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From Leo Simons <m...@leosimons.com>
Subject Re: Community readiness-when does it show?
Date Wed, 24 Jun 2009 08:59:54 GMT
On Tue, Jun 23, 2009 at 11:08 PM, Martijn Dashorst
<martijn.dashorst@gmail.com> wrote:
> If a community meets all the criteria, but hasn't discovered a new
> committer (or two) by itself, is the community ready for graduation?

Potentially, yes. Likely, no :-)

> If not, how can we—mentors— nudge the community to focus on this
> thing, without it becoming an exercise in "checking the check marks"?

You can do something like this every quarter or so:
---
To: $podling-private@incubator.apache.org
Subject: any new committer material?
(...)
Has anybody identified any contributors that they think might be ready
for committer-ship? Also are there any people you imagine might be
ready "soon" if they continue their current contributions?
(...)
---

Really no need to refer to obligation or process or checkboxes.

Simply asking the question will make people think about it. For many
developers its still a bit of scary thought that they have to evaluate
others in this way, but it is something you learn quickly. In my
experience the first time you try this, the "apache newbies" in the
group usually won't really speak up, but among mentors you can still
have those kinds of conversations on the mailing list. Teach through
example.

I distinctly remember a thread along those lines on the harmony
mailing list every other month or so, and I'd say that it worked very
well.

Come to think of it, I think harmony started with _just_ mentors on
the PPMC, and no other committers. That worked out well -- because the
community got into a pattern of growth immediately -- just about
everyone on the PPMC got there by explicitly getting voted onto it.

Another thing that can work is to "lower the barrier" and try and
allow for the babiest of steps. For example you could have a
ppmc-private potential-committer-watchlist.txt file in SVN which
people can edit to add their thoughts on who is "worth watching",
which is a bit less of a statement than "ooh this person should become
a committer" so its easier to say. You'll probably quickly see a
"piling on" where other people will agree with such thoughts, slowly
dissipating the vacuum and re-inforcing each others confidence in
people.

Of course, you do need active contributors in the first place to add
in. The evangelism and outreach parts of community building take more
effort. I like to follow the "Henri school of community building" --
most important is to talk about what you're doing. You might even want
to do what feels like over-talk. Example:

http://blog.generationjava.com/roller/bayard/entry/first-work-of-the-vacation-commons-cli-12

Write things in blogs, in comments on blogs, in forums, on twitter, on
community mailing lists, on your own mailing lists. Etc etc.

Encouraging "outreach" behavior is harder, and I think the people that
do it really well are also rare. Harmony as an example again had some
very active mentors that did a lot of that stuff, and the community
watched and adopted the successful behavior. Wicket was fortunate
enough to have a very energetic leader already and so I think it
didn't really much nudging :-)

sorry for the rant I hope it helps you anyway :-)

cheers,

- Leo

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