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GitHub isn't a good platform for Q&A sessions #3
Hope you both are doing well! There's a bit of the "you had to be there when this all started" with this -- it first began when @lukefretwell made the observation that the day a CIO has a profile on GitHub is the day the world changes. I found the comment interesting, however I said in return that the day a CIO is on GitHub is the day she or he is an overpaid programmer -- because in all honesty a CIO should be "empowering their coders" and letting them focused on the technical work, a CIO should be more on the interconnections between the mission of whatever organization they support and the creative IT solutions to get that mission done.
Click on @empower-your-coders and you'll see this point reinforced, "@fcc_cio encourages empower-your-coders" :-)
... Thus the name, which was my attempt to reinforce that point. Also GitHub I believe doesn't permit underscores in userids. And yes, your comment of "Perhaps you were simply targeting developers in these QA sessions" I think @lukefretwell's goal was initially to discuss IT because I do IT.
So if it helps, consider it an experiment that @lukefretwell launched and I was/am happy to see where it goes. Personally, I still believe a good CIO should empower their coders to be at the edge of sharing their code, ideas, and insights wherever they best choose to be.
Target audience for those was gov IT. Also, number of participants isn't a gauge for engagement success. Quality exchange is. The format is definitely cutting edge as far as traditional GH use, but that will change as the platform grows. This was really an experiment in showing @fccdbray how to think outside the CIO box.
Related article I wrote here: http://fcw.com/articles/2014/07/07/github-swiss-army-knife.aspx
Sure, larger audience would be great, but that wasn't my objective.
These were experiments leveraging a collaboration platform in an entirely new way. Over time, as GH expands its growth, you will see deeper adoption beyond just developers (as is the case with most new technologies).
My fundamental objective was to pilot something new and expose senior-level officials to the power of an open collaboration platform, especially GitHub, which is still not widely-accepted by legacy government IT leaders as a legitimate way to manage developer environments. If I chose/choose to expand, I'm positive I could develop it into something stronger than these first ones, but, frankly, I don't have the bandwidth.
Anytime you venture "outside the box," as you say, on something new, you're not going to get the same traction as an established platform out the gate. Getting adoption to a new idea/tool takes time. Sure, I could've used Reddit, but my MO for this was to challenge the IT status quo and bring awareness to a platform where there is very little.
As I've said before, GitHub may be for developers now, but that's changing everyday. Anyone who pays attention to its trajectory and understands how fast technology changes knows that, sooner than you think, GitHub will be much more than the way you experience it today. Getting gov IT leaders to understand that now will help understand how they, and their agencies, can build a more engaged democracy for these modern times.
This is an interesting discussion -- and this comment from @lukefretwell is indicative of a point that perhaps we all are trying to make:
... regardless of the platform, the biggest challenge you have is the attention of individuals, be they developers, CIOs, or senior leaders, etc. Attention is the scarce resource -- and the limited finite supply for any of us re: what we read, what we contribute to, and what we opt to follow-up and engage in (for example I'm doing this wrapping up my morning commute, the rest of my day will probably have other attention priorities).
In addition, back in 2005-2008, I spent time looking at new collaboration platforms emerging across the internet, ways of collaborating as crowds (e.g., Wikipedia and Digg, among several others) and doing globally distributed problem-solving. The number of platforms present in 2008 was exciting, and the number of “bottoms-up” collaboration platforms on the internet available now in 2014 is staggering.
@lukefretwell At present and with deep reflection, I can't really say that GitHub offers any unique features for senior decision makers who are not developers to collaborate vs. all the other options out there -- and in fact it may be best if the different "bottoms-up" collaboration platforms focus instead on playing to their strengths vs. being a universal solution for everyone? Perhaps we should consider these internet-based collaboration platforms similar to organisms occupying environmental niches who respond to the different selection pressures of whatever that niche presents?
In the meanwhile, great to have interactive conversation about how we can reshape and transform how we work together on #PublicService and on issues that matter. For my part in closing, here's some thoughts a few of us at the University of Oxford did on the topic in 2010: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1626006
My highest regards to you both,
@empower-your-coders (and empower the people)
@leee As you mentioned, you're seeing the rise in adoption of GH pages and new integrations of lightweight CMS tools like Jekyll and Prose. This is just the beginning of GitHub as a platform for collaboration.
@fccdbray Senior level executives should leverage multiple channels for outreach to reach different constituencies.
My general point with GitHub is that, yes, today it's not perfect, but tomorrow it will be better (especially if it focuses more on UX). The challenge senior decision-makers have is that most are focused on solving today's problems, so it's hard to image what a platform like GH will be in 1-2 years. Today's government CIO isn't effective in using any platform for public engagement. If they do, it's few and far in between.
The bandwidth issue for me is that GovFresh isn't my top priority. It's important to me, so I make an effort in my day/week to cultivate it, regardless of the other obligations that occupy my time. We make priority for those things we believe are important and find time for them. To me, GovFresh represents my freedom as a citizen to exercise my civic right to engage in the form I choose. I have been able to do that because a) I believe it's important b) I'm fairly passionate about that notion c) I've been around long enough to know that anything worthwhile takes time to cultivate and establish itself. I could have stopped doing it a long time ago, but I didn't. Today, I'm a guy with a blog 3,000 miles away from Washington, D.C., communicating substantively with the CIO of the FCC (on GitHub, whom I've never met IRL).
From my perspective, I'd say that's a good start on GitHub being a great collaboration tool.
@fccdbray, I've downloaded your paper and look forward to reading it.