When is a project ready to be posted to projects? January 31, 2011 8:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm somewhat new to metafilter, and am working on something that I would like to post to projects, but don't want to do so prematurely.

It is by no means complete, its usable and useful (I'm using it!), and surely glitchy and dangerously rough around the edges. I'm looking mostly for testers and to at least form the kernel of a community which I can then solicit for feedback. (Some pre-launch buzz would also be most welcome.)

Is this an acceptable use of projects or should it be further baked before I post?
posted by tempythethird to Etiquette/Policy at 8:22 AM (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

its usable and useful (I'm using it!)

Then I'd go for it.

Every Projects post is approved before it's posted, so the mods could always reject it if your site turns out not to be appropriate for Projects (which seems very unlikely).
posted by John Cohen at 8:24 AM on January 31, 2011

How "dangerous" are we talking, here?
posted by Gator at 8:29 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

There needs to be some there there when you post it. So if it's a blog or a game and it's mostly ready to go, feel free to post it. If you're still looking for people to debug it, maybe it's not ready yet. Without knowing what you've got there, it's hard to tell, but a few outlines

- mostly-empty blog that is soliciting content - no
- blog with 4-5 posts that is in process - sure
- community site with a small community - sure
- community site with no community - no
- website for some other content [book/movie] that is not out yet, but with some content [and not just a "buy this" link] - sure

So like this project for example. There's a full fledged card game with a website that is still getting fleshed out, OP has some questions but it's clearly not a "come help me build my thing" thing.

One of the sort of unwritten rules we have about Projects is that it's okay to post something twice. So many people post a site and then, years later when it's mature and they've rewritten the CSS and made it all super-functional, they'll post it again. We don't want people reposting with every update and twice is basically the hard limit, but you can do a getting started post and a this is now mature post.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:30 AM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

One thing perhaps I forgot to mention. Said project shows a big "we are in closed testing, press here to sign up" page to new visitors, I have to let people in before it becomes useful in any way. Would that be an automatic disqualification?
posted by tempythethird at 8:30 AM on January 31, 2011

That sounds like maybe a show-stopper, yeah. Once you get to the point that a random new visitor has something they can immediately read/play with/look at, you'll be in better shape, but for now probably hold off.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:34 AM on January 31, 2011

Whoops, missed a few posts

How "dangerous" are we talking, here?
Might crash. Might confuse. Will do no harm to computer, possibly frustrate human.

community site with no community - no
Guilty. Sort of. Its a site that consists of an app and a small community element devoted to generating content for the app. The community is empty but functional, and the app is functional and useful even without community-generated content.

I'm sorry for being so vague but I'm trying not to give away details too prematurely.

That sounds like maybe a show-stopper
The beta system can easily be configured to make a link just for mefi, which would let anyone "past the bouncer," but keep the site closed to anyone without the link.
posted by tempythethird at 8:40 AM on January 31, 2011

I think the biggest failing of Projects was going with the name "Projects" when I really wanted to call it "Announce" to make it clearer that it's for self-linking stuff when you're ready to launch them. We get a lot of kickstarter projects and 1/2 done ideas lately and I think it's because the name "Projects" makes you think of everything as still in-progress when that wasn't the aim.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:20 AM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

"Announce" certainly implies what you stated more clearly than "Projects."

I think in the case of web sites/apps/etc., "launch" is rarely something that happens at any one definable point... sites start early, open only certain features to the public, slowly expand, and by the time they call themselves "launched," they may already have been established for years.
posted by tempythethird at 9:32 AM on January 31, 2011

You can always email us if you need an actual opinion on your actual site. We're not saying "hey don't put up a beta site" but more "don't use Projects as a place to get alpha testers."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:35 AM on January 31, 2011

If you're looking for willing beta testers, you might want to make a post on the gaming centric mefightclub. I've posted the last two personal games I've made, and they always provide some very good feedback while I'm working out the bugs/issues.
posted by hellojed at 9:35 AM on January 31, 2011

You can always email us.
Will do!

If you're looking for willing beta testers...
Its not a game that I'm developing though. Its something for language learning.
posted by tempythethird at 9:51 AM on January 31, 2011

I think the biggest failing of Projects is that it should be a lot more like Music. They can chat about works-in-progress and technique and ideas and whatnot. But none of that in Projects!
posted by Plutor at 9:52 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

That would be a good idea. But I can see it getting abused too, like fi I posted a link to my site in a "help me with something" kind of way every month for something.
posted by theichibun at 10:47 AM on January 31, 2011

The point of the suggestion isn't about this project in particular, it's about projects in general.

As a poster of two projects that pretty much died soon after the posting, it wouldn't really be a bad thing to be able to throw ideas against the MeFi wall and see what people think before exposing it to the larger MeFi world.
posted by theichibun at 12:24 PM on January 31, 2011

And the idea that music has a larger audience on MeFi than "things that are on the internet" is so laughable that.. it's.. totally laughable.

If your point is that Music (the subsite) has a larger audience than Projects (the subsite), then I don't really disagree with that. But I think that might be because it's the less-featured of the two places where people can collaborate and show off things they've done. Not an argument for keeping it less-featured.
posted by Plutor at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2011

tempythethird: "Is this an acceptable use of projects or should it be further baked before I post? "

To answer your question though, you post something to projects when you feel it's finished enough to show off to other people. That varies person to person and with what the thing is. Completion isn't always something to wait for. My next project post won't have that at all, but it will be beefed up enough to show off.
posted by theichibun at 2:29 PM on January 31, 2011

I check Projects every day and actually click through to everything posted.

Might crash. Might confuse. Will do no harm to computer, possibly frustrate human.

Me no likey being frustrated. This would definitely put me off voting and possibly turn me off checking in the future if re-posted. Even though you are excited it would be best to hang back for a bit and post something closer to the finish.
posted by gomichild at 4:51 PM on January 31, 2011

Thanks for the answers everyone... the answer to my question seems to come down to a somewhat subjective judgment call (surprise!) but I got a lot of good guidelines to go by here.
posted by tempythethird at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2011

It might help to sort of understand where Projects came from. Self-linking is a bannable offense [or has been for quote some time] and at the same time we're a community full of creative people who make stuff that would otherwise probably make the front page except that the person who made it [and maybe their friends] couldn't put it there. Way back when there was a mailing list that kindall maintained that was just for announcing a thing that you'd done. This was both to get some eyeballs for it but also a way for members to know about other members' projects and maybe put them on the front page. This is sort of what mathowie had in mind when he built this part of the site, a place where you can see the things other people are doing and comment and, if you like, post them to the front page, there's even a built in mechanism to do that.

As the subsite grew it was clear that some people would have found it more useful if it was a "getting started on my project" type of site, a place to solicit and get feedback about something that is getting worked on. And while the purpose of the site is flexible somewhat so that people could use it for that, it's not the primary purpose and people who read Projects a lot might balk. And you might not want a half-finished project posted to the front page. Or maybe you would.

So there are sort of two levels of what is okay

1. Everything on Projects has to be pre-approved, so if it's the type of site that's not okay at all, it won't even get approved
2. What's going to get useful feedback or attention which I think is more what you're after, tempythethird
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:07 AM on February 1, 2011

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