Obviously you think your idea is a great, viable feature concept, or you wouldn't bother proposing it. However, the value of a good proposal is not self-evident. (If it were self-evident, your idea would probably already have been proposed.) Therefore the purpose of your proposal is not only to describe your idea, but to convince other residents of its worth.
✓ Make your case.
A surprising number of proposals don't even try to sell the reader on the idea. Take for example yet another voice chat proposal:
Voice-For Secondlife: 52 votes/24 voters
I just have to say that I love this game, I can think of one thing that I believe will make it even better....Voice. Or some type of option in SL to able us all to talk to each other at once voice to voice.
While the proposal asserts that "I believe [voice chat] will make [SL] even better," no reason or argument is given. This is quite like the classic advice when writing fiction, "Show, don't tell." Your proposal should not tell us what a great idea yours is; it should show us, through a reasoned argument you've considered fully.
Neglecting to present your argument is a good way to avoid thinking it through. Part of presenting your case is to present it clearly and effectively. Several recent proposals present rationales, but indicate insufficient consideration for the reader's understanding (to put it nicely). For example:
Disable camera clicks on your land: 5 votes/5 voters
I would like to propose that the LL make some sort of option so that the taking of pictures on one's land should be able to be disabled.
Particularly useful if you are running large displays and such.
First, perhaps I'm not in world enough, but I have no idea what this author means by "large displays." I assume the author means artistic displays like you'd see at Burning Life. In that case, why would disabling snapshots be "particularly useful?" While some real world museums prevent photography, what use is that in Second Life? If you did prevent snapshots from being taken by someone on your land, what prevents someone from moving to a neighboring plot and taking a snapshot from there?
If you've made your case properly, your reader has fewer questions, not more. Those are the questions you want your reader to have: the ones that relate to the core issue. If this proposal properly made its case, my only question would be, "Should land owners be able to control what residents can snapshot?" and I could vote for it if I agree.
Even if you think your idea is obviously good on its face, having to compose an argument to that effect is a good way to discover flaws. It's one last chance for you to think through your request before presenting it to others, and there are a few interrelated things to keep in mind as you do.
- The motivation. Your core argument should present the motivation for implementing your proposal. That is: why bother? Consider if the goal of your proposal is aligned with the residents' goals, or the goals of Second Life as a whole.
- The stakeholders. Your proposal should improve the SL experience for all involved parties. The first question then is: who is involved? While a feature may improve the world for the average resident, it may be against the ultimate interests of content developers, script developers, paying customers, landowners, or Linden Lab itself and its investors.
- The counterarguments. If you're asking for something new,
Linden Lab hasn't seen fit to add it yet. Make sure to consider the
reasons why that might be. Would implementing your idea unbalance some
system? Under what conditions would your suggestion be a bad idea?
When you fully present the rationale for your proposal, not only will readers clearly understand your idea and its benefits, but you will be convinced anew that posting your proposal is the right thing to do. Making your case is something all too few proposal writers do, yet it's an important and necessary ingredient in a good proposal.