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The Art of Community

Book Description

Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you're supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. The Art of Community will help you develop the broad range of talents you need to recruit members to your community, motivate and manage them, and help them become active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers a collection of experiences and observations from his decade-long involvement in building and managing communities, including his current position as manager for Ubuntu, arguably the largest community in open source software. You'll discover how a vibrant community can provide you with a reliable support network, a valuable source of new ideas, and a powerful marketing force. The Art of Community will help you:

  • Develop a strategy, with specific objectives and goals, for building your community

  • Build simple, non-bureaucratic processes to help your community perform tasks, work together, and share successes

  • Provide tools and infrastructure that let contributors work quickly

  • Create buzz around your community to get more people involved

  • Track the community's work so it can be optimized and simplified

  • Explore a capable, representative governance strategy for your community

  • Identify and manage conflict, including dealing with divisive personalities

Table of Contents

  1. Dedication
  2. Special Upgrade Offer
  3. Foreword
  4. Preface
    1. Documenting the Undocumented
    2. Who Is This Book For?
    3. The Road Ahead
    4. If You Like (or Don’t Like) This Book
    5. License
    6. Join Our Community
    7. Typographical Conventions Used in This Book
    8. How to Contact O’Reilly
    9. Safari® Books Online
    10. Acknowledgments
  5. 1. The Art of Community
    1. Collaboration-Driven Ethos
    2. The Essence of Community
      1. Building Belonging into the Social Economy
    3. The Basis of Communication
    4. Unwrapping Opportunity
    5. A Community Manager: Becoming the Community
      1. Cracking Open the Personality
      2. Trust Is Everything
      3. The Value of Listening
      4. Avoid Ego, or Others Will Avoid You
      5. Theory Versus Action: Action Wins
      6. Becoming Yourself
    6. Moving Forward
  6. 2. Planning Your Community
    1. Planning for Success
      1. Community: The Bird’s-Eye View
    2. Teams: The Building Blocks of Belonging
      1. Finding Your Place
      2. Units of Belonging
      3. Read Versus Write
        1. Read-mostly communities
        2. Write-centered communities
      4. Meritocracy
      5. Working Together Is Success
      6. Diversity
    3. Designing Your Community
      1. Baking in Openness
      2. Building a Mission Statement
      3. Building a Strategic Plan
        1. Structuring the plan
    4. Filling Out the Plan
      1. Brainstorming Ideas
        1. Technique 1: Question assumptions
        2. Technique 2: Think outside the box
        3. Technique 3: Let’s make it suck
    5. Pulling Together the Threads
      1. Teams: Divide and Conquer
        1. Identify how we can divide our community into teams
        2. Define the scope of each team, and help team members understand that scope
        3. Understand the extent and range of collaboration between our teams
        4. Ensure that teams can communicate clearly and effectively
    6. Documenting Your Strategy
    7. Wrapping Up
  7. 3. Communicating Clearly
    1. He Said, She Said
    2. Building Your Communication Channels
      1. Striving for Clarity
      2. Choices, Choices
        1. Communication fetishism
      3. The Mediums
        1. Mailing lists
        2. Discussion forums
        3. IRC
    3. Leading by Example
      1. Daily Communication
        1. Netiquette
        2. Avoiding bikeshedding
      2. Longer Writing
        1. The mechanics of writing
        2. Don’t write like an institution
        3. Untwisting the tail
        4. Setting tone
        5. Inspiring your community
    4. Summary
  8. 4. Processes: Simple Is Sustainable
    1. Eyes on the Prize
      1. Keeping Things in Perspective
    2. Building Great Processes
      1. Breaking Up the Puzzle
        1. Building a process
      2. Process Considerations
        1. Simplicity is key
        2. Avoiding bureaucracy
        3. Transparency
    3. Assessing Needs
      1. Community Cycles
        1. Leading by example: Ubuntu
      2. The Gates of Your Community
      3. Assessing Contributors
        1. Reviewing new developers: In depth
      4. Managing Feedback
        1. Gathering feedback
    4. Getting Buy-In for Your Processes
      1. Document Them
      2. Make Them Easy to Find
      3. Using Your Processes
    5. Process Reassessment
      1. Building Regularity
    6. Moving On
  9. 5. Supporting Workflow with Tools
    1. Understanding Your Workflow
      1. Roles
      2. Building a Simple Workflow
      3. The Mechanics of Collaboration
      4. An Example: Ubuntu Bug Workflow
        1. Getting to know the problem
        2. Breaking down the conversation
        3. Lessons learned
    2. Building Great Infrastructure
      1. Software As a Service
    3. Avoiding Resource Fetishism
    4. Technical Considerations
      1. Bug Tracking
        1. Bug reporting
        2. Bug triage
      2. Source Control
      3. Collaborative Editing
    5. Building and Maintaining Transparency
      1. Tool Access
      2. Communications
      3. Reporting
    6. Regular Workflow Assessment
      1. Gathering Structured Feedback
    7. Moving On
  10. 6. Building Buzz
    1. Mindshare
      1. The Mindshare Opportunity
    2. The Building Blocks of Buzz
      1. The Mission
      2. Uniting Together
      3. Inspired Words
      4. Becoming the Advocate
      5. Getting It Right by Not Getting It Wrong
      6. Honesty
    3. Setting Up Your Base
      1. Aims
      2. Staying Current
      3. Building Conversation
      4. Getting Online
        1. Syndication
      5. Microblogging
    4. The Buzz Cycle
      1. Planning
      2. Buildup
      3. Announce
      4. Review
    5. Buzz Targets
      1. Announcing Your Community
        1. Applying the buzz cycle
      2. Attracting Contributors
        1. Applying the buzz cycle
    6. Building Alliances
      1. The Professional Press
      2. The Amateur Press
        1. Blogs
          1. Blog wars
        2. Podcasts
        3. Videos
    7. Summary
  11. 7. Measuring Community
    1. Community Self-Reflection
    2. The Foundations of Feedback
      1. Defining Purpose
    3. Hooks ’n’ Data
      1. Statistics and Automated Data
        1. The risks of interpretation
        2. Plugging your stats into graphs
      2. Surveys and Structured Feedback
        1. Choosing questions
        2. Showing off your survey reports
      3. Observational Tests
      4. Measuring Mechanics
      5. Gathering General Perceptions
        1. Perception of you
    4. Anonymity and Privacy
      1. Anonymity
      2. Privacy
    5. Moving On
  12. 8. Governance
    1. Accountability
    2. Governance Does Not Suck
    3. Governance and Community
    4. The Case for Governance
      1. Follow the Leader
      2. Engage the People
      3. Aspire to Inspire
      4. To Bring Peace
    5. Learning from the Leaders
      1. Dictatorial Charismatic Leadership
      2. Enlightened Dictatorship
      3. Delegated Governance
    6. Setting Up a Community Council
      1. Designing a Council
        1. Responsibilities
        2. Structure
        3. Commercial sponsorship
        4. Membership
        5. Communication
      2. Codifying Your Council
      3. Nominating and Electing Council Members
        1. Forming a new council
    7. Ubuntu Governance Example
      1. In the Beginning...
      2. The Structure of the Ubuntu Community
        1. Mark Shuttleworth
        2. Community Council
        3. Technical Board
        4. Team councils
      3. Membership
        1. Ubuntu Member
        2. Developer
        3. Council or Board Member
      4. Escalation
    8. Expanding Governance
      1. Knowing When It Is Time
      2. Building the Subcouncil
        1. Escalation
      3. Communicating Between Councils
    9. Summary
  13. 9. Handling Conflict
    1. The Nature of the Beast
      1. The Structure of Strife
    2. The Calm Before the Storm
      1. Contentious Personalities
        1. Profiling the polemical
        2. Poisonous people
      2. Barriers to Input
      3. Problems with Responsibility
      4. Lack of Justice
    3. The Conflict Resolution Process
      1. The Role of a Facilitator
        1. Be objective
        2. Be positive
        3. Be open
        4. Be clear
      2. Resolving the Conflict
        1. Part 1: Calm and reassure
          1. The fantastical user group debacle
        2. Part 2: Get the facts
          1. The fantastical user group debacle
        3. Part 3: Discuss
          1. The fantastical user group debacle
        4. Part 4: Document
          1. The fantastical user group debacle
        5. Part 5: Reflect and maintain
          1. The fantastical user group debacle
    4. Dealing with Burnout
      1. Detecting and Treating Burnout
        1. Required rest and relaxation
      2. Work/Life Balance
        1. Addiction
    5. Summary
  14. 10. Creating and Running Events
    1. Building Family Values
    2. Events
    3. Getting Organized
      1. Step 1: Identify Requirements
      2. Step 2: Find Help
      3. Step 3: Set Deadlines
      4. Step 4: Make Time
    4. Organizing Physical Events
      1. Common Attributes
        1. Location/venue
        2. Accommodation
        3. Equipment
        4. Date/time
        5. Cost
        6. Registering attendance
        7. Catering
        8. Insurance/unions
      2. Organizing a Sprint
        1. Additional notes
      3. Organizing a Summit
        1. Structure and scheduling
        2. Inside a session
        3. Event-specific notes
      4. Organizing an Unconference
        1. Event-specific notes
    5. Getting Sponsorship
      1. Understanding Your Needs
      2. Finding and Handling Sponsors
        1. Setting expectations
        2. The pitch
      3. Handling the Money
    6. Organizing Online Events
      1. Common Attributes
        1. Medium
          1. Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
          2. Voice over IP (VoIP)
          3. Virtual worlds
        2. Date/time
      2. Online Discussion Meetings
        1. Choosing a time
        2. Advertising the meeting
        3. Setting the agenda
        4. Running the meeting
      3. Organizing Online Tutorials
        1. Scheduling
        2. Preparing for a session
        3. Running a session
        4. Event-specific notes
    7. Summary
  15. 11. Hiring a Community Manager
    1. Why Community Building Has Become a Big Business
    2. The Role of a Community Manager in the Corporation
      1. Setting Expectations
      2. Scope of the Role
      3. Risk
      4. Breaking Tradition
      5. Control and Reporting
        1. The ability to enact change
      6. The Responsibilities of Community Engagement
      7. Salary
      8. Communicating Expectations to the Candidate
    3. Managing Your Community Manager
      1. Induction
        1. Internal reputation
        2. Community reputation
      2. Strategy
      3. Management and Communications
        1. Weekly engagements
        2. Community feedback
    4. Summary
    5. End of Part One
  16. Index
  17. About the Author
  18. Colophon
  19. Special Upgrade Offer
  20. Copyright