interviews

How suggested features die 'miserable deaths'

One of my recurrent question in my interviews with Wesnoth developers, contributors and users relates to negotiations between users (and their wishes for game improvement) and developers (and their efforts to improve the game).

Being a quite mature project, Wesnoth already developed its own governance mechanisms to deal with users' feature requests. I consider the Why doesn't Wesnoth have my favorite feature FAQ as an artefact of this maturity, however the way in which this disclaimer plays out in practice, in the daily life of the project, is of interest for my research and it does not show in the FAQ.

As of now, the account quoted below is one of the best description, I received during my interviews, of how ideas get suggested, discussed, implemented/rejected in the Wesnoth project.

Data collection - Overview on interviewing

At the end of March, I wrote this entry about recruitment for interviews. If I recall correctly, at that time I had a total of about 13 interviews (few completed, some undergoing, many yet to start). Four months later, recruitment and interviewing are still one of my major activity, and this is the current situation:

  • 21 interviews successfully completed:
  • 10 interviews currently undergoing:
  • 7 interviews on hold/waiting for confirmation:
  • 2 refusal only, so far.

Surprisingly, the most chosen interviewing medium is the forum private messages system. 9 interviews happened over e-mails, 4 through IRC and one face-to-face. All the remaining interviews run through the forum PM. I did not expected it, but it is a nice surprise.

Fragmented, hectic and satisfactory interviewing

I'm basically done with my first batch of interviews. I'm just waiting the last two replies from two interviewees and then I need to do some sorting of the mateiral, but a part from that, I say that I'm quite satisfied!

I had six interviews. Two people are mostly gamers and 'minor' contrinutors within the Italian Wesnoth community. The other four interviewees are regular contributors (one was regular and got now retired) within the international/official scope of Wesnoth. Interviews were carried in a fragmented and heterogenous way: three of them over e-mail, two over IRC, and one face-to-face!

This has been an exciting experience because it allows you to interact in different ways with the people who are connected with Wesnoth, and this is interesting both from the perspective of research methodology but also at the personal level. The different ways of conducting the interviews also force you to re-think and tailor your questions (and basically, what you want to know form them) accordingly to the kind of interaction with the interviewee.

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