How to use the Suggestions & Proposals section


Suggestions & Proposals


We have been experimenting with various ways to accommodate Elixir related user suggestions and proposal ideas here on the forum. We have decided to trial a new section dedicated to this purpose :slight_smile:

In short, you can post a suggestion in this section, and if after your discussions you feel it is worth putting forward as a proposal you can then create a ‘proposal’ thread. Once you get final feedback on this, you can then post it as a formal proposal to the appropriate channel for that item.

The process

  1. Create a thread with your suggestion and select the suggestion tag from the dropdown menu.

  2. Once you have garnered enough feedback and are confident it is an idea worth putting forward as an official proposal, create another thread with your near-final proposal to garner further feedback (tag it proposal, again from the dropdown)

  3. Once you have received what you feel is adequate feedback, post your full and final proposal to the proper channel for whatever your proposal is for. So for Elixir related issues that would be the Elixir Lang Core mailing list, for Phoenix or Ecto that would be in their respective Phoenix Core and Ecto Core mailing lists too, etc.

What to include in your final proposal

When posting your proposal to the official channel, in order to make life easier for the respective core teams (and so for a better chance of your proposal being considered) we recommend you include the following information:

  • A short description (outlining what the proposal is about)
  • Link to original Suggestion thread
  • Link to Proposal thread
  • Your summary of not only your own thoughts, but of the feedback received in the threads on the forum (particularly of the proposal thread).

This will make things as easy as possible for the core teams as they’ll just need to read your summary and then look through the conversations to get a gist of how others feel. This will also demonstrate that you have considered wider implications of your idea, by seeking feedback from others who may be impacted by your proposal. If you want to convince the project leaders and core teams, this can be a great way to put your proposal forward.

Some notes and caveats

  • Please remember this new section is for user-submitted suggestions and proposals only. The Elixir, Phoenix and Nerves Core teams will continue to use their ‘News’ sections for all their official proposals and feedback threads.

  • Please also remember that it may be unlikely for any big proposals to be accepted in Elixir. This is because Elixir is no longer actively changing, where the team’s focus is now on enhancements and small changes.

  • When posting suggestions and proposals, the more research you do the more likely others will take your proposal seriously. A great example of this can be seen here: Proposal: Add field puns/map shorthand to Elixir

  • Remember it is your job to convince others your suggestion is a positive change and a worthy addition to the project. Consider the impact it has on learning, existing codebases and the complexity in its implementation. Listen to feedback, be courteous and respectful.

  • @blatyo, has said he will help review your proposals and give you feedback on any areas that could be improved - we highly recommend you take him up on this offer!

  • This process is not compulsory, you can, if you wish, go straight to the formal channels and post your proposal, however, as detailed above, going through a process like this can make life easier for core team members and also highlight issues or ideas that may be missed otherwise.

As with many things we try on the forum, the section is on trial, If it doesn’t work out as well as we like, we will review things or if it is not used much after all, just remove it - so it’s future depends on you and how you use it :023:

New Suggestions & Proposals section for Elixir and other community projects

Here are some tips that might help you when putting together your proposal…

Do any similar proposals exist?

Before submitting your idea/s you may want to check to see if a similar suggestion or proposal has been made previously.

  • If there has, include links to it and if possible, include a summary of how those discussions went
  • Include information on how your proposal differs or improves upon any previous ideas put forward

What do good proposals look like?

When proposing the addition of a new feature, it’s worth considering (and if possible, mentioning) some of the following:

  • Will it be generally useful to a significant proportion of users?
  • Is something impossible or difficult to do without adding the feature?
  • Does it fit with the existing feature set?
  • How complex will the implementation be?
  • How might it impact the rest of the code base?
  • Does it fit with the existing goals or ethos of the project?
  • Will it substantially improve the ergonomics of an existing feature?
  • How will it impact learning?

If you are unsure whether your idea will make a good proposal, post a thread with the suggestion tag to gauge the opinion of others.

What to do once you’ve posted your thread

  • Welcome all feedback, whether positive or negative
  • Don’t take any critical feedback personally
  • Evolve your idea as and when you take feedback on board