Okay, time for another "Mailing List Descriptions"
post. Also time to stand on my soap box. This is not complicated
kids. Announcements about your new born child goes to the announce@
list. Questions about why something is broken, how something works, or
what is going on goes to the support@ list. Requests for new features
in our software goes to the rcr@
list. Everything needs a subject.
This week's edition
also adds the new list firstname.lastname@example.org, plus email@example.com which has been around
forever wasn't included previously in this post because it is a closed
I am also open to the idea of closing salestalk@ to sales staff
(I have talked to Rob about this) but in fairness that means we should
create a closed support list as well. I have also considered adding a
firstname.lastname@example.org for hardware
related development. If you have any ideas on how the lists might be
better organized, feel free to post to the support list (but you already
knew that would be the right place).
This list is for general
announcements. Software releases and status updates in particular are
sent to this list. You can post an announcement about whatever you
think is of interest here. In general, messages sent to the announce
list are not followed up on the announce list. If you
have a support or RCR related question that relates to a software
announcement, post a follow up to those lists, not the announce list.
The exception to this would be the original poster correcting errors in the
All support related
discussion should be sent here. These include questions about our
hardware and software, bug reports, information on upcoming and past
elections, etc. Everyone is allowed and expected to respond to
questions on the support list if they know the answer, or have something to
contribute to the discussion. It is always better to send a question
to the support list, even if you think it is simple or stupid. If you
don't know the answer to the question, the chances are other people on the
list don't know the answer either, and would also gain from seeing the
response. Since all lists are archived, we can use the archive to
build a database of questions and answers for solving support
Discussion regarding sales and selling-related topics. This
includes questions about sales prospects, material for RFPs, status updates,
and whatever else it is that sales people talk
Software programming and design discussion. Closed to
developers. Also contains some hardware related discussion currently
for want of a better place (although Ian is not on the list right
Requests for changes to our
software product should be sent here.
I am not very concerned with
the format of people's RCRs as I am with the content. All RCRs need
the following information:
- Submitter's name.
- A one line synopsis
(title of the request).
- Why it is needed.
- Detailed description of
the change or enhancement.
If the RCR is needed for a
particular election, then the request also requires:
- What jurisdiction needs
it (i.e. what county).
- What election it is
needed for. When the ballots are due for the election, when early
voting starts, and when election day is.
Each RCR must contain only
one request. Minor related items can slide in of course, but unrelated
items are a definite no-no. Bug fixes are not RCRs. Send bug fix
requests to the support mailing list, or directly to your favorite
developer. Small enhancements can also be sent to the support mailing
list, and will get as much attention as RCRs. RCRs should be of a
"project" nature. Adding a button or a field to the user
interface because it would make the software more useable is usually not an
RCR. Making GEMS or the Accu-Vote do something it didn't do before is
definitely an RCR. Use your judgement.
The description part of the
RCR is the most important. The better job you do in describing how you
would like the software to work, the easier (and quicker) it is to satisfy
your request. Several RCRs that have been sent in have outstanding
issues that need to be addressed before any work can be done. That is
what the rcr@ mailing list is all about. Even if you did not submit
the RCR, your are encouraged to follow up with your own ideas and
suggestions as to how the change should work.
Remember a simple
rule: A RCR defines a solution to a problem, not just
the problem itself. It is not enough to say that the software needs to
be able to do X. You need to tell the developers how
you want it to look and work. Think of an RCR as a mini-design
document. Now, you don't have to get carried away; some requests
are fairly self-evident, and the developers can work with you to get the
fine strokes worked out. Just remember that if you don't know how GEMS
would look after the problem is solved, the developers probably don't
For example, a reasonable
request might be for GEMS to be able have "Vote Both Sides"
printed on the ballots. Great. But how would you like that to
work in GEMS? What dialog would the text be entered in? What
options would there be? Would "Vote Both Sides" be printed
even on single side ballots? In a multi-card ballot would it say
"Vote Next Card?" Would the text be the same on all ballots,
or could it be different on some? Would it take up all columns or just
the last column? Would it be at the bottom of the card always, or
right after the last race? This is just an example, but you get the
If you feel your RCR has
been lost in the noise, then follow up in the rcr@ mailing list asking for a
status update. I will do my best to give RCR status reports when
requested, if at least to say it is not being worked on currently. In
general no-news is bad-news. The usual GEMS and Accu-Vote
announcements on the announce@ mailing list will indicate when an RCR has
been completed. We will also try to keep you informed as to what we
are currently working on.
Global Election Systems