Tag Archive for 'community'

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.

What Science Fiction Can Teach Us About Building Communities

Sci-Fi and CommunitiesAt LinuxCon North America in New Orleans and at LinuxCon Europe in Edinburgh, I presented about “What Science Fiction Can Teach Us About Building Communities“.

You can download or view the presentation from Edinburgh or get the original version from New Orleans.

Description
Communities are one of the defining attributes that shape every open source project, not unlike how Asimov’€™s 3 laws of robotics shape the behavior of robots and provide the checks and balances that help make sure that robots and community members continue to play nicely with others. When looking at open source communities from the outside, they may seem small and well-defined until you realize that they seem much larger and complex on the inside, and they may even have a mind of their own, not unlike the TARDIS from Doctor Who. We can even learn how we should not behave in our communities by learning more about the Rules of Acquisition and doing the opposite of what a good Ferengi would do. My favorite rules to avoid include, “Greed is eternal”€, €”You can always buy back a lost reputation€” and “€œWhen in doubt, lie”€. This session focuses on tips told through science fiction.

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.

Updated October 22, 2013: Added the Edinburgh information to this post, instead of creating a new post, since the version presented in Edinburgh contained only small changes from the New Orleans version.

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.

Join me at PuppetConf August 21 – 23

Meet Me at PuppetConfIf you are looking for something to do on August 21 – 23, you should come hang out with me at PuppetConf in San Francisco. I can even give you $150 off the registration fee using the code “speaker150off”.

While the main part of the conference is on August 22 and 23, we are hosting a Developer Day (free with conference pass) on Wednesday, August 21st where you can spend the day with our developers and other community members while building modules, contributing to open source projects, working on documentation and much more. You pick the projects you want to work on, and we’ll have plenty of people around to help.

I’ll also be speaking at PuppetConf to talk about The Puppet Community: Current State and Future Plans on Friday at 1:10pm. This presentation kicks off a community track where we have several more sessions about how to participate in the Puppet Community.

Those of you who know me won’t be surprised to see that I am also bringing Werewolf to PuppetConf. We will be playing werewolf on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and I’ll have some gift decks to hand out to the winners! :)

Werewolf Cards

We also have many interesting sessions, plenty of other activities (5K, parties, games) and much more. I hope to see you there!

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.

Community Manager at Puppet Labs

After being lazy and taking a nice little month and a half off of work after leaving Intel, I’m happy to announce that I have just accepted the Community Manager job at Puppet Labs. I will be spending most of my time during the first month just lurking and learning more about the community while working on things like community metrics before diving too far into the job.

I am super excited to be working at Puppet Labs. It’s a great team of people, and I’m looking forward to working at a startup in downtown Portland again!

I’ll be starting at Puppet Labs on Thursday during PuppetConf in San Francisco. James will have a session on the State of the Community at Friday at 10:45 (you can watch the live stream) if you want to learn more about the Puppet community.

If you’ll be at PuppetConf on Thursday or Friday, find me and say hello!

Community Manager Tip: Take a Fresh Look

Keep It FreshMost of us get into the swing of our day to day routine and work habits, which can be good most of the time. However, occasionally, you need to take a fresh look at your community to get a new perspective on what you have. We sometimes remember to do this when we notice issues, but the best time to do this is when the community is healthy.

When was the last time you really looked at your primary landing page for your community? Take the time to really look at everything on that page, and remember that your landing pages are primarily for new and prospective community members, since active community members will just dive right into the heart of the community. Is everything still relevant? Does it focus on the right things for your community to help new community members easily find what they need?

When was the last time you looked at every page on your website or your wiki to see what information was out of date or irrelevant? This may not be practical for a very large community, but you can use your analytics programs to help you at least find the most frequently used pages to review.

Are the discussions in your community productive and appropriate? Take a hard look at what people are discussing and the tone of those discussions. If it doesn’t feel right for your community (and this varies for each community), then spend some time thinking about what you can do to make it better.

Additional Reading

Photo by Mars Infomage used under a Creative Commons license.

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: Geeks in Dublin

Wow.

I really had a fantastic time at the MeeGo Conference in Dublin last week. Over the past 9 months in the MeeGo Community, I have spent a lot of time getting to know people over IRC, email, forums, and other online tools. You can get to know people pretty well online, but there is just no substitute for face to face interactions and getting to know people in real life. I got to know people better and met so many new and interesting people that I can now keep up with online in the community.

I was one of several organizers for this conference, and from an organizer’s standpoint, the conference wildly exceeded all of our expectations. While we were initially hoping we could find 600 people who would attend, we ended up with almost 1100 attendees from 51 countries. Amy Leeland, our lead organizer for the event, proved to be a complete rock star; almost everything went according to plan and the few things that didn’t, she handled with a professional get it fixed attitude. We also worked with Portland design company Quango on many of the design and event logistics, and they were honestly one of the best vendors I have ever worked with.

In this post, here on my personal blog, I’m not going to do a full report-out on the conference (we’ll save that for the MeeGo blog), so I’ll focus the rest of this post on the community aspects and my personal experiences.

The community was very engaged in the event: organizing early bird sessions, volunteering to help out whenever we needed it, and working and playing together in the hacker lounge until the wee hours of the morning. I also led the unconference day, and I’m always nervous about scheduling an unconference at the end of an event when people are tired and have been watching presentations all week. I’ve seen too many unconference days become the time when people leave early or spend the time in a corner catching up on email. In this case, I was very pleased that the unconference day was a success with attendees presenting in every available space (more than 45 sessions) and staying engaged throughout the day.

One of the keys to getting good community participation and getting attendees to hang out together is to have evening events that are more interesting and fun than what most people would decide to do on their own. Add free food and drinks to the mix, and you really can keep everyone together well into the evening. The Guinness tour and the football game, for example, drew large crowds, and people really did seem to have a lot of fun.

The best part of the conference from a community building perspective was the 24 hour hacker lounge where people gathered after the evening events ended to work on projects, hang out and play games. We used this space to play many, many games of werewolf often lasting past 3am. Werewolf is one of those games that I really like to bring to conferences because it gives people a chance to get to know each other. It gives the quiet guy who doesn’t really know anyone something to do and an excuse to meet new people, and it puts people on a level playing field where the company executive, the university student and the internet famous are all equal as werewolves and villagers. It gives people something in common to start the conversations while they learn enough about each other to find other things in common. Many of us tend to talk to the people we already know, which keeps us in our own little friend bubbles that can seem cliquey even when not intended to be. Werewolf is an excuse to talk to people that we don’t know and otherwise might not have met. Unlike those other team building and conference games, people really seem to enjoy werewolf. I don’t play werewolf just because I love it. I play it because it builds community.

Other interesting personal notes from the conference and Dublin:

  • Organizers are too busy to eat – I made too many meals out of wine and peanuts in the hacker lounge.
  • Jetlag worked to my advantage allowing me to play werewolf until after 3am, and I didn’t really crash until the plane ride home, so the timing was perfect.
  • In Dublin, like many cities in Europe, you have to look hard for street signs. In this case, they are blue and nailed to a random building or fence somewhere near the intersection.
  • You can find good vegan hippie food in Dublin – as always, look for it near a university.

Thanks again to all of the new friends I met and the old friends that I had time to hang out with. I’m already looking forward to the next MeeGo Conference in May!

Photo credits:

Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day

Community Manager At Work

Community Manager At Work

First, I wanted to thank Jeremiah Owyang for being the ultimate community manager by putting together a framework for Community Manager Appreciation Day and organizing the rest of us to help get the word out and support the effort.

Community Manager Appreciation Day will be the 4th Monday in every January, and it’s a great excuse to and recognize the contributions and thank those people who are managing your online communities and social programs. These people work tirelessly on behalf of your organization and much of what they do happens behind the scenes and often goes unnoticed by management and community members alike. Have you ever wondered who answers all of those questions, cleans up after spam attacks and makes sure that the community runs so smoothly that you never need to think about it? There is probably someone acting as community manager regardless of their official title within your organization.

The role of community manager can be a tough one. They face challenges from within the organization to justify the ROI and drive programs needed for the community while at the same time being beat up by spammers or demanding community members who want more. To top it all off, this isn’t a 9 to 5 job where the community shuts down from 5pm to 9am, so community managers often need to jump into the community during their off hours to resolve issues. Despite all of these challenges, the role can also be rewarding and fun, which is why so many of us choose this profession.

Here are a few of Jeremiah’s suggestions for recognizing your community manager:

  • If you’re a customer, and your problem was solved by a community manager be sure to thank them in the medium that helped you in. Use the hashtag #CMAD.
  • If you’re a colleague with community manager, take the time to understand their passion to improve the customer –and company experience. Copy their boss.
  • If you’re a community manager, stop and breathe for a second, and know that you’re appreciated. Hug your family.

Have you thanked your community manager today?

Supported by Bill Johnston, Connie Benson, Rachel Happe, Jake McKee, Sean O’Driscoll, Lane Becker, Dawn Foster, Thor Muller, Amy Muller and Jeremiah Owyang.

Photo by Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography