I've been pondering this question for a bit (foregrounded in my mind again by the latest wave of newly-minted dwenizens brought to us by LJ's unavailability this week and as a reaction to the real-names fiasco of Google+) and, failing to come up with any real answers -- or rather, coming up with too many conflicting answers, and none of them good ones -- I realized that the best thing to do would be to take it to you all, lay out my reasoning, and see what kind of solutions we can come up with when we all brainstorm together. :)

The task: Make it easy for people to find their existing friends on Dreamwidth, either while they're registering or after they've signed up.
The new-social-network problem: finding your existing social network. )
So, the questions I have for y'all:

* What other ways can you think of to help a new user find their existing friends who have accounts on DW easily, quickly, and with minimal hassle?

* How can we best balance your privacy with your desire to find people you know?

* How can we help preserve the right not to be found by people you don't want to find you?

* What else am I forgetting to think of?
So, one of the things we want to do -- and it's a project that has gotten some developer interest lately -- is make it so that you can associate/link accounts together, so (for instance) you can switch to commenting or posting as your alternate/secondary/fic/RP/whatever journal more easily than logging out and logging back in. We've done some work to spec the problem, but I figured it would be time to toss it out to you guys here and see what other things we've forgotten to think of and what use cases we don't know about yet!

More discussion on the problem can be found at Bug 76. Here are two of the documents that have been written to try to "spec out" the project. Please read them over if you have a chance, and give your feedback.

Draft Spec, written by cesy )

Further considerations, written by tyggerjai )

So! What thoughts does this inspire in you?

Scheduled/Draft Posts

Now that we've finished the first draft of site search, our next major project is going to be scheduled/draft posts, which are two separate concepts that we've been bundling together since it'll likely be easiest to do them together:

* The ability to save entries midway through writing them, on our servers, as a draft that you can come back to later from any computer;

* The ability to write an entry and schedule it for posting sometime in the future, either once ("post this next Wednesday at 9PM") or recurring ("post this every Monday at noon").

We have specs for both scheduled posts and draft posts in Bugzilla, but we also wanted to throw it open to the crowd for discussion in case anyone has some awesome ideas we haven't thought of:

* What would you want to see a system like this do?

* What would make you want to use it, and what would be the "killer app" for you?

Update Page

Part of this project is also going to involve redesigning the Update page.

We want to make it possible for you to access your scheduled and draft posts at the time of update, in order to work with them, as well as giving us room to add more options in the future. The existing page doesn't have a lot of leeway for us to add new things, and some of the things we've added since we branched from LiveJournal don't integrate very well.

The resulting Update page after the redesign is likely going to be considerably different than what it is right now. (For instance, I'm tentatively thinking about folding in some of the functions of the Edit Journal Entries page, turning the update page into more of a dashboard, where you can access all of your recent posts -- published and unpublished -- along with your publishing schedule, and then edit or reschedule them, or create a new post -- but that's just a very vague idea.) There's also a lot of things we can do for that page, accessibility-wise, to make it easier for people who use assisitive technology.

We don't want to make things worse from a usability standpoint, though, since writing entries is one of the core functions of the site! Mark has done some statistics about which options are most frequently used while posting, which we'll be taking into account, but I also wanted to ask for thoughts:

* The four most-used options at the time of posting, from our data, are: icon, mood, tags, and crossposting. If you consider something else (other than those four) absolutely critical to how you use the update page, what is it?

* What's one major thing you always wanted to change about the current Update page, and why?

* What are the things you've always liked about the current Update page, and why?

We'll use your opinions to come up with the next iteration of the Update page, which will probably go through several revisions until we come up with something that we (and you!) are satisfied with.
So, now that [staff profile] mark is working for Dreamwidth fulltime, we're going to be working on many of the "big" projects that we want to do. One of them is a DW-native form of photo/image hosting that will let people upload images, maintain image galleries, quickly post images, etc, etc.

It'll be a while before we can have something released, but we're starting the design-and-spec process now! We have some ideas of our own about how it should work and what features it should contain, but we're turning to you guys right now at the very start, before we say anything about how we want things to work, to get your input and ideas without influencing them.

What features do you guys look for in photo/image hosting? What would you consider a "must have"? What would you consider to be nice but not necessary? What would be your "killer app" for image hosting -- the thing that would make you go "oh wow!" a lot and recommend it to all your friends?

Don't think about whether something's possible or not -- we want to hear your pie-in-the-sky ideas, your craziest thoughts, as well as your list of what features you'd absolutely require before you started to use it.