What should a community manager do?

Rod Whitby rod at whitby.id.au
Sat Oct 11 23:05:12 CEST 2008

Risto H. Kurppa wrote:
> I also want to remind that community is not limited to the developers.
> It should also include all users that can be used to create marketing
> events and material, generate new ideas and test software and report
> bugs.

I like to think of the distinction between users and developers as a
mindset difference rather than a difference in skills or ability.

A user just wants to use the device, gets angry when things don't work
as advertised, and expects support from the company that sold them the
device.  There's nothing wrong with that, by the way.

A developer sees something that is not working properly as an
opportunity to step in and try and fix it.  If given the environment and
accessibility to do so, they will often go as far as fixing it
themselves and contributing the fix directly into the source base.

Note that I make no distinction between code, doco, bug reports,
marketing material, fonts, UI elements, wiki pages, etc when talking
about developers.

Anyone who has the mindset of "this is broken, how can I fix it?" is a

Anyone who has the mindset of "this is broken, I expect it to be fixed
by someone else right now!" is a user.

The community will have both (and often a single person will be one or
the other depending on what type of day they are having in real life),
but you really do need areas in the community (like a developers mailing
list) where the "user" mindset is simply not acceptable.  To do this
without disrepecting your users, you also need areas where the "user"
mindset is fully accepted and responded to with excellent support.

-- Rod

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