This is the Roadmap project.

It was inspired by a blog posting about how to give Wikidot users a greater say over the future of this service. The goals of this project are:

  1. To create a user-driven roadmap for Wikidot's ongoing and future development
  2. To build a fund that can be used to assure this development

The Roadmap works like this:

  • The Roadmap consists of aspects. An aspect can be a specific feature request, or a general direction in which Wikidot should go.
  • As a pro user, you can make a pledge on one or more aspects. A pledge is a number of hours that you are willing to sponsor. An hour translates to a fixed amount of money, e.g. $25 (to be defined).
  • Pledges are private but the total pledge on an aspect is visible, as is the total for the Roadmap.
  • Aspects are ranked by total pledge, and this ranking acts as a guide to what will be built next.
  • You can pledge any amount of hours and you can cancel your pledges at any time, for example if an aspect no longer interests you.
  • When Wikidot Inc. delivers new functionality that matches an aspect it may call pledges for that aspect, to cover the amount of effort done.
  • Pledges will be called proportionally on all those who made a pledge on an aspect.
  • You are not obligated to pay a pledge if you are not satisfied with the work done.
  • The amount of time spent on each aspect is visible and public.

Why this model?

  • Many people contribute to Wikidot with their time, ideas, energy. Others may have less time, but could contribute with money if there was a good way.
  • It lets Wikidot Inc. work with external developers (presumably users of Wikidot who are also competent developers) to work on specific aspects.
  • It gives Wikidot Inc. freedom to prioritize based on balancing the needs of all users. The Roadmap does not overrule the voice of the community, it balances and complements it.
  • It allows the gradual development of aspects over time. We have learned that it is best to make many small deliveries, each feeding new knowledge back into the design.
  • It avoids discussion about how exactly features are designed and implemented, which is already well handled by the open design processes we're building around Wikidot.
  • It avoids discussion on deadlines, delivery dates, etc. If an aspect is no longer interesting to you, you simply cancel your pledges on it. If you do not feel a change was worth it, you can refuse to commit on your pledge.
  • It will create, over time, a clear roadmap that guides Wikidot's technical evolution in a more accurate fashion than any plan we could make internally.
  • It gives the professional Wikidot users - those with the most to gain from a better platform - a way to translate "this feature would be worth $$$ to me!" into actual results.
  • It gives the Wikidot team a basis for long term planning of development, hiring, and collaboration with external developers.
  • It acts as a security and insurance for all Wikidot users who may ask, "can we be sure that Wikidot will not run out of money?"

How can paying users be certain their money is efficiently spent?

  • There is a clear reporting of time spent, and pledges are called only for work done.
  • Everyone making a pledge has the right to withdraw it, if they are not satisfied with the results.

How can external developers get involved?

  • In part, by learning the Wikidot.org open source product, but this is now a deprecated branch of the main product.
  • By contracting with Wikidot Inc., so that there is a clear legal framework for their work.

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