Re: community managers

On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM, Dave Neary <dneary gnome org> wrote:

Hi Sri,

On 11/13/2012 12:17 AM, Sriram Ramkrishna wrote:
But I am looking for some good people who can fill the role of community
manager.  Clearly, we have a problem relating to our user base and some
of the decisions have become more controversial than it needs to be.

Just for the sake of clarity, it sounds like you're suggesting an unpaid volunteer position to co-ordinate the promotion, website maintenance and "welcome committee" for the GNOME project. Is that correct?

Not really.  I'm suggesting an unpaid volunteer position to talk to users on various forums like, slashdot, reddit, google+ and so forth. 

There are common themes and complaints  that seem to come up over and over again and I would like volunteers to at least filter these complaints legitimate or otherwise.

As a project, we are having trouble communicating our vision because everything gets lost in a sea of vitriol due to past actions or perceived actions.  For instance, removing fallback is seen as yet again the GNOME project is removing a feature instead of an act of maintenance and sustainability.

The constant negativity can cost us users and we need to take that seriously.  In the past, we could ignore it because it was the default desktop of Ubuntu which has fairly large marketshare.  But now it's a little harder and we need to strengthen our brand or risk weakening it.  We do not have data either way, so we should be paranoid all the same.

I like the idea of having some people who give more time to marketing and the other tasks. Not sure it would be called a community manager in the context of GNOME, and certainly I don't think that a GNOME community manager would be quite so invested with authority as Dawn Foster was for MeeGo and Tizen, for example.

It's a little different than Meego and Tizen.  There is definitely some authority.  But that doesn't mean we can't have something similar.  After all, GNOME design doesn't have any authority but is able to convince maintainers that doing their approach is best for their application.

We can apply a similar structure but between release team, design and community manager team.

It won't be easy, culturally like every other open source project we like to do what we want as we see fit.  Nothing wrong with that, but as the project gets larger we do need to make sure that we are listening to community concerns and avoid needless conflicts.

Release team and designers of course will be free to accept or not accept what we hear.  But at least there will be able to get a sanitized feedback rather than what we have today which is designing within a bubble without any idea how things are being perceived in the general community.


Let me know if you are interested.  I will make a similar note on
foundation list.

Perhaps this kind of marketing role is something which could be fulfilled by the GNOME Foundation? We've paid for interns before, but a longer term full-time position under the ED would allow for us to structure our efforts, take care of all those "no-one is giving it time and love" stuff we all agree needs to get done... it is "only" a question of money, I think.

We can do interns, but I have had a number of people already interested in doing what I'm envisioning.  It's no different than what they are already doing today but they have the power at their descretion to use the royal "we" as opposed to "I".  (which I sometimes I use for particular people who I am interested in hearig feedback from)
I don't know if we'll have success finding one individual to take on all that responsibility as a part-time unpaid volunteer. Perhaps a group working together could do it... Or a paid individual.

I'm envisioning a team of 10 volunteers.  10 volunteers who start out as community managers and then hopefully will be interested in doing other things within the project.

I currently have four as of right now.  Need to recruit six more!


Dave Neary, Lyon, France
Email: dneary gnome org
Jabber: nearyd gmail com

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