Having now gotten more or less back in the swing of things after my longish holiday, I hope to clear aside some of the day-to-day, in-the-trenches sorts of things I frequently find myself working on and devote some more time and thought to the bigger picture with regard to community. It will pay first to establish some very high level goals for the Flock community. I think they should include improving the product, helping users with the software, and promoting the product. Each of these top-tier goals can be broken down into a number of secondary-tier actions, each of which can be broken down into projects. Outlined below you’ll find a first draft listing of some of these second-tier actions for each top-tier goal. What am I missing here? Or for that matter, am I missing any obvious top-tier goals? Later, we’ll get into more detailed planning. For now, I want to make sure I’ve got the big picture more or less pegged, and I’d like your help. Please comment here or email me at daryl at flock.com withou your thoughts on the outline draft.
Improve the Product
Improving the product from a community standpoint includes (at least) the following:
- Helping volunteer developers contribute to our core source code.
- Helping extension developers learn the platform.
- Putting artists and developers together to make extensions fit with our brand and generally have more polish.
- Giving the L10n community tools to facilitate their work.
- Helping theme developers produce good Flock themes.
- Training people to help write good bug reports and otherwise contribute to QA.
Most users off the street have a very limited focus. They want to know what Flock is, what advantage it provides, and how to get help when they’re having problems. To that end, we should make sure we take care of our users in the following ways:
- Clearly communicate Flock’s purpose (e.g., explain why we’re not just a bunch of extensions)
- Make sure they know where to go for different types of info
- Wiki for documentation/dev questions
- Forums for community interaction and some bug reports
- Feeds for news
- Mailing lists for updates/interaction
- Extend for themes/extensions/etc. We should try to help users figure out what extensions are going to work best for them. Grandma probably doesn’t need to be directed to the web developer extension, nice as it is.
- IRC for camaraderie and interaction with dev crew
- Bugzilla for savvy users who want to know about product status and particular bugs
- Bleeding edge resources such as tinderbox builds
- Provide friendly tech support, both community-driven and company-driven (?)
Promote the Product
As our product matures, we’ll want to leverage the community to help promote it. Promotion includes not only spreading positive word about the product but reacting sanely and politely to bad PR about Flock. We should provide tools to facilitate both behaviors:
- Call attention to good and bad PR for appropriate response.
- Introduce the product to new users.
- Reintroduce new versions of the product to old users and convince them to try it out.
- Provide freeish advertising (swag, artwork, banners, blogging, etc.).
To the extent possible, all behaviors on community members’ parts to help achieve these goals should be rewarded or recognized. Coming up with a non-spammable and meaningful way of doing this is a task for another day.