if the team at MDG is paying any attention to what’s going on in the community or not. I just went through the last 20 blog posts posted to Crater, and not one had a comment or reaction by someone from the team, either on Crater or on the blog itself.

And that includes interesting releases like Blaze + and Astronomy. What does anybody from MDG think about these initiatives? I guess we’ll never know.

I know the core team is always busy, and maybe that’s one reason. But at the end of the day, it’s also about priorities: I would argue that time should be made, even if it means slowing down development.

What’s more, MDG does also have a community team. Maybe their role could be extended beyond meetups and events, to interacting more with the online part of the community?

Now to be fair, I use Apple products all the time without expecting Tim Cook to leave comments on my blog posts. And I also know that some members of MDG already do their best to keep up and interact with the community. Still, I do wish things were a little different… and I know I’m not the only one!


Where I think Meteor is doing wrong with Blaze
#2

I read literally every link on Crater. Blaze+ is so confusing to me - I don’t get what it does. And I read the source code (OK, I spent 15m skimming it). Sometimes the submission just doesn’t make sense, you don’t have to comment on it.

As of a general question, I am sure almost every post on forums is read at some point by MDG members. Because when somebody is rude or misbehaving, MDG kindly asks them to be respectful to other users. I think your definition of involvement includes very active response rate. The only active response rate MDG has committed to so far is GitHub bug reports. Every bug report is viewed and replied with “yes, it is a bug” or “no, doesn’t look like a bug to me” within a couple of weeks.


#3

Hey, man something about Blaze+

It so hard to understand you didn’t get what it does :slight_smile:
Just forget the source code. Read the blog post.

I just don’t everyone to use it. But it’s my way to trying to fix a thing or show how to do things.


No offense Slava, but if MDG (or the team) started talk like this, we will loose a lot of talent from the community.


#4

I think the involvement we are looking for is some guidance on the direction of Meteor. Take the fact that it took your blaze code submissions, @slava, months to make it’s way into core. When people try to make things better, make improvements, or just generally understand where things are headed, we end up feeling like we just get ‘hand-wavy’ answers that don’t help at all.

I don’t like bringing up problems and complaining, I am all for brainstorming some solutions… But @sacha, @arunoda, and I can only talk so much before someone from MDG has to chime in about how to involve the community better.


#5

I think I disagree somewhat with the criticisms. I think MDG is doing a pretty good job on community under the circumstances.

In the near term, they just finished what must have been a very difficult release with 1.2. Not everyone has been happy. But people had a very good sense of the purposes and goals of the release before it came out. When issues starting popping up they were patching the most critical ones within minutes (not hours or days) and, more importantly, posting here about it. They posted - and continue to actively engage in - a thread here on why some people have not been upgrading. And as Slava said, issues reported on Github are getting a pretty reliable response rate. That’s my 2 cents on the last few weeks.

Stepping back, we’re in the middle of a cambrian explosion in javascript. Meteor is now a big part of the story of javascript, so we’re seeing a cambrian explosion in the Meteor community. There is an enormous splintering going on. You come on these forums and you see one guy howling about Webpack, the next guy howling about React, the next guy asking about postgres, the two guys after him asking where Galaxy stands and the next guy after that . . . well, I can’t even follow the logic of the next guy after that. I see MDG trying to respond by identifying the biggest constituencies and responding to their needs - with EC2015, Angular and React support, most recently - all while attempting to hustle Galaxy out the door.

If anyone wants an example of runaway hubris and open source community mismanagement, take a look at the collapse of Famous Industries this summer. That’s what it looks like to treat your community like an afterthought. They got what they deserved for it, so I’m not an apologist. I just don’t think similar criticisms are warranted here. How is MDG supposed to know what the community wants when it wants everything?


#6

Thanks for opening this topic, Sacha! A bunch of us here at MDG have been talking about it just now, after reading your post, and basically we all agree with you. We want to get better at communicating and collaborating with the community. We’d already been having some conversations about this recently (from the founders all the way down), and I think you can look forward to an MDG that conducts a lot more of our design musings and development activities out in the open, and that engages a lot more closely with the Meteor community (and with adjacent communities for that matter!)

More to say soon, but just wanted to drop a quick thank you and to let you know we hear it.


#7

You can ask anybody in the community, and they’ll tell you how thankful they are to you for all the time you spend engaging and helping. This is exactly the kind of attitude I would like to see even more of, so thanks for leading the way! Basically we need a couple more Slavas : )

I can’t speak for others, but I’m talking about something very specific here: outward community engagement. So I’m certainly very happy about GitHub issues being replied to, patches being released, 1.2, React, etc. but I’m talking about a different issue altogether.

Thanks Alice! Every time I’ve mentioned this to someone from MDG, they’ve agreed that there should be more engagement, so I know you guys are conscious of the issue. Hopefully this can serve as a little push in the right direction : )


#8

Thanks @sacha for opening this thread.

Well, I don’t actually have the feeling that the MDG guys have “deaf ears”. Having run a software business with > 10m revenue myself, I know how hard it is to reach targets and stay in touch with your customers at the same time, especially when you’re developing “cutting edge” technology and want to be an innovation leader.

Having said this, I for myself would wish that MDG explained a bit more about their long-term plans and esp. how all the recent developments (like React, Angular) will fit in the overall picture. For instance, I am really concerned about the future of Blaze if there’s so much effort put in these additional front-end options. Yes, I like to have options, but I think it’s also very important to keep the core product stable and reliable.

I already mentioned that I ran a software business with quite complex technology myself for some years. And from that experience, I know how hard it gets on the long run to keep too many side-chains up-to-date and in sync. It’s quite easy in the startup phase, but it gets really hairy later. So what I am missing a bit is a clear focus on what’s important (according to MDG), and a clearer communication about this - so everybody knows what to expect.

BTW: Thanks for the link to Blaze+, sounds interesting. Having a decent component concept is what Blaze is really missing. Packages like aldeed’s template extensions shouldn’t be necessary, if Blaze was well-designed. And yes, I like its overall simplicity, that’s why I am still sticking to it.


#9

What’s more, MDG does also have a community team. Maybe their role could be extended beyond meetups and events, to interacting more with the online part of the community?

Spot on! This forum itself is an ongoing meteor event with better engagement and apart from @slava (who’s not part of MDG any more) and @sashko’s activity, which kind of seem by personal choice rather than official MDG presence, there’s not much MDG affiliation here.

I also don’t think replying to github issues within a couple of weeks is something to be very proud of, even though it may be significantly better than other projects. Meteor is a disruptive piece of technology that lives on a very rapid moving space.

There’s also the motivational side of things. I would not report much if the first response I get is in weeks. Perhaps merely triaging the tracker to say “hey we heard you, and we’ll be looking into this, and here are some links you could check out in the meantime” or even just a “hey, hang tight while we look into this but it may take up to two weeks” from a real person in a warm tone would make huge difference.


#10

I would also comment here a bit. We made Blaze Components quite some time ago and it addresses many issues community finds with Blaze, namely, it provides a clean components concept, while keeping things backwards compatible. It would be great if there would be at least some discussion how to get some of those ideas into core, or some other way promote it. The issue I have is that MDG is proposing strange hacks to fix things (state, attributes, lexical variables) in Blaze which are all starting to make Blaze pretty ugly. I think approach of Blaze Components is in this sense better. But of course I am biased.

For example, how many MDG developers looked into Blaze Components? It would be great to get some feedback, for example. That would then maybe even offload MDG if community would know better how to direct our projects to match better with MDG’s ideas.


#11

Nice post!

+1 for Blaze, its very nice, I don’t want it to turn ugly


#12

It would be great to get some feedback, for example. That would then maybe even offload MDG if community would know better how to direct our projects to match better with MDG’s ideas.

Well said @mitar. A little encouragement by way of just a nudge in the right direction (right meaning in line with MDG’s vision) would allow the community to contribute with higher quality packages with consistent experiences that overall add up to a superior ecosystem.


#13

@mitar: Thanks for pointing to Blaze Components. Looks promising!

Indeed, my major concern is that many of these quite interesting approaches exist, but they are hidden in packages you are even lucky to know - or you’re not lucky and miss them. Plus, you never know if the package owner loses interest at some point of time (which is understandable), and then you have to rework everything to switch to a new package. This is ok for some “special-interest” extensions, but in current Meteor you even have this problem with rather “core” functionality (e.g. Sass, Collection Hooks, Routing etc.).

I’d love to see more “official” packages you can really rely on - and that are thoroughly tested. I still see a bright future for Meteor in general, but this mess really has to be fixed somehow. I just reverted my side-app back to Meteor 1.1.0.3 because I had so many unwanted side-effects and problems, and now I’m waiting until these problems have been sorted out.


#14

While I agree that I would love to get more direction from MDG on this front, I did try out Blaze Components and just couldn’t justify the time needed to change a bunch of code that wouldn’t work with the syntax you had. Blaze itself is already close enough and template-extensions really cover anything in needed in that regard.


#15

Thanks for responding Alice! Hope to hear more soon :smile:


#16

While I agree that I would love to get more direction from MDG on this
front, I did try out Blaze Components and just couldn’t justify the time
needed to change a bunch of code that wouldn’t work with the syntax you
had. Blaze itself is already close enough and template-extensions
really cover anything in needed in that regard.

Yea, you needed a different thing, extending existing templates. Blaze Components is to have a component system. For just extending existing templates template-extensions package do a good job.


#17

Interesting topic.

I always see Slava, Stubalio, Avital (so long I don’t see him) and others answering topics here, giving talks on devshops and so on. From my perspective that is really positive.
What I really miss from MDG is more guidance on specific cases, like the on Mitar pointed out. For example, I really would like to ask how I could introduce Meteor in my work (I work on a huge e-commerce in developing country, how would Meteor work right now for so many slow broadband customers). If I ask here in forums, so many people will show their POVs and that’s great, but MDG speaking would transmit much more confidence making us try harder. Of course this is really hard to achieve with so many people involved on community.
In the end I always think they are so busy doing so great stuff and my impostor syndrome tells me not to ask silly questions because they are so far ahead from me. I should just move forward and keep trying to do my things because everything you do in the world is like that.


#18

MDG is doing just fine. They’ve announced their support un(officially) for various patterns and have commented that they’re working on patterns. It’s very difficult to get shit done and balance community. They do an excellent job at it, especially with the Meteor workshops.

Even though you may not “hear” it, many of the devs from MDG actively read what the community is engaging about like slava said.

Keep on, keeping on. We’re doing great as a community :smile:


#19

That’s pretty much my whole point right there…


#20

No offense Slava, but if MDG (or the team) started talk like this, we will loose a lot of talent from the community.

I didn’t mean to offend or pass judgement on any piece of work. I tried to make a point that not everything is worth commenting on. A lot of things are happening in the community all the time and not everything makes immediate sense to everyone. Sacha’s post made an impression on me that he expects literally every post to have an official respond.

I don’t think this is how it is supposed to work. The things are changing in the ecosystem all the time. Decisions on what project fits the direction and which doesn’t shouldn’t be decided exclusively by MDG. If this was true

  • MDG would not have time to give a thoughtful response to everyone
  • The direction of the project might change over time
  • The long-term Meteor planning would be stuck in a less flexible position

I am not trying to represent on how MDG responds to or should respond to community activity, other than my personal opinion.

I think there should be a solid long-term vision of Meteor as a platform clearly expressed in a written form and talks/youtube videos. This way anyone can look at it and give their own judgement if any effort fits the long-term planning.

I do think that MDG hasn’t done enough to express the vision in a solid form. There have been a couple really good talks that came out in a year time-difference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixt5MQBA5f8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G2SMVIUNNk. I don’t think the vision is easy to define given how fast things change in the JS ecosystem as a whole.

The community should have more freedom on experimentation and not depend on the decisions in Core as much. Nobody should seek an official approval to release any work. The package system is designed in such a way that any effort can be shared. MDG never moderates or removes packages (unlike Apple and AppStore, for example).