For quite some time already, some people have expressed their various feelings about the current process around the Planet: unclear, slow, not transparent, etc. Many adjectives have been used. But if you think about it, maintaining Planet GNOME is not an easy task: you have to make sure it's still an enjoyable read, and quality is really important for that. In the past, I have talked with various people who wanted their blog to be aggregated on Planet GNOME -- it was not my job, so I couldn't really decide, but I was still looking at the blogs to know if it was a clear decision. And sometimes, it's really hard to know. Actually, I don't think this part of the process can be made easy. But we can still improve the overall process by making it clearer, faster and more transparent. And we're doing this now.

The first change is that Lucas and I will join Jeff as editors of the Planet. Adding some redundancy should at least help a bit to handle requests faster or more reliably. We're currently aiming at answering each request within a week. But well, I expect a bunch of requests to be sent in the first few days, so I'm pretty sure we'll fail for the first week at least ;-) But that sounds like a good objective afterwards.

Then, there's the problem of explaining how decisions are taken. During FOSDEM, Lucas and I sat down for some time to start writing down some guidelines, trying to explain what was not documented. We actually ended up writing more than just guidelines on how to know if your blog can be added to the Planet: there's now a good beginning of a FAQ for Planet GNOME. It's still at the draft stage, and we welcome feedback on this. But it should be pretty close to a first official version.

The main issue that is left is on the topic of transparency: it'd be nice to let people be able to track the status of requests. An obvious solution would be to use bugzilla for this. I personally like the idea but it still feels hard to publicly say to someone sorry, your blog is not of enough interest to be included on Planet GNOME. Sure, it should be said in a friendlier way, and with a rationale, but people will certainly feel rejected (understandable, although well, the decision is not a personal one against the person), and feeling rejected in public makes things worse. On the other hand, is it worse than closing a bug as WONTFIX for the reporter?

So things are moving, and hopefully this will be for the better. Make sure to look at the proposed Planet GNOME guidelines and to comment them!