Sunday, March 18, 2007

taken out of context

It started innocently enough. The Notes 8 Beta was released to the public. Immediately people were up in arms and posting dozens of entries to the beta forum with the same topics. John Head took it upon himself to create some rules of engagement. That's when it got a little ugly.

Apparently Volker Weber was offended by John's self-empowered actions and launched a crusade against him. As is common, the statements Volker quoted were taken out of context and were not credited or referenced, making it somewhat difficult to determine who he was talking about. Today I was dragged into the tempest in a teacup when the same was done with some comments I made on Ed Brill's blog. Taken out of context and with no further discussion they seem to say one thing, when in reality the common interpretation is not the correct one.

I have already clarified my intent on both Ed and Nathan's blogs, but I'll repeat it here. First, the context. The conversation on Ed's blog was about things that hold up deployment of new software versions:
[Ed Brill] Raises an interesting question, Pete -- does the traditional software superstition that prevents organizations from deploying a "dot zero" release still apply? My impression is that a .0 could be dead solid perfect, but some companies by policy will still wait for a .0.1.
[Me] It's more testing and training that affect our rollout schedule than any perceived quality issue with .0 releases. As Dave said, by the time we have done our testing and gotten our training materials together the .01 release it out already.

I will say that my testing of Notes 8 beta has gone very, very badly and that experience will greatly affect our adoption of Notes 8, regardless of the point release. I read John Head's rules and am taking them to heart, hence the silence regarding my issues. :)

My take on John's rules is that they were basically asking everyone to do what they could to actually help the testing efforts. Complaining about things you couldn't change wouldn't help. In this case I'm having a problem getting the Notes 8 Basic or Standard clients to run. I don't have the time to do troubleshooting and crash analysis, so I opted not to report my problems. I have nothing substantive to report, therefore there is no reason for me to make a report. I could whine and wail in the beta forum but without any documentation it's rather pointless. John's rules of engagement influenced me, but I think in a positive way.

This is relevant to the discussion with Ed because the problems I have had with the beta will mean I will be doing more extensive and longer-term testing of Notes 8 than I have any previous version. That will significantly delay my Notes 8 deployment.

© 2007 Charles Robinson. All rights reserved.


  1. Charles - thanks for the thoughts on this. Looks like Volker might have updated his post to give more context ... without an update tag. I can not tell.

    Anyways, if you are having issues and want some help, ping me or Nathan. We will both be willing to help. We both have gone thru install hell with previous builds and Beta 2 (public beta) seems to be much better.

  2. Charles, I know you've since gone ahead and posted your problem, but I'd like to add that I think just saying "Hey, I can't get this thing installed" is valuable feedback. There may be lots of people having the same problem and a quick summary of basic specs and config of the machine may be enough to go on. It could at least allow Lotus to categories your problem if it was a known issue.

    Just because you cannot devote hours to helping Lotus get to the bottom of your specific issue, does not mean that it's not valuable in the first place. Obviously the more time you can spend the better. I'd also like to note that my reading of the now infamous "rules" does not include, "If you can't spend time figuring out the problem don't bother posting."

    I think John could have worded his intent better, perhaps by framing it as a FAQ. That said, I've still not idea what question "rule" 1 could answer. Maybe I'll just have to deal with it.

  3. Also, I don't believe the post by Volker was updated, it was always like that. I remember reading it shortly after it was posted (before your comment) and I used that link to verify that the reference was the one I had just read on ed's site.

  4. The post wasn't updated, Kerr is correct: FWIW Volker did actually link to the source of the quote from the start.

    Now to the real issue: your feedback should be valuable whether you can investigate or not. There are reams of logs that IBM could use, even if you don't have the time to track this stuff down. Eclipse has some funny bugaboos, and Notes 8 is no different :o)

  5. John, thanks for being understanding. Nathan has already contacted me (which is how I found out about this in the first place), and I appreciate your offer to help. When I get some time to look at this again I'll contact one or both of you if I get stuck.

    Kerr, I didn't think it was valuable feedback if I couldn't provide documentation, which I can't. I don't have the logs, I had to return my home and work PC's to a working install and the other PC's I was using at work have been deployed to users.

    You are correct, apparently Volker had a link to the original post all along and I simply overlooked it. I have missed links on his site in the past since my brain doesn't immediately register that red text is a link. I'm wired weird. :)

    Ben, I did go ahead and post the information I have available. I'm still not sure it's valuable, but I'll let Lotus decide. If I get some time to do another reinstall I'll share the logs.

  6. Charles,

    Some hope here