What should a community manager do?

Rod Whitby rod at whitby.id.au
Sun Oct 12 04:48:31 CEST 2008

Joel Newkirk wrote:
> On Sun, 12 Oct 2008 07:35:12 +1030, Rod Whitby <rod at whitby.id.au> wrote:
>> Anyone who has the mindset of "this is broken, how can I fix it?" is a
>> developer.
>> 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.
> There's also a distinctly grey area that might be exemplified by
> 'application developer' - someone who develops software for the platform,
> but expects the underlying infrastructure to be stable and complete, and
> instability or incompleteness to be resolved 'upstream' at OM, or by
> whomever has produced the distribution of their choice.  Effectively they
> are of the 'user mindset' with regard to the core system (both kernelspace
> and core functionality in userspace), but of the 'developer mindset' with
> regard to everything sitting on top of it. (general userspace)

Very good point.  Just like kernel developers are "users" when thinking
about the hardware ...

> WRT your final point, we already have the 'Support' mailinglist - my
> impression is that the intent of that list (not necessarily the actual
> usage though) is as a place for the 'user' to go when seeking answers and
> fixes, rather than seeking to involve themselves in the actual quest for
> those answers and fixes.

Indeed, the trouble is there is a third list "community" which muddies
the waters between "devel" and "support", and the five word descriptions
on lists.openmoko.org don't give people enough guidance on which list to
use for what.  Nor is there a community manager who is consistently and
politely but firmly requiring people to use the correct lists ...

-- Rod

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