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What constitutes a (good|acceptable|worth-developing) feature-request? It seems as though I see many people requesting things, myself included, which are quickly met with "nah, the so-team shouldn't waste their time on that."

It appears as though if you are capable of hacking your own solution together for yourself, using special style-sheets, greasemonkey, 3rd-party apps, screen-scapers, etc., you shouldn't pester the SO-Team with a feature-idea.

This question will help me, and others, determine what would be a "good" request in the future. It'll keep us from posting things that the community thinks is worthless.

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Well... If you want something, request it. If we (other MSO users) don't like it, we'll tell you... – Shog9 Jul 5 '09 at 22:54
I'm getting down-voting, and having my reputation take a hit for things others don't find suitable. I'd much rather know what will be worth asking ;) – Sampson Jul 5 '09 at 23:05
@Sampson: And that seems to be a worthwhile reason to downvote. People don't like your suggestions, you get downvoted. If you were 'in tune' with the community, you would be getting upvoted and you would therefore have more rep. You will have to decide what is important to you. – GEOCHET Jul 5 '09 at 23:21
@Jonathan: not sure what i can tell you... you've made 13 requests and only one currently has a score <0 - you can't be doing too badly! There are things that will obviously collect down-votes ("make everyone pay to use SO") and things that are so inherently awesome they'll never be downvoted ("Build cornify into every page, every day!"), but in between them lies a vast grey area... YMMV – Shog9 Jul 5 '09 at 23:29
Shog9, this isn't about me. Please don't mistake my personal experience. The question is about what makes a good feature-request, not about what my experience has been. I shouldn't have responded with reference to my personal experience - that wasn't my intent. – Sampson Jul 6 '09 at 1:48
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think there are different classifications:

  • Feature requests which are invalid due to them not being good ideas

  • Feature requests which are invalid due to them not being worth the time to develop

  • Feature requests which are invalid due to the solution already being readily available outside of StackOverflow (such as through a popular web browser extension).

  • Feature requests which are good but unlikely due to the cost/benefit

  • Feature requests which are good but unlikely to be implemented for some time

  • Feature requests which are good and likely to be implemented in fast time frame (such as bug fixes when they are discovered).

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With all do respect, "not being good ideas, not being worth the time" are really begging the question. I'm curious how you determine what is a good idea, and what is worth the development time. I don't think it's fair to require all visitors to use a particular browser because it has a specific extension. – Sampson Jul 5 '09 at 23:07
1. To determine what is a good idea and what is worth the development time you have to weigh the costs vs. the benefits. Is the feature really going to provide a net positive high enough to justify doing it? 2. No one is requiring you to use a particular browser, but if you want a certain feature which in likelihood is only going to concern a few dozen users (such as user-specific CSS stylings), it would be better to use the tools that are already out there instead of implementing a feature in which only a tiny percentage will ever use. – TheTXI Jul 5 '09 at 23:37

That's an excellent question and TheTXI outlines several good categories. I think the "official" response for this is waiting on the moderator-only tags to come out for Jeff to put together some sort of handbook for assigning categories.

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Remember, though, that plans are afoot for community SO implementations, possibly for non-IT audiences (I have seen mention of a DIY-based StackExchange) where it's not ideal to require suggest a greasemonkey solution to an issue.

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