How to Best Hold a Contest!

I would like to hold a contest for a 'best solution' scenario.

What is the best form of posting/etiquette for such a scenario?

I'd like to offer a prize.

Thank you.

You can ask your question on the forum in the Q&S category. You can offer a prize if you like, though this is not something I would endorse, and it is strictly between you and whoever is judged to win - I cannot be seen running any sort of competition (there would be legal issues).

As you already did, if you are looking for a solution implementation for Keyboard Maestro, then it needs to be made clear that I am not necessarily going to implement (or even seriously consider) any potential solutions for actual implementation.

I'd be more interested in hearing suggestions for what would make Keyboard Maestro better for novice users and new users and potential users than suggestions for what would make it better for the folks on this forum (which represent largely only the most proficient of Keyboard Maestro users - and whose desires I can generally guess at anyway).


Auction looks unpromising.

I think there may be some people here who could offer you a quote for a well-defined piece of work, if it looked feasible, and of interest.

Sorry to be vague, CP - this is to directly work on an aspect of KM itself which has undergone some discussion.

OK, thank you, Peter. All points understood. Yes, I figured there was a money/legal issue - thanks for clarifying. I'll just leave it. I've got my workarounds and can live with them.

Dear @peternlewis

Allow me as an almost beginner to answer your question from my point of view.

Usually people need a quick experience of success to keep them working on something. I am convinced that much more "ready to use actions“ would promote this sense of success in beginners and take away some of KM's intimidating effect.

I know, you can import everything. But (1) beginners don't know that and (2) you have to have/find something to import first. That's enough of a discouragement to prevent a quick experience of success.

A perfect example to show what I mean is KM’s window management. With „this“ you can do everything with a window.

But this is a tool for experts. Beginners immediately lose all interest if they have to experiment with it.

That's why you developed this


This is what I mean by "ready to use". Actions that are self-explanatory and immediately generate success. I assume there are dozens of such actions that could be implemented. Without having to give up the expert tool.

As you rightly say, the people in this forum are not representing the normal user. A lot of „normal users“ are more interested in the solution than discussing the problem. They don't want to learn how KM works, they just want a working macro.

To these users I say, that is ok, you are in the right place. The people here are friendly and helpful. Don't think about whether your question is embarrassing or not. Just ask! (and wait for the "ready to use actions" :smirk:)

I hope that makes sense. Or as some here say, just my 2 cents. :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree with this - unfortunately, it really doesn't work very well. Everyone has their own macros and they tend to be very unique to them. They might have similarities to others, but each person ends up having very individual macros.

It makes it very hard to have “ready to use” macros.

I think the closest I could come would be to have some sort of wizard for creating “simple” macros. But I worry such a system would actually detract from learning Keyboard Maestro. It is by creating theses simple macros that you learn how to create more complex macros.


Ok, then that is how it is. :slightly_smiling_face:

Your original statement was that you would like to hear "what would make Keyboard Maestro better for novice users and new users and potential users".

What exactly is "better"?

I interpreted "easier to use" with the goal that more people buy/use KM.

But your concern seems to be different.

Of course I don't know better than you, but I am afraid you are wrong. If you force someone to learn something, it will fail.

You are offering people one of the best tools for the mac. Whether they want to use it intensively (learn it) or whether they just want to create simple macros with it, is not up to you.

Such as? Not being snarky -- I'm wondering if you've some generally-useful examples. They could, perhaps, be created as favourites and be bundled up into a "does nothing" macro which a new user could import and then drag interesting actions into their own Favourites folder.

These wouldn't be as user-friendly as a single action with multiple presets, but could be a good start -- and if they took off that might encourage @peternlewis to think again :wink:

(I'm sure I've also seen a couple of KM macros mentioned that can import Favourites more directly, and there are probably other ways of doing similar.)

1 Like

Since I'm the only beginner here, I'll talk from my point of view.

Yes, that's what I meant by "I know you can import anything". That would be the second best solution. Having to import something right at the beginning is a deterrent to beginners. Better if it's already there. Like these window actions.

Haha, I know you can't really imagine it because you are far away from being a beginner. Everything a beginner can do immediately without help, making his life easier and ensuring an immediate sense of achievement.

To stay with the windows examples. Arrange the two frontmost windows side by side. Or, arrange the four frontmost windows in the four corners of the screen, etc.

But if I understood Peter correctly, we don't need to discuss this any longer. :slightly_smiling_face:

I'm still a newb, having used KM for less than a year. I just like messing around with it, and that's how I learn. But I know I'm odd, especially when it comes to reading manuals (gotta do it!), which is why I'm asking for suggestions. "User stories", if you will...


...those are two and four actions, respectively, and munging them into one mega-action goes directly against the KM ethos (at least as I see it) of "simple blocks, arranged to do what you need".

But that is the sort of thing that could go into an "Examples" Group at install, or be made available on the Wiki. Even then there are difficulties -- should they be tiling windows to maximum size or leaving them as they are and just arranging them, what should be done when there aren't enough windows, etc. Perhaps an example for each so the new user isn't overwhelmed with "If" statements and error checking?

IIRC, the tutorial is quite brief. And there's certainly room for more simple (but not simplistic) examples, complete with explanation. Perhaps that would help?

At least one on this forum who would consider himself still a novice though! I totally agree with your comment. Keyboard Maestro is my most used app, behind DEVONthink 3, which is different anyway, though my skills are really basic on it. 'Simple' macros here can be really useful, truth is you don't have to even understand every step; I will think over that comment in fact some more.

Frankb is right and wrong at the same time. The visibility of the macros mean that even if you don't really care that much, as I don't, how a macro works, one will get interested in that and that will usually lead somewhere, in a very vague and slow way. It isn't 'either/or' I might say; like most of the apple under the hood stuff is: just invisible really. Partly because you can 'see' on Keyboard Maestro the parts or steps as it were. Like those transparent panels some trams have now, so you can see the engines and so on, sooner or later you will say: 'ahh I see the pistons...'.

I only really clicked as to what the difference between a regular palette and a conflict one was in the last two months though I have been pondering it for years in a sort of 'back burner' way, without focussing on it as a chore as such.