Archive for the 'community' Category

Lessons about Community from Science Fiction

everythingisfine-drwhoIf you think you’ve seen this presentation before, you’re wrong! In the spirit of making sure that every talk at Monki Gras is handcrafted and unique, I prepared a completely new set of slides and lessons just for Monki Gras.

While it is probably obvious from the title, this talk focuses on community tips told through science fiction. While the topic is fun and a little silly, the lessons about communities are real and tangible. Here are just a few of the things that I explored in this presentation:

  • Borg assimilation and bringing new community members into your collective for new ideas.
  • Specialization is for insects. The best community members are the ones who can help in a wide variety of ways.
  • Community members are valuable, don’t treat them like minions.
  • Travel to strange new worlds and meet interesting people

You can get the slides (with my speaker notes) on SlideShare.

Note: Comments are disabled on this post, since I’m tired of dealing with spam, but please ping me on Twitter, @geekygirldawn, or at the email address in the presentation if you have any questions.

The Puppet Community: Current State and Future Plans

Update September 4: The video of our presentation is now on YouTube.

Today at PuppetConf, Kara Sowles and I will be talking about the Puppet Community at 1:30pm in the French room. The session starts with a look at the Puppet community today. I use our community metrics to take a look at all kinds of data about pull requests, bugs, mailing lists, IRC and more. In addition to the numbers, I’ll also talk about some of our top contributors and our call for proposals for Puppet Camps, and Kara will talk about our Puppet User Groups (PUGs) and Triage-a-thon events. We also have much to do to make the community better, so we’ll talk about some plans for improvements that we’ll be making to the Puppet community. Throughout the presentation, we also include tips for how you can participate in the Puppet community.

I’ve uploaded the presentation along with speaker notes so that you can view or download the presentation now.

Community PuppetConf

Note: rather than dealing with spam, I’m closing comments on the post, but please feel free to reach out to us with questions or comments on Twitter or via email.

Open Source Community Metrics and State of the Puppet Community

Many of you probably know that I’ve spent the past week in Belgium for Puppet Camp Ghent and FOSDEM. I’ll be writing a blog post on the Puppet Labs blog later this week to talk about Puppet Camp Ghent, but I wanted to at least get my presentations out here while I finished writing the longer post.

Puppet Camp Ghent was amazing. I saw a few old friends and connected in person with quite a few community members that I had not yet met in person. Overall, I was very happy with the event, and the people at HoGent were great hosts. There were so many amazing presentations, and we’re getting them uploaded to the Puppet Camp page as soon as we get the slides from the speakers. Here is the presentation that I delivered on the State of the Puppet Community.

state-of-puppet-community

I had an amazing time at FOSDEM, too. I helped facilitate the Configuration / Systems Management DevRoom on Saturday along with a DevRoom dinner that evening. I love working in such a collaborative industry. The DevRoom and the dinner were organized collaboratively with our primary competitors, but we all worked together to pull it off in a way that benefited the industry. Aside from the DevRoom, I got to see a lot of old friends and had a great time!

At FOSDEM, I also gave a short version of my Open Source Community Metrics talk. If you are interested in open source metrics, you might rather look at the longer version that I presented at LinuxCon Barcelona in November. I also had a great conversation from Jesus at Bitgeria, and they are doing some awesome stuff with open source community metrics that you should look at if you are interested in metrics.

Next on my agenda are trips to Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway for two more Puppet Camps in the next two weeks before heading back home to Portland.

Lurking and Learning as a New Community Manager

LurkingI started working at Puppet Labs during the last week of September. During the interview process and in the first few weeks, I made sure people knew that I would spend my first month or two lurking in the community while I learned about how people participate in this community. I’ve been working with open source and communities for more than a decade, but this is still an essential step when you are new to a community as a community manager*.

I’ve seen too many over-eager new community managers jump into the community early and make mistakes by violating community norms, talking about things that aren’t relevant, making people unnecessarily upset, and just generally making a mess of things. Every community manager makes mistakes at some point, but here I’m talking about the issues that could have been avoided by knowing more about the community before jumping in with both feet.

Don’t be afraid to let other people do most of the responding while you learn from them. By taking the time to observe and lurk for a bit, you can learn about how people behave and get a feel for how people typically respond.

This doesn’t mean that I spent my first month sitting on my butt. As part of the learning process, I spent a lot of time talking to other employees about what works well in the community and about what isn’t working. As a part of talking about the things that weren’t working, I focused on what was causing the most pain for our engineers and started thinking about how we could make things better. I came up with a big list of things to tackle and started talking to people about plans for improving some of the community processes that were the most painful. I’ve started working on a few of these already, and others are in my 2013 plans.

I also worked on a lot of documentation and improvements to website content during this first month. We really didn’t have community guidelines or other standard documentation. Since community guidelines are relatively similar for many open source projects, I got a good start on those in the first month. I also focused on getting monthly community metrics published. I actually got a ton of work done during my first months. It just wasn’t publicly visible work.

Don’t be afraid to work behind the scenes for your first month or two while you learn about the community. If you make sure that your manager and colleagues know why you aren’t publicly visible while making sure that your work behind the scenes benefits the company, people are more likely to see it as an important and necessary part of the process of starting this new job.

Additional Reading:

*If you were hired out of a community where you have already been participating or are hired to work on a newly launched community, this advice probably doesn’t apply to you.

Photo by Stephen Jones used under a Creative Commons license.

 

Open Source Community Metrics: LinuxCon Barcelona

I wanted to share the presentation that I will be giving today at LinuxCon Barcelona at 1:20pm, Open Source Community Metrics: Tips and Techniques for Measuring Participation. This is similar to the presentation that I gave a few weeks ago at the LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, but I have added some new data and included different examples. You might also be interested in seeing the Puppet Community Metrics that I recently started posting on the Puppet Labs website.

You can download the presentation from SlideShare.

Talk Abstract:

Do you know what people are really doing in your open source project? Having good community data and metrics for your open source project is a great way to understand what works and what needs improvement over time, and metrics can also be a nice way to highlight contributions from key project members. This session will focus on tips and techniques for collecting and analyzing metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects. It’s like people watching, but with data.

The best thing about open source projects is that you have all of your community data in the public at your fingertips. You just need to know how to gather the data about your open source community so that you can hack it all together to get something interesting that you can really use. This session will be useful for anyone wanting to learn more about the communities they manage or participate in.

LibreOffice Conference: Open Source Metrics

Today at the LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, I will be presenting a session titled, “Open Source Community Metrics: Tips and Techniques for Measuring Participation.” It has tools, techniques and examples of metrics from the LibreOffice project, Puppet and MeeGo to illustrate several ways to gather and interpret the metrics for your open source project.

If you are interested in watching the presentation, it will be on the LibreOffice Conference live stream starting at 18:00 CEST in Berlin or 9am Pacific time.

You can also download a copy of the presentation from SlideShare.

Talk Abstract

Do you know what people are really doing in your open source project? Having good community data and metrics for your open source project is a great way to understand what works and what needs improvement over time, and metrics can also be a nice way to highlight contributions from key project members. This session will focus on tips and techniques for collecting and analyzing metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects. It’s like people watching, but with data.

The best thing about open source projects is that you have all of your community data in the public at your fingertips. You just need to know how to gather the data about your open source community so that you can hack it all together to get something interesting that you can really use. We’ll start with some general guidance for coming up with a set of metrics that makes sense for your project and talk about the LibreOffice community metrics. The focus of the session will be on tips and techniques for collecting metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects: Bugzilla, MediaWiki, Mailman, IRC and more. It will include both general approaches and technical details about using various data collection tools, like mlstats. The final section of the presentation will talk about techniques for sharing this data with your community and highlighting contributions from key community members. For anyone who loves playing with data as much as I do, metrics can be a fun way to see what your community members are really doing in your open source project.

Companies and Communities Book Sale

I published the book, Companies and Communities: Participating without being sleazy, in March 2009. For some reason, people are still buying it, despite it’s increasing age! I just paged through it, and while a few sections have information that just isn’t relevant now, there is still some good stuff in it. However, there is enough outdated content that I just can’t justify the original price tag, so I decided to permanently reduce the price while I decide if I want to take the time to update and revise it for a second edition.

Here are the newly reduced prices

  • Paperback book is available for $9.99.
  • Kindle version from Amazon for $4.99.
  • Buy the PDF eBook for $6.99.

Now, here’s the question. Would people be interested in a second edition of the book with updated content? I learned a lot about book formatting by doing this book and my more recent cookbook, so I know I could put together a more polished version. I could also add new content and the quick tips from my community manager tips series.

Crunching the numbers: Open Source Community Metrics at OSCON

Dave Neary and I co-presented a session about metrics at OSCON on Wednesday based on what we have learned so far from doing the MeeGo metrics.

Description

Every community manager knows that community metrics are important, but how do you come up with a plan and figure out what you want to measure? Most community managers have their own set of hacky scripts for extracting data from various sources after they decide what metrics to track. There is no standardized Community Software Dashboard you can use to generate near-real-time stats on your community growth.

Like most open source projects, we have diverse community infrastructure for MeeGo, including Mailman, Drupal, Mediawiki, IRC, git, OpenSuse Build Service, Transifex and vBulletin. We wanted to unify these sources together, extract meaningful statistics from the data we had available to us, and present it to the user in a way that made it easy to see if the community was developing nicely or not.

Building on the work of Pentaho, Talend, MLStats, gitdm and a host of others, we built a generic and open source community dashboard for the MeeGo project, and integrated it into the website. The project was run in the open at on the MeeGo wiki and all products of the project are available for reuse.

This presentation covered the various metrics we wanted to measure, how we extracted the data from a diverse set of services to do it, and more importantly, how you can do it too.

MeeGo Conference 2011 Wrap-Up

As one of the organizers for the conference, I might be a little biased, but I had an absolutely fantastic time at the second MeeGo Conference held May 21 – 25 in San Francisco. Like with many conferences, it was the people who made it such a great experience for me. Interesting conversations with new and old friends combined with fun activities and sessions full of geeky material made for a fantastic experience. Despite getting almost no sleep thanks to some very late nights of werewolf and discussions in the hacker lounge, it was worth it!

Here are a few of my personal highlights

Siege Weapon Building with Live Action Angry Birds was a great community activity to help people get to know each other. We broke out into about 15 groups of 3 people each, and half of the teams built catapults for the birds and the other half built levels for the pigs. We then paired the catapults with the levels and let people launch the birds at the pigs with judging for best catapult, best level and an additional award for style. The video from Netbook News did a great job of capturing it all into a short, fun summary.

Hacker Lounge and Werewolf

I loved the hacker lounge this year, even more than the one in Dublin. By having the hacker lounge in the same location as the conference and the hotel, people were able to kick back and relax in a fun environment all hours of the day and night. It was a great place to have interesting conversations or play games with people late into the night. We had ping pong, foosball, air hockey, wii, and my favorite community building game, werewolf.

I hung out with old friends, made new ones, and had a great time in the hacker lounge. If I could change one thing about the hacker lounge, I would get rid of the air hockey and television, which were a little too noisy for the space.

Sessions and Collaboration

I presented in 2 sessions: The State of the MeeGo Community with special guest Randall Arnold (aka texrat) and co-presented in Dave Neary’s MeeGo Community Dashboard talk. As someone helping to organize the event, I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, but I did get to a couple. I particularly enjoyed Carsten’s Transparency, inclusion and meritocracy in MeeGo: Theory and practice and an ad hoc session we had over lunch to talk about details behind the community apps. The conversations and collaboration in the hallways, over meals and in the hacker lounge were a big part of the event for me.

A few things I would like to improve next time:

  • Keynotes – enough has been said about the keynote, so I won’t elaborate here other than to say I agree with much of what others have said.
  • Better integration of the warm-up activities. Despite working very closely with the warm-up organizing team, these still felt too disconnected somehow, and people were extremely confused about attending the warm-up before registration was open and badges handed out.

Overall, I was really happy with the conference, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to hang out, chat, attend my sessions, play werewolf and much more. Thank you.

Photo credits: MeeGo Conference Banner by Thomas PerlWerewolf in the Hacker Lounge from Reggie Suplido and Maemo/MeeGo Folks in SF by Thomas Perl.

Note: This is a blog post about my personal experiences at the MeeGo Conference. We’ll some kind of official wrap-up on the MeeGo blog next week after people recover from the conference.

MeeGo Community and Metrics Presentation Videos

I just realized that while I was frantically catching up from my much needed Thanksgiving vacation right after the MeeGo Conference that I completely forgot to post the videos and presentation materials from my sessions at the conference. I presented two sessions:

State of the Community


Presentation Materials (PDF) and More Info

An Inside Look into the MeeGo Metrics


Presentation Materials (PDF) and More Info

You can also watch videos of all of the other sessions at the MeeGo Conference. For those of you interested in online communities, you should definitely watch Dave Neary’s Community Anti-Patterns presentation.