Community antipatterns

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  • 1. CommunityAnti-patternsDave NearyNeary Consultingdave@neary-consulting.com
  • 2. “Good artists copy, great artists steal” Pablo Picasso
  • 3. Cargo cults
  • 4. Community anti-patterns: Best Practices Run Amok
  • 5. Cookie licker
  • 6. Symptoms● Community member volunteers for tasks● Progress reports are infrequent & vague ● “Im working on a draft” ● “Its nearly ready to go”● When its suggested someone takes over, the task owner resists ● “Ill make time next week” ● “Ive almost finished”
  • 7. Causes● Desire to have things done well● Best community members always over-commit● Truly believes they can make time● Once committed, handing off task is admitting failure
  • 8. Treatment● Set deadlines on tasks, and reassign when they run over● Make failure OK
  • 9. HelpVampire
  • 10. TreatmentGood newbie docsEncourage recent newbies to answernewbie questionsTeach newcomers how to search foranswers
  • 11. See also: RTFM
  • 12. Command and Control
  • 13. Symptoms● Joint Copyright Assignment● All committers from one company● No public roadmap, unannounced features arrive regularly
  • 14. Justification● Have a company to run● We need to own the code for our business model● The company paid for it, we should be special● Community contributions are small anyway
  • 15. Treatment● Define policies for community access to project resources● Public roadmap process● Exchange influence for control
  • 16. Headless chicken
  • 17. Bikeshed
  • 18. Leadership
  • 19. Mob rule
  • 20. Beware Dunbars Number
  • 21. How do your communitymembers self-identify?
  • 22. Culture of Doing
  • 23. AvoidSmokeFilledRooms
  • 24. TheWaterCooler
  • 25. Fear ofcommunity
  • 26. Work in a glasshouse
  • 27. Open Design !=Design by Committee
  • 28. Black Hole
  • 29. “Ironically, since I started working onSyncEvolution full-time beginning of thisyear, I seem to have *less* time leftcompared to the previous years when Idid it in my spare time" Patrick Ohly“Im too busy to spend time answeringquestions on the mailing list” OpenWengo developer
  • 30. Treatment● Ensure “doing things in the open” is part of the job description● Train managers & engineers in community development● Document who is doing what publicly – and explicitly leave some thing on the roadmap clearly marked “Not us”
  • 31. Broken window
  • 32. Symptoms● Off-topic/bikeshed threads on mailing list● Wiki vandalism/decreased article quality● IRC Signal to Noise ratio decreases
  • 33. Treatment● Document Best Practices● Remind offenders early● Spread policing load around
  • 34. Broken record
  • 35. “Im the bad guy??? How did thathappen? I did everything theytold me to.” Michael Douglas, Falling Down
  • 36. Treatment: Dont be that guy! (A gentle reminder is usually enough)
  • 37. Final thought:Communities are emotional places
  • 38. Community goal:Create a fun, friendly environment where people feel safe sharing
  • 39. Thank you! Dave Neary dneary@gnome.org dave@neary-consulting.com