Tag Archive for 'OSCON'

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.


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.

Community Leadership Summit: July 17 & 18 in Portland

Jono Bacon (Ubuntu community manager) is organizing the second annual Community Leadership Summit on July 17 & 18 in Portland, Oregon (the weekend before OSCON, which has returned to my lovely city). I didn’t make it to the summit last year, since I skipped OSCON, but I heard great things about the Community Leadership Summit, so I’m not missing it this year!

Community Leadership Summit

Here’s a brief description from the website:

The Community Leadership Summit 2010 is the second incarnation of the popular event designed to bring together community leaders and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community.

The event provides an unconference style schedule in which attendees can discuss, debate and explore topics. This is augmented with a range of scheduled talks, panel discussions, networking opportunities and more.

The event provides the first opportunity of its kind to bring together the leading minds in the field with new community builders to discuss topics such as governance, creating collaborative environments, conflict resolution, transparency, open infrastructure, social networking, commercial investment in community, engineering vs. marketing approaches to community leadership and much more.

The event is free to attend, but you will need to register to help them plan the event. A big thanks to O’Reilly for offering up the space for the event.

When Companies Sponsor Communities

Here are my notes from the Art of Community lightning talk that I delivered at OSCON yesterday. Some of this advice is geared toward open source and developer communities, but most of it applies to building corporate communities in general. We also used a 3 minute lightning talk format, so the advice below contains only my top few tips that could fit into this fast-paced format.

We’ve all seen times where companies try to sponsor communities. Sometimes they do it successfully, but other times all you can do is watch while the whole thing backfires. Here are a few tips to help companies approach community building in the right way to build successful communities and hopefully avoid the disasters that some companies face.

Tip #1 Think about Ownership:

  • The company does not “own” the community. The community “owns” the community, and the people participating own their contributions (whether it is ideas, advice, documentation or code).
  • A company who starts a community:
    • owns the infrastructure
    • facilitates the discussions
    • moderates and keeps people in check
  • It can be difficult for companies to think of a community in this way. However, if the company doesn’t play nice with the community, the community will take their discussions elsewhere and fork the community and the project.

Tip #2 Keep Sales and Marketing in Check:

  • This applies to all communities, but is especially true for developer communities.
  • Developers want detailed information without the fluff. Get rid of the marketing speak and make it easy to find the key pieces of information
  • Don’t use the community to sell anything. You don’t need to pimp your products and services within the community. If someone is already participating in the community, then chances are they can find out how to get in touch with you if they need something.

Tip #3 Make Someone Responsible for Community Management:

  • This person can make sure that everything is running smoothly in the community and work to resolve issues before they get out of control.
  • The community manager isn’t responsible for doing all of the work within the community, but they can pull the right people into discussions and make sure that the right people are participating.
  • For open source and developer communities, this person should report into the technical side of the company (not marketing)

Companies can have successful communities, but only if they take the time to do the right things and truly participate in the community.

Don't Miss the Art of Community Lightning Talks

If you’re at OSCON this week, you won’t want to miss the Art of Community lightning talks that Danese Cooper and I are organizing:

Thursday, 07/24/2008
Location: Portland 252

Here are a few of the great people who will be giving lightning talks:

  • Leah Culver (post updated to add Leah)
  • Stormy Peters
  • Allison Randal
  • Silona Bonewald
  • Audrey Eschright
  • Erinn Clark
  • Sulamita Garcia
  • Nnenna Nwakanma
  • Danese Cooper
  • Dawn Foster

Also, if someone wanted to record the session for me (audio or video), I would be eternally grateful :-)

Mark Shuttleworth in Portland for Legion of Talk on July 21

Mark ShuttleworthAre you going to be in Portland on July 21st (the Monday of OSCON)? If so, you won’t want to miss Mark Shuttleworth speaking as part of the Legion of Talk series brought to you by Legion of Tech. This is the second in the Legion of Talk series (Gary Vaynerchuk spoke to us last week). Mark will be talking about 2 things: Ubuntu and his experiences traveling in space. I am in geeky heaven with that combo :-)

The Details:

July 21, 2008
McMenamins Mission Theater
1624 NW Glisan St
Portland, OR 97209
6:30pm to 8:00pm
Doors open 5:30pm (come early, have dinner & hang out with us before the talk)
RSVP on Upcoming, but also get a ticket on the Legion of Tech site

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