UserVoice as a prioritization service for new developments


  1. Today we have a roadmap page, but only few people know it. Even fewer follow it when planning their contributions. The document is in revision 3. The last change was on February 1st. Teh RoadmapDiscussion is not used either. frown, sad smile (Dates apply to when I wrote this)
  2. Our valuable users cannot say what they want in an easy way.
  3. We have no real prioritization of our development goals.

Idea: Use the service UserVoice for Foswiki

I would like to introduce "UserVoice" for Foswiki and let every visitor of the Foswiki-Website contribute to our roadmap.

UserVoice allows every user to come up with an idea for Foswiki. Everybody else can vote on all existing ideas. Ideas can be discussed. A prioritized list arises, that helps Foswiki to define its roadmap. If you look at the left side of this page you will see a feedback tag, that leads to a test area, that I created to demo the feature. (Enable 3rd-party javascript files, if you cannot see the button.)


Pros for this proposal

  • Everybody can participate.
  • The more people participate, the better the prioritization will become.
  • It will help to improve Foswiki exactly where improvements are needed.
  • The definition of what is important will be a democratic process.
  • We will probably be able to use the service free of charge.
  • Knowing your customers is the difference between building a good product and a great one.
  • It encourages Foswiki users, community members and developers to focus on the most important ideas.
  • It limits the influence of a vocal minority. (I heard that complaint already. With UserVoice we can implement a democratic decision und prioritization process for features and our roadmap.)
  • There is no registration required for votes. That is a big advantage.

Cons against this proposal

  • It is not part of Foswiki.

Your decision

Please put your name in the list below as soon as you feel, you can decide.

I am for the introduction of UserVoice

  1. MartinSeibert

I am against the introduction of UserVoice

  1. MichaelDaum
  2. GilmarSantosJr
  3. CrawfordCurrie
  4. ArthurClemens
  5. PadraigLennon
  6. RaymondLutz


You will always have to listen to your users' voice. Innovation however is driven otherwise.

-- MichaelDaum - 25 Apr 2009

I simply don't agree that the problem as described exists:
  1. Maybe people don't know the Develop.Roadmap, but it is listed in Development webhome
  2. Anyone can voice and propose features or post comments in RoadmapDiscussion
  3. We do have. Project priorities are directly related to its member priorities. People are working in what they think is worth and thus the project is evolving wink
IMHO voicers are really important, but we already have many ideas... workers are missing, not voicers. ( Please voicers, keep voicing! But also consider becoming a worker smile )

-- GilmarSantosJr - 25 Apr 2009

I do not disagree with having surveys or focus groups, but I see user feedback as one input (albeit an important one) in setting the development direction. The amount of experience a user has and the consideration they have given in pondering an issue must also be taken into account.

-- IsaacLin - 25 Apr 2009

Michael: What is your suggestion instead. Just leave everything as is. I do not want to change the development process. But I would like to hear from our users, what they think. It is another question, what we make from it, then.

Gilmar: I know, that everybody can do create or change something. But I also see, that it is not done. Not by new users, nor by existing users. Development.Roadmap and RoadmapDiscussion are deserted, unfortunately. How do you want to change that? UserVoice is a good possibility for that, in my opinion.

-- MartinSeibert - 26 Apr 2009

Roadmap and RoadmapDiscussion are indeed deserted, but not because nobody knows where they are. The reality is that very few people are willing or able to be driven by a roadmap, unless it is their own. Assembling roadmaps takes work, and in an environment where commitment of proposers and developers cannot be relied upon, it has a high risk of being wasted work. It is in acknowledgment of this that I introduced Personal roadmaps a long time ago, because individuals can demonstrate their personal commitment that way.

At the same time the feature proposal process is well used by voicers. Unfortunately, as Gilmar says, due to a lack of commitment from workers there is a great deal of user input already languishing there. User input is important, but roadmaps are not built from wish-lists. They are built from careful analysis and hard work.

The question is what UserVoice can add. At the moment anyone who wants to propose a feature does so in one of three ways:
  1. Mail to foswiki-discuss
  2. Feature proposal
  3. Task in Tasks web
Now, it would be nice to reduce this to just one channel, by making access to (for example) the tasks web more pervasive and obvious. But I don't think adding a fourth channel is constructive.

IMHO what would be far more constructive would be an initiative to collate the existing inputs into a "roadmap summary".

-- CrawfordCurrie - 26 Apr 2009

This is yet another way to gather information. The main question is how we act on the info, and that is an internal problem we need to solve.

-- ArthurClemens - 26 Apr 2009

I have been involved in many collaboration efforts, and I do not believe that UserVoice has the elements I would like to see. It is more appropriate to keep pesky users happy than to come up with viable ideas for development. Foswiki users are not typical application users.

That is not to say I think the foswiki platform is optimal for collaboration, and that is why I would like us to move toward integrating email more robustly, such that comments to pages are emailed to the subscribers and their replies also added to the appropriate topic.

-- RaymondLutz - 27 Apr 2009

I learn, that UserVoice is not, what we want from for User-feedback. That is okay for me. Nevertheless, we should try to get more Feedback from them. The best alternative solution in my opinion is, to offer our mailing list as a channel for requests, discussion and prios on development for those users, that are completely new and that even do not want to register for a Any objections?

-- MartinSeibert - 03 May 2009

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Topic revision: r12 - 03 May 2009, MartinSeibert
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