[Evangelism] proposal for plone awards

Matt Fisher matt at mattfisherstudio.com
Wed Feb 11 20:39:06 UTC 2009

Hi list,

An idea came up very informally at the Jazkarta Developer Training in  
Montreal last month.  I've thought about it enough since then to post  
it here.  I did check and haven't seen it mentioned in the list  
archive, but I imagine some discussion on this topic has happened at  
least once. I've tried to flesh out some of the angles for sake of  
discussion, but what follows is meant only as a first poke. Here's the  

Proposal: 1st Annual Ploney Awards
File under: Marketing, viral and social
What is it: Lightweight, semi-serious recognition for outstanding  
products, contributions and innovations in the Plone community in  
several categories.
How it might work: Open submission process would involve self- 
certification on a relative scale of best-practice-ness.  Finalists  
(say 4-6) in each category chosen from the open submission pool would  
be required to write/post/present a short case study and perhaps a  
walkthrough of the code as a minisymposium/code fair for display at/ 
for the annual conference. Final general voting takes place online  
sometime near the conference timeline. Prizes are small, and hopefully  
(Pls note that my working assumption would be that this is to promote  
contributions and involvement from developers other than hardcore  
experts. Of course, that's a soft line to draw and probably just  
reflects my assumptions about who knows how much.)
When: Winners to be announced at annual (fall) Plone worldwide  
conference. Open submission period begins yearly on, say, World Plone  
Day in the spring. Finalists announced and final voting period some  
time relative to annual worldwide conference.
Suggested possible categories:
Newbie add-on product (Best 1st time submission from new developer(s)  
of a new product),
Newbie theme,
Newbie flavor (where flavor = customization of Plone buildout or site  
policy to turn it into something that doesn't immediately resemble an  
out-of-box Plone),
Best overall add-on product,
Best theme,
Best flavor,
Best whole number product release,
Next big thing (for innovations not ready for production, but super  
exciting anyway),
Best developer utility
(would probably recommend against conferring something like a VIP  
award-- would rather focus on solutions & innovations, not persons/ 

Business case:
The best-of-breed angle:
On various lists, there's an ongoing discussion about identifying and  
promoting good, forward-looking contributions.  From the viewpoint of  
community development, the idea about having awards isn't so much  
about getting the 'best' stamp as much as it is about making a public  
display of what is meant by 'Plone best-of-breed.' The idea of self  
certification and then open voting hopefully sidesteps the argument  
against Plone Foundation endorsing or formally certifying projects.  
And, if finalists and winners are encouraged to explain their code/ 
design/use cases, hopefully info on best-of-breed thinking  
disseminates and inspires.
The fellowship angle:
It's easy to think that unless you're a core/full-time/jedi developer  
who understands all the ins & outs, you're not really, really  
contributing to the wider community. Some small, community-originated  
kudos to a larger bunch of people is a good thing. Potentially, it  
extends a source of pride to developers who are expanding the reach of  
Plone in ways other than "core" development. Also, newbie categories  
would give an indication of reasonable first horizons for less  
experienced folks.
The (re)engagement angle:
It's probably a bit much to expect the first go around, but having a  
structure & timeline to bounce off of may eventually encourage  
revisiting code changes that need to checked in, or betas to finalize,  
etc., if this thing takes hold.
The viral marketing angle:
Make an incentive for developers to tinker with a few products, themes  
or buildouts they may have missed. Give people a simple reason to talk  
up plone on their facebook page, their blog, or on twitter. Make '2009  
Ploney finalist' and '2009 Ploney winner' website badges that could  
generate viral attention. Make a facebook voting app or badge, etc.  
Let people solicit testimonials if they want. Give a reason for a  
press release, and a timeframe that generates a little buzz for the  
The fun angle:
If it's framed as an edutaining display of creative problem solving  
and not so much a competition, then this could be a lot of fun. Fun ==  
The academic angle:
3rd party development influences the direction of the crowd.  I'd  
think there'd be some intrinsic value in having a yearly snapshot of  
commendable contributions as a way to diagram the evolution of Plone.

Of course, this is a sketch, and experience tells me that semi- 
competitive things make some people happy and others very angry. I do  
think there's a way to do this that's seen more as cooperative/ 
celebratory than competitive, & I think that would be the angle to  
explore. I'd be willing to work on this if there are a couple more  
people who think it's worth pursuing.

What do you think?


Matt Fisher

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