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

From: Tim tim at samoff.com
Date: Sat Feb 21 17:03:05 EET 2009

On Sat, 21 Feb 2009 14:45:37 +0100, Jeremiah Foster

> I think the most effective community management comes out  
> of the community organically, Nokia cannot just add money and suddenly  
> there is community, it has to be driven by developers, people who want  
> to do stuff on the maemo platform.

I think you are completely correct with this assessment. But, there are a
couple of "traditional" issues that must be tackled first:

1. Companies can't just create a community and expect it to grow and
sustain just on the efforts of the community members (this is a very
'outdated' _myth_ that I've had the displeasure of living through too many

2. Money will definitely not improve an already successful community...

EXCEPT when channeled into community-oriented projects (e.g., conferences,
community development, community employees, etc.). This is my belief (and,
I think it has been proven a few times over by various social networks --
and even maemo.org!

The question, then (as Quim has been saying), is where should the money go?

Maemo is already a fabulous community. And, Maemo SW is probably one of the
most proactive and generative sponsors I have ever experienced in a
community like this.

But, when community members become restless or disgruntled for some reason,
someone needs to be able to step in as proxy for the sponsor (whether
company-paid or not). This person (or people) need to feel like they both
have the time and resources to act on these matters and are trusted and
supported by the sponsoring party.

The only way I've ever seen this happen is when the person _is_ paid to do
it. But, I'd love to be proven wrong! ;)

As I said previously, I'd like to see the community council take on a lot
of these roles, but... As Quim (and others) have said, someone in this
position may need to be a Nokia employee (for various NDA reasons).

The questions remains: Does maemo.org need someone like this? Or, do some
roles/responsibilities need to be reevaluated for current maemo.org
employees? Or, does Nokia need to do something about it? Or...

Are we doing just fine. :)



<jeremiah at jeremiahfoster.com> wrote:
> On Feb 20, 2009, at 5:36 PM, Tim wrote:
>> Hi,
>> On Thu, 19 Feb 2009 09:42:36 +0200, Quim Gil <quim.gil at nokia.com>  
>> wrote:
>>> 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.
>> I brought this up for two reasons: (1) it's on my mind (some of you  
>> know
>> why); (2) I heard some moaning from developers who feel that they  
>> still are
>> not getting enough "Nokia" support in dealing with some "community"  
>> issues
>> (or, presumed community issues). Developers are really the ones who  
>> will
>> need to address these concerns (since I am not a developer).
> I have heard some specific complaints as well. Namely the debian based  
> tools in maemo are old. debhelper for example is version 5.x and Lenny  
> (Stable debian) has debhelper 7. I think developers would like the  
> maemo platform to more closely track debian in terms of updated build  
> tools.
> It is unclear to me whose direct responsibility it is for the maemo  
> build tools. Is this controlled by Nokia?
>> On a non-technical community management level, I am a very happy Maemo
>> community member. I really do think that the maemo.org team and  
>> several
>> Maemo SW people are doing a great job of community management. But,  
>> as I
>> was thinking about the roles/responsibilities of an official community
>> manager, I couldn't help but interject some non-technical items into  
>> the
>> description. And, as I stated before, I'm not a fan of expecting  
>> people
>> with "official" responsibilities to take on additional tasks that may
>> interfere with a work/life balance.
>> BUT... As I now realize, "community management" tasks _are_ part of  
>> the
>> "official" responsibilities (something I assumed, but was not sure  
>> of). In
>> this case, all is good...until other important issues are neglected  
>> due to
>> overwhelming community management work. This, unfortunately, is  
>> where the
>> tipping point idea steps in -- and, when Nokia may have to spend  
>> some time
>> thinking about who might take up the slack.
> This is a hard problem. It is also a new problem because large  
> corporations do not traditionally engage in this type of open source,  
> or rather Free Software, development. Where the lines need to be drawn  
> and resources assigned is fluid and difficult to efficiently  
> determine. I think the most effective community management comes out  
> of the community organically, Nokia cannot just add money and suddenly  
> there is community, it has to be driven by developers, people who want  
> to do stuff on the maemo platform.
> I don't want to pretend I know the answer here, but the discussion  
> sure is fascinating.
> Jeremiah
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