I have never been a staff member, so I don't have any experience or idea how the inner-functions of the Special Projects or Development teams operate. That being said, please feel free to correct me on any misinformation.
There seem to be a lot of different ideas regarding development aspects of ACC that pop up in Site Suggestions. I myself am pretty fond of Computer Science and programming, so sometimes I go through and read about these different ideas and do a bit of judging on how hard or easy I think they would be to implement. It's just kind of fun for me to read an idea and try to think about how you could make it real in terms of programming; what variables might be necessary, what sequence of events you need, how much math might actually be involved, it's just kind of fun to think about. However, as I go through, I realize there are a LOT of suggestions here! Even with the wonderful Dev staff that we have, that's a REALLY daunting workload in my opinion. Especially if ACC is just a hobby. When you throw real life jobs and other interests into the mix, things could become overwhelming. I feel a bit of sympathy for the Dev team just thinking about it. That being said, I also feel there could be many users on ACC who would be willing to lend a hand now and again. Obviously a certain level of risk comes into play when you try to involve regular members, and that is a vital issue that we can't afford to ignore. I'll get to that before I'm done here.
My suggestion would be to implement sub-development groups to work on certain features together in a similar reflection of those belonging to the Special Projects team. Members would volunteer to assist with certain coding projects they are passionate about or feel their skills could apply to. These projects would be able to remain separate from the main code aspects of ACC, and so these group members would not have access to that kind of information. However, to ensure the work and coding done by the group would remain compatible with the formatting of ACC, the group would remain in regular contact with members of the official Dev team, who would oversee and have the last say of the progress in projects. Any regular member of ACC would have to apply for the group in a similar manner to the application process used by other members applying for full staff positions. This way it can be assured that group members are trustworthy, responsible, and actively contributing on ACC.
For example, members who would like to see additions or alterations to the pattern system, or a sorting system for PTs on ACC could apply to be on a team assigned to design and code these features. Since there is already a functioning pattern system, its a feature that would most likely be low priority, yet more members might be fond of the idea. I assume a Dev's highest priority would be the overall operation and build of ACC, and entertainment features like this would most likely distract from the time they need to spend on site upkeep. Nevertheless, members will repeatedly ask for them. If enough demand for a feature exists, I believe those members who would like to have that feature should be allowed to assist in its progress.
Another example could be regarding the mobile compatibility of ACC. Some members might wish to contribute designs for mobile layouts and features. Since the mobility of the website would involve too much direct access to the main Code, members of this team might choose to prioritize the design, function and layout of the mobile site and would work with the Dev team to troubleshoot and brainstorm what is possible and what is out of reach.
The kinds of members who could contribute most to features would be those interested in Graphic design, computer programming, app development, and web design. These members already exist within Dev staff, however these groups would be an amazing learning experience for ACC members who are students, hobbyists, or enthusiasts to test and expand their skill-sets. A member who may be interested in applying to join the Development Team might first apply for a Dev group to gain knowledge and experience about how the job works.
In summary, Dev assistant groups would work on high-demand low-priority features which they most wish to see implemented. These groups build the code independently from the website, with guidance and support from Development Team staff. Members need to pass an application process to be admitted to a group, and the group will either maintain the feature's upkeep or be disbanded following that feature's release. Dev groups would be an excellent way for members wishing to join the Dev team to prove their skills and abilities as a productive contributor.
This pretty much sums up my idea. If you have any ideas, inputs or concerns, or even if you'd be interested in applying for a Dev group if they existed, please let me know!
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"My suggestion would be to implement sub-development groups to work on certain features together in a similar reflection of those belonging to the Special Projects team."
I do like the idea of having sub-development groups working on minor features. Currently, it appears several of the developers aren't able to log on to ACC that regularly, so this means there are only a few developers that are regularly able to work on projects/developments. If there is a way of getting a sub-development team to work on smaller projects to assist the active developers, then I think that would be a huge help. I recall a while ago that I mentioned the idea of training new developers, who may be willing to help out and dedicate lots of time, but lack some of the necessary skills to become a developer straight away. My thinking was that these people could work on low-priority, low-risk tasks, whilst being assisted and trained by an existing developer. Is this similar to what you're suggesting?
Obviously, there would need to be a lot of guidance and assistance from the developers if sub-development teams were formed. Would this hinder the developers from making progress with the larger-scale projects/developments? Also, I'm not sure how much spare time the current developers would be able to commit to mentoring a sub-development team.
Additionally, I don't know how many members would actually be interested in helping out in a sub-development team. I definitely like your idea, though, and it'd be great if a developer could give their thoughts on the idea of development sub-staff.
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I really like the idea of a sub team. There's so much in the comp sci world out there right now, and ACC does seem like it needs some extra developer help. Computer Science is a big and upcoming career and I have seen many students work on web side projects to help them study, and opportunity to do something like this on ACC would be great for those looking into Comp Sci as a possible career or future hobby. I think this would be a great addition to ACC.
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