I was invited to represent the Joomla! Project at the first ECLS event, which was organised in collaboration with LinuxTag to be held at Station-Berlin on 9th May in Germany during the LinuxTag event. I was also invited to speak about some of the work I'm involved with in my role on the Joomla! Community Leadership Team.
There were representatives from a wide range of communities including Joomla!, Typo3, ownCloud, KDE, Suse, GoTo Berlin and many more.
Most of those attending the event were community managers, community leaders or involved with working groups or projects which had a community angle. While most were from open source projects, there were also some who were involved in proprietary projects which have dual licenses – so they release an open source version as well as a proprietary version.
Managing conflict in open source communities
There were four presentations during the event, I started the proceedings with a talk around my work analysing the Joomla Code of Conduct and reviewing how we deal with conflict within the Joomla Community and leadership teams. The talk prompted a good deal of conversation around the area, with representatives from different projects sharing how they have historically dealt with the issue of poor conduct and negative conflict, and what approach worked well in their communities. It was very helpful to hear how other projects manage this within their communities, and has certainly given me some great ideas to bring to the table within the Joomla community.
Governance in open source communities
The next talk built upon the management of conflict by exploring governance in open source communities and whether rules or guidelines should be written down – it's a double edged sword, as presenters Jos Poortvliet and Mirko Boehm explained. Having rules written down can be really helpful for newcomers as they know what is expected and how to engage with your project, but they can also be restrictive and stifle creativity.
Community management is not about your ego ...
Next up was Dajana Gunther who spoke about the importance of understanding that being a community manager or leader is not about massaging your own ego, but understanding your community and their relationship to your product or project, and being a conduit for developing these relationships. We were encouraged to drop some of the traits exhibited by the 'ugly squid' and take up some of the more positive and helpful traits of the 'happy squid' when managing and leading our communities.
Metrics in open source communities
Finally we had a really fascinating presentation from Jesus M. Gonzales-Borahana from Bitergia who explained that communities often have a huge amount of data which could provide much-needed insight into numerous metrics, but we don't realise the data is available, or have the tools to explore and understand our community. Jesus presented Metrics Grimoire, an open source data metrics package available on Github which allows you to analyse information from your development repositories, bug tracking systems, forums, comments and more to get an understanding of the health of your community.
We were shown examples where projects including Puppet and other popular Open Source software were able to identify developing issues around losing experienced developers, changes in the average number of iterations required before patches were accepted, and how the times for different stages in issue tracking changed as a result of changes in the structure of teams managing issues.
The software could potentially provide a real insight into the health of the community and may well be something to explore for use within the Joomla community in the future.
The event concluded with an informal discussion around dealing with community growth and how to develop more opportunities for community managers and leaders to come together more often to share their ideas, knowledge and inspiration.
It was most definitely a beneficial event to be a part of, and it is hoped that next year will bring the opportunity for a two day unconference-style event similar to those already operated in the United States alongside the OSCON event in Portland, Oregon.
- Joomla! Community Leadership Team
- Joomla Marketing Working Group & User Group Team Member
- Community manager for ownCloud
- KDE Marketing Working Group
- SUSE contributor
- CEO Endocode
- Open Innovation Network
- KDE contributor
- Researching Open Source at Berlin University
- Community manager for GoTo Berlin Conference & GoTo Nights
- Ruby Berlin eV Board Member
- Rails Girls Berlin organiser
Jesus M Gonzalez-Borahana
- Metrics Grimoire
- Viz Grimoire