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Explorer III

Too many Feature Ideas up for voting

Hi All,

I set a monthly reminder to come to the Ideas page and survey the new items up for vote.     Looking this morning, there are 1229 items up for voting.   At 20 items per page, that's 60 pages of ideas I need to scan through to decide if I want to vote it up or down, or ignore.   That's too many.   I have some questions.  

1)   Is this large number just housekeeping from the ZenDesk transition?   That is, can we expect this number to go down in 2 months once the initial month of voting has cleared the 3-month limit?   Or is 1200 the new normal for outstanding ideas?

Thanks, Glen

22 Replies
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Community Member

Hey glparker@usf.edu​, someone from the community team like scottd@instructure.com​ probably has better information and stats to back it up but I believe the rate of new feature ideas right now is more a product of all the engagement in the community rather than an artificial influx from any transitions. Most of the ideas I have seen recently are coming from actual users rather than the ones the communityteam are re-posting from the old community.

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Community Member

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Community Team
Community Team

As far as the number of new feature ideas being added; we did originally try to bring over what we thought were the hottest/most desired ideas from Zendesk.  Our goal there wasn't to curate and sieve through all the ideas to get all that met a certain benchmark but rather to provide a kernel of good ideas around which the new community could form.  Early on we asked beta testers and early adopters to help model best practices around these ideas regarding voting, commenting, etc.

Then we saw a big jump as more people became aware of the Jive platform and did as we suggest, copying over additional ideas that they thought were import.  During the height of that we saw something like 50-60 ideas being added per day.  After  a bit it settled down to maybe about 7 new per day.  Since then it has been growing steadily and new ideas per day can hit 15 or 20 on a not unusually high day.

As far as one person being able to read through, weigh and consider every new idea submitted, that is becoming impossible, even if you had nothing else to occupy your time, or at least it is quickly becoming a full time job that we are rotating around the community team.  One day in four, one of us is doing little more.

As for what this means for admins and others concerned with the feature idea process, I think it is going to mean prioritization processes.  For those that want to follow and vote up ideas related to given features or specific bones to be picked, they are probably going to find it more efficient to look at all the ideas that will soon open for vote, filter by keyword, and then bookmark those they identify as interesting.  On the other end of the process we are working on ways to filter ideas and look at prioritization as identified by the community at large.  In other words we are working to ensure that everyone in Product and Community are aware of the ideas that are ranked highest by community vote and also working to make it easier for people responsible for specific areas in Canvas to find and consume the ideas that are relevant to their work.

Hope that helps shed some light.

Yes, this is getting unmanageable, and I hope that the numbers of requests slow as the novelty wears off. I am seeing way too many boutique requests, or "our old LMS did that" requests. I also see a lot of requests from folks who are new users, and just don't yet realize that the functionality they are looking for is already there - growing pains for Instructure I suspect. I notice many of us try to point those folks in the right direction.

Personally, I vote for few requests.

That being said, I love that Instructure provides this opportunity to the Canvas users.

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I'm voting for a lot fewer ideas than I did at the beginning, that's for sure.

I'm hoping that the canvas team looks through the ideas when they are redesigning a tool. For example, I just posted a feature idea for the Android App, but maybe it won't get many votes and maybe now isn't a good time to work on it. Whenever the next redesign rolls around, hopefully the app team will look through the app-related feature ideas and note the ideas that fit, even if the ideas haven't garnered 100+ votes.

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One other point I would add to that great description from scottd@instructure.com​ would be this:


1.png?shared_name=kqw0h1rkk6wnk301iur7waqdcwr56ij9Based on our New Voting Process​ many of the ideas that are not gaining a lot of attention or traction from other community members will be retired/archived. If a given feature idea, that for three months has been open for community contribution and voting, only has 5-10 votes (for example) this helps us to see that this particular feature idea might be a "nice to have" feature for someone but it does not appear to be a priority to the masses. We never used to "retire" ideas of lesser interest to the community. Over time,​ this should decrease the pool of active ideas upon which you are choosing to vote <  glparker@usf.edukelley.meeusen@cptc.edu

I know that if I had a feature idea, but not a lot of other community members had a similar interest in my idea, I'd be sad that my idea is not making it to the "big time." But it helps me to remember the Canvas product design philosophy that Deactivated user​ shared during his GENERAL SESSION: Canvas Roadmap​ session. Click the graph image to review his detailed slide notes >>>

Beth.Young@ucf.edu​ I'm glad you brough up that point about the Canvas team (specifically product team) looking through existing ideas when we are redesigning a tool. We are doing exactly that! rcarney@instructure.com​ scours the feature ideas and creates and delivers an amazing custom report to our Product Team. These are curated lists of feature ideas that have garnered serious interest and attention, to those that are barely noticed!

Here's a sample of what our product team sees, so when we are going to rework "Peer Reviews" (for example), there is one convenient place where a product manager can go to review relevant ideas!

Community Watch #Peer Review  Canvas Community 2015-08-04 15-22-29.png

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Hi Jordan,

I totally get your philosophy of building for the masses, of not building things that already exist, and not catering to niches.

My main concern is one of visibility, discoverability.  

As it stands today, a 'normal' user of Jive is only going to browse 5-7 page deep into Feature Requests.   They will happily vote on topics that already have a few votes (the ones at the top of the list on the first 5-7 pages).   The Ideas in the first many pages will take care of them selves.

The next group will be connected folks at an institution.  They will submit a ticket, then advertise it to their constituents.   This will grant this Idea an initial boost of 10, 15 votes, which will rocket it into the top 100-200 ideas.   At this point it's got a realistic shot of eventually bubbling into the top 100 where it will garner the attention (and votes) of the first group above.

The vast majority of Ideas will be submitted, get a single vote from their author, then languish, unloved, until 3 months pass and it's archived.   Only the rare Idea from this group will be found via search, or by a super dedicated person who regularly mines all the Ideas.

I guess I'm saying that Ideas is still a popularity contest, which is okay, but it's one where marketing/advertising matters.     The ideas with the best initial supporters will get some visibility and will get their shot at becoming something more.   The rest will never be seen by the community and get a shot and making the cut. 

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Thanks for the explanation.   I like the new model of culling the top 10 to make room for lower ideas.

You mention stats.   Do you have information on how many of the current 1230 Ideas have a score of only zero or one on them?    By my rough count 560 have 2 or more net score,  leaving 680 with a current score of 0 or 1.   It would be interesting to make a snapshot of those 680 now, and see how many of them make it into the top-10 before they archive out.   

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Glen, I think your observations are on point here.  It sort of reminds me of direct democracy in that every person gets one vote per idea and can spend their votes as they choose but only by joining with others in political action groups will individuals have much of a say.  I think this is a natural part of growth, good or bad.