There were three goals of the proposal process:
- Brainstorming. Get the good ideas on the table for all to see!
- Developing a shared understanding. See what different people had in their heads. Identify commonalities and work through differences.
- Connecting ideas to strategic priorities. Use the proposals as a launching point for engaging in strategic thinking and discussions on this wiki.
This process seems to have succeeded on all three points. As of March 10, 2010, over 800 proposals had been submitted.
There were a number of proposals for things that had already been done. There were also a number of proposals for things for which there was already a pre-existing process, such as proposals for new language wikis, MediaWiki feature requests, etc. Both of these indicated that, as a movement, there's an opportunity to show what's being accomplished and to clarify and improve the channels and processes for making proposals.
Finally, the following chart shows that proposals were effective in getting people engaged in strategic discussions. This chart shows the growth of content pages (excluding Talk, Proposal, and LiquidThread pages), proposals, and editors on strategy wiki:
Up until January 2010, the number of contributors (green) was closely tied to the number of proposals (red). In other words, people were coming to this wiki largely to contribute a proposal and weren't getting engaged with the rest of the content. In fact, at one point, there were more proposals than editors. That started to shift toward the end of September 2009 (which was when the general Call for Participation went out).
The proposal process was a concrete "ask" that got a lot of people on this wiki very quickly. That first transaction is always the hardest. Once people had contributed something, the threshold for engaging in the next, harder questions was much lower. The participation numbers seem to validate this.
The following chart shows more granular activity around proposals:
There is a strong correlation between the number of proposals edited (blue), number of edits to proposals (yellow), and number of people editing proposals (green). If we observe the general pattern for all three of these lines in comparison to the number of new proposals, we can see that there was a lot of activity on existing proposals. People were not just proposing something new; they were engaging with existing proposals.