Are standards for official parts too strict?

Re: Are standards for official parts too strict?
I am not a part author. I am, however, capable of some clerical-type contributions which would probably be useful to the community. But I've never attempted to even BFC a part.

Unfortunately, in my perception, the Part Tracker/review process is to part authoring as Lugnet was to LDraw communication. Lugnet worked, it did some things very well, and it was comfortable to many people who "grew up" with it, as it were. Unfortunately, it was also tremendously intimidating to the unitiated—so much so that they didn't bother contributing.

The trouble is that I've heard too many demoralizing Part Tracker stories: A person who fixed a bowtie quad, submitted the fix, and then saw the part sit for four years with a hold because other pre-existing bits of it were no longer in conformance with current standards. A person whose first part waited for years in the certification tango. A person who got fed up with the whole procedure because his part got nitpicked to death.

Those are bad things. They cause the library as a whole to be of lesser quality, they alienate contributors new and old, and they encumber everything with so much inertia that it's impossible to conceive of ever advancing the state of the art (for example, a 100% BFC-compliant library). I don't feel like I can contribute under such a system; all it would do is increase my SPAM CONTENT pressure.

Please don't misread all this. I'm constantly in awe of what LDraw part authors and part reviewers accomplish. I'll never attain that kind of skill. But I bet there are people lurking out there who might just try, if didn't feel like such a Sisyphean task. At the very least, I know there is at least one person—me—who would happily do things like fix !CATEGORYs, if only I had hope of seeing the fruits of my labors shipped in a few months rather than be trapped in a years-to-decades morass of quibbling about unreleated details.

About all I've done in the post so far is gripe, so I'll try to redeem it with an semi-serious suggestion: make the Part Tracker a wiki, or at least more like Wikipedia. Make it so anyone who cares can contribute meaningfully, and anyone who loves minutae can make tweaks personally rather than holding "hold" votes over the original author's head.

I know that suggestion trades one form of complexity for another. At the same time, I think the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of roadblocks. I don't want to see the part authorship community ossify.

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Re: Are standards for official parts too strict? - by Allen Smith - 2012-03-20, 4:59

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