Majstor Trichko Znae Vsichko

Here in the lovely country of Bulgaria we have a saying – “Majstor Trichko Znae Vsichko”, which literally translates as “Workman Trichko knows everything”, which means nothing, so here have the semantic translation – “Don’t be a jack of all trades, but master of none”.
So, straight to the point now – I’ve been in the applications design business for Average Blokes for a while now and the most important thing I’ve learned is actually a rather simple thing – You can’t please everybody and adding customisation options isn’t always a solution.
You see, if you are designing (or if you can code too – creating) open source application you can’t avoid community impact on your app and the better it is, the more cherished the impact would be. However beauty of the open source community is that it’s really diverse and it has more kinds of folks that the light itself. I won’t bother bulleting all kinds I can think of, because that would require going to the store and buying a second keyboard, simply because the current one will fall part from typing. So, you have all those types of blokes in the community and the most interesting one (if you are making an app) are what I’ve (albeit cheekily) named – jittebugs. It’s not because they cause any kind of panic, it’s because for quite a while I’ve had Wham’s “Wake me up before you go go” stuck in my head on repeat mode and the lyrics are full with the word jitterbug, so you see – I had to name something after that word.
But who are those jitterbugs? Well, to put it simply they are the folks that come up with ideas and suggestions for your application.
You will get all kinds of suggestions – silly ones, wonky ones, ace ones, brilliants ones, etc … and you have to go through each of them and expression your opinion. Usually when an idea is a good one you add it to your To-Do list andthank the jitterbug fellah. The real fun, however starts when an idea is a bad one and you have to explain that to the bloke who proposed it, which very much regrettably is much more common than the other salutes and perks scenario.
Sadly a bunch of the users simply have no idea what is actually the right thing – for example you can get bug reports about “Maximise button is missing” despite that the app has certain amount of options in it’s interface and maximising it would only create whitespace. Or one about “Toolbar is missing modes” – when the user want to be able to tweak the toolbar – text below icons, icons only, text beside icons, etc … which will only break the look and feel of your application. Or … nah, I really don’t think it’s necessary to type more examples.
For our community is incredibly diverse and more colourful than a rainbow there will always be chaps that want customisation options and implementing those options those options will break your app, and you don’t want to make a broken app, do you? So, when you see such request politely explain to the jitterbug why exactly it’s a bad idea. Don’t go prepeared for full fledged verbal war, don’t just shoot “No. That’s not gonna be implemented.” as an answer, type a nice and polite answer with the reasons which render that useless for implementation.
Lastly, never ever assume the users are bloody idiots that have no idea what they want and what’s the right thing to do, however if you see a suggestion that doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to say grounded no, because that might somehow make this guy feel bad. There are times when declining is the right thing to do and if you don’t and proceed with implementing a feature that won’t improve your application or will make it worse it means you have to really learn how to say “No” when needed.

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