[maemo-community] Discussion about Maemo community management...

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Thu Feb 19 09:42:36 EET 2009

ext Dave Neary wrote:
> Hi,
> Ian wrote:
>>> I actually can't find any community manager in the communities / social
>>> networks I'm part of. Yet many of them are quite vibrant, based on
>>> common goals and using efficient tools.
>> Dunno if you have signed the ubuntu code of conduct but anyway...what
>> about mako and now jono's work as community manager?
>> Some very recent examples:
>> http://www.jonobacon.org/2009/02/13/the-docs-were-indeed-rocked/
>> http://www.jonobacon.org/2009/02/14/ready-to-jam/

Maybe it's a coincidence, but I also have my opinions about signing
codes of conduct.  :)  Search the GNOME foundation-list archives if you
are really <del>interested</del>bored.  ;)

> Presumably Quim doesn't think of himself as part of the Ubuntu community.

I'm a happy Ubuntu user but I'm not involved in the day to day of the
Ubuntu community anymore (busy times, mobile focus, etc). But let's go
to the point.

Yes, I know Jono - and Mako. Actually Jono's position was open by the
time I was looking for a job and I looked at it...

What all this is almost irrelevant. What matters is:

If the Maemo community wants to have a Maemo community manager in the
maemo.org team you just need to decide yourselves and get one. Nokia is
funding 4 positions at the moment and it's up to you to decide who fills
them doing what.

So this is not about you convincing me or Nokia but you convincing
yourselves and acting accordingly.

If the Maemo community manager needs to be a Nokia employee, then at the
moment I'm the first candidate in the row. Just let me know what are you
missing and what can be improved and I will reorganize my tasks
accordingly (agreeing that with my own team, of course).

If the Maemo community management tasks can be split in maemo.org
'liberated' contributors, pure community volunteers and Nokia employees,
then let's discuss what are the tasks and goals, and how to share them.

> A small mind test: how many developers within a company, working on a
> company sponsored free software project, will continue working on the
> project after being laid off? In my experience: 0.

In our case, the test applies not only to Nokia employees but also to
the liberated maemo.org guys. It's easier to trust an excellent
bugmaster like Andre as soon as he is hired since his expertise is
clear: dealing with bugs. If one day he gets a better job and disappears
from the Maemo community... most people will understand.

With a community manager things might be more difficult since a lot of
the work has to do with commitment and emotions. Imagine an efficient
community manager of e.g. Android now being hired as part of the
maemo.org team and one year later moving to Intel trying to engage the
Moblin community...

Big egos are another problem, since a community manager has a lot of
personal exposure. Finding the right balance for the personality needed
to engage people without falling to uninspiring levels or getting an ego
overdose is not easy.

One way to avoid both problems is to share community management
responsibilities among community members, in a way that nobody is
essential and can drop or become mad at any time without harming the
project and the sustainability of the community.

And I like the way we have all this set up now, even if some things are
not as efficient as they could be with a single and well identified
community manager.

Quim Gil
open source advocate
Maemo Software @ Nokia

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