Lessons from a diverse group of people who develop communities rather than code
Every BSD community member wonders at some point, "why does our community go so unrecognized?"
For some the answer is "don't change a thing" while others feel that wider exposure is essential for recruiting developers and funding the projects.
A Community Leadership Summit is just about the best place to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly in communities and to constructively explore how to foster the good and avoid the others. Now in its fourth year and held annually the weekend before OSCON, the CLS unites such a diverse group people from both technical and non-technical communities that you can have an informed conversation about virtually any issue that your project faces. Remarkably, while the technical project members will converse the most efficiently with one another, the solutions to their concerns will often come from members of non-technical projects. Developers trying to solve development issues easily run the risk of treating people like code: occasionally containing bugs and requiring deletion. This is a mistake considering that software development is a social activity and that every contributor represents countless potential future contributions.
That idea may be easy to dismiss but consider that no one was born a developer or a good community member. People are grown by their parents, parental figures, teachers, mentors and peers and as we all know, some of the best lessons come from the least-expected sources. While this makes for an educational system that is frequently mismatched with the needs of its customers, it also represents our lifelong personal development. We're all on personal journeys from the same point A to countless point B's and extremely few people genuinely lack the capacity for personal growth.
In short, confront your personal and project shortcomings that are holding your project back and be ready to confront community members about their shortcomings that are about to get them deleted from the project.
As they say, "Pobody's Nerfect".
Do try to attend a Community Leadership Summit at OSCON or one of the other venues that are cropping up.
Copyright © 2011 – 2014 Michael Dexter unless specified otherwise. Feedback and corrections welcome.