Community is an incredibly important part of making a project like the Flock browser successful. We bill ourselves as the social browser, after all, so it’d be downright hypocritical of us not to reach out to our users and to facilitate, well, sociability. Further, we’ve already had a bunch of contributions from community members, and we anticipate many more.
(A brief aside here for some credit where it’s due: As blogged by Bart, we’ve already got localization files, some extensions ports, and some nifty buttons courtesy of some great early adopters such as Mark Sahawneh, ehoffmann, and forum members ademalp and e-gandalf. There are many others who haven’t even hit my radar, of course, and others who’re active on the mailing lists and in the forums. These contributions are extremely important as well, no less so for being a little less visible, and I aim to find some creative ways to reward standout members of these communities.)
Right now, our community story is filled with gaps, and I think there’s probably a fair amount of confusion about where to go for what sort of information, how to contribute back to Flock, etc. We’re going to start filling these gaps soon. In fact, I’ve taken off my developer hat and put on the community hat to lead the effort full-time. If you have a question about or suggestion for building community, I’m the guy to talk to. In the next few days, I plan to publish a community roadmap so that everybody’ll know what’s on the horizon and on what sort of timeframe (or at least in roughly what order). In the mean time, my top priority is engaging with the community. I’ve spent a lot of time responding to forum queries and have been swapping email on the flockstars list. I also plan to be more attentive to the #flock channel at irc.flock.com. Pop in and say hi when you can. If you have a question or comment and can’t get up with me in any of these other places, feel free to email me at daryl at flock.com (no Viagara or real estate offers, please). I’m eager to hear feedback about what specifically would be useful to you as a Flock community member.
Once I get the roadmap written, it’ll still take some time to implement the things it describes. In the (hopefully) short term, here are some ways in which you can participate:
- Volunteer to help! Bear in mind that even volunteer coordination takes time and effort. You may not get an immediate response, but by using this form, you’ll help us match the best people to given volunteer projects as they arise.
- Submit bugs. This is the best way to report problems with the browser. It’s very helpful to us if you do a quick search to see if your bug has already been submitted (if so, please add comments to an existing bug rather than creating a duplicate). If you find bugzilla intimidating, you can use our simpler feedback form, but don’t expect a quick response, as we’ve currently got one guy sifting through these reports. Whether we’re able to respond right away or not, we greatly appreciate your taking the time to give us feedback.
- Join the forums, where Flock users get together to discuss the browser, talk about (and sometimes find workarounds for) bugs they’ve encountered, and get aquainted with other Flockers. Our staff’s keeping a few eyes on the forums, but the focus of the forums is communicating with other Flock users. This is your playground and probably isn’t the best way to try to communicate directly to those holed up at Flock HQ.
- Check out the wiki. We’re still ironing out the relationship between the wiki and the forums. For now, this is a good place to post (and read) user-contributed FAQs, banner graphics etc.
- Join an IRC chat. Channels you should usually be able to find Flock staff in include these:
- Join mailing lists:
Things that I imagine will be pretty weighted pretty heavily on the roadmap include extension developer tools, figuring out the relationship between the wiki and the forums, empowering users to help us improve our product in various ways, and getting swag out there for our supporters.
Speaking of swag, I’ll mail a Flock tee-shirt and a couple of stickers to the first person to blog a screenshot of himself or herself using Flock’s blog editor to post an entry linking to this one. If you’re the first to leave me a comment with a link to your entry, I’ll be in touch asap. Happy flocking.