David Eaves thinks that community leadership is *the* core, make-or-break competency of an open-source software project. I agree.
He shares a story that illustrates a pattern I’ve rarely seen in the Plone community, and hope to continue not seeing. 😉
One of the key ideas Iâ€™m interested in pushing is how â€œopenâ€ open
source communities are – and how they can make themselves easier to
join. I actually had an interesting experience while at FSOSS that
highlighted how subtle this challenge can be.
During one of the lunch breaks Mark Surman and I ran a Birds of a Feather
session on Community Management as the Core Competency of Open Source
Communities. In the lead up to the session, a leader of a prominent
open source community (I knew this because it said so on his name tag)
walked up to me and asked:
â€œAre you running this BoF?â€ (Birds of a Feather)
Not being hip to the lingo I repliedâ€¦ â€œWhatâ€™s a BoF? Iâ€™m not super techie so I donâ€™t know all the terms.â€
To which he replied â€œEvidently.â€ and walked away.
And thus ended my first contact with this particular open source
community. With its titular leader nonetheless. Needless to say, it
didnâ€™t leave a positive impression.
At some point everyone has to have a first contact with a community –
that first impression may be a strong determinant about where they
volunteer their time and contribute their free labour. Any good
open-source community will probably want to get it right.