community, flock

Request for Feedback: Community Goals

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.

Help Users
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.

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13 thoughts on “Request for Feedback: Community Goals

  1. Hi Daryl:

    I’m pretty excited about the promotion part. Most of the time I use Firefox due to its functionality right now. Flock is an excellent product and will get even better as it evolves into new upgrades.

    Can you tell us what plans do you have regarding, banners, PR campaings, artworks, blogging. etc.

    I just posted an article about Flock a few days ago, in an effort to keep people in contact with Flock. Very little is read in Blogosphere.

    If possible, I would like to volunteer part of my time to promote Flock. Please let me know how. I speak and write Spanish very well which could help you guys promoting Flock to users South of the border. Just an idea.

    Regards,

    Omar.-

  2. Hi, Omar. Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, not much is planned yet with respect to banners, pr, artwork, etc. The emphasis to date has been on getting a semi-stable product out the door. Once we’ve got something we’re almost comfortable having non-savvy users download, we’ll start more formal planning for a promotion strategy. I imagine much of what we’ll do will seem familiar to those who’ve been involved with the spreadfirefox.com campaign (three of its original founders are on the Flock team), taking lessons from what’s been good and bad about that campaign. Hopefully we can innovate a bit as well. As for volunteering, if you haven’t done it yet, head over to http://lists.flock.com/mailman/listinfo/spread and sign up for that list. I’ll blog about any future promotion effort, but I also plan to announce to that list, for the benefit of those who don’t necessarily want to keep up with my blog but would like to hear about developments. Thanks again for your feedback!

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  5. Hi there,

    I like Flock because of the ease of blogging. I use Foxfire for StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us and Flock for blogging. Keep up the great work. I am considering adding Flock buttons to my blogs.

    thanks,
    sapphoq

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