The Open Web
Oct 29, 2009
Managing the Unmanageable, or: Community Building 101
By Alexandra Leisse.
Nearly every software project relies on its community for feedback, bug reports and word-of-mouth advertising. Unfortunately, having a strong user base does not automatically lead to a strong and successful community.
How can you turn users into contributors? How can you avoid negative publicity? How can you deal with controversial opinions? How can you build a strong team from people spread over various timezones? How can you ensure that diversity is beneficial instead of harmful?
How can you turn your project into a welcoming place?
These are the questions nearly every project runs into when it starts growing. It becomes more complex when smaller projects integrate into a larger community like Gnome and KDE or those around Linux distributions: they will have to compete for contributions against the bigger and maybe more appealing sub-projects and tie new members to their base.
This presentation will give an introduction to the basic rules of community building, look at internal processes of communities, show you tools that help you manage your project's perception and provide you with resources on the subject.
Alexandra left one stage to enter another and turn her second passion - Free and Open Source Software - into a profession. After a transition period of 12 months of freelancing both in Software and opera, she joined Nokia, Qt Development Frameworks as Web Community Manager. She has gained her considerable expertise in community building and interaction by supporting KDE - KOffice in particular - and other Qt related projects and is considered a natural talent in her field. Alexandra lives with her husband and son in Cologne and rents a tiny appartment for herself in Oslo. In her sparetime, she enjoys slow days with her family and fast races on her sailing boat.