FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Brian Proffitt & Jeremy Garcia

For those of you who missed the talks live or on the livestream of the FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom, my co-chair, Laura, and I are doing some follow up posts on each talk to bring you the video and the highlights of each presentation. Before you read this post, you might want to check out Brian Proffitt and Jeremy Garcia’s pre-event speaker interviews. (And you can find previous recap posts linked at the end of this one!)

Brian Proffitt: Media 101 for Communities

While Brian is also a social media maven, the focus of his talk at FOSDEM was on relationships with “traditional media” – reporters for various print and online publications. His talk has several succinct tips for ensuring your press relations activities are successful, plus he’s entertaining so it’s well worth watching the whole video.

Here are three highlights for doing media outreach for your project:

  • Set the scene for your announcement in a larger context. If the reporter cares about industry trends, for example, explain how your project news fits into that trend or goes against it for specific reasons.
  • Understand that a reporter may not write a story about you after your first briefing or even a few briefings. Your goal is to establish rapport and build a relationship. Coverage will come later if the reporter still takes your calls.
  • Make sure your press contact details are easy to find on your project website. If a reporter wants to write about your announcement but cannot figure out where to go to get questions answered, they won’t write about it. Ditto for making it easy to get your software; many tech reporters want to try something out before they write about it.

I asked Brian if there was anything else he wanted to share with folks about media training, and he let me know he missed one point in his talk that he wanted to add:

“Sometimes a story will come out after a big interview that seems to barely touch on the points you wanted to make. This is okay, as sometimes a reporter is more looking for context for another, larger story. As long as you take the high road and aren’t negative with your comments, then any time you can set yourself up as a thought leader is a good thing.”

Watching Brian’s talk reminded me of a press training for open source projects talk I attended once upon a time, so if you’re interested in learning even more beyond Brian’s presentation, check out this blog post.

You may also enjoy my notes from Brian’s talk in these Tweets.

And, while you’re at it, follow Brian on Twitter: @TheTechScribe

Jeremy Garcia:

Your Open Source Community Metrics Should Be Tracking

More than Code

 

Jeremy’s talk introduced a new(ish) open source project, Measure, which is a contributor relationship management system. The core idea behind the project is to keep track of the details about the humans contributing to your project. For example, it is terrific to know that Jane regularly submits pull requests to your project, but it may be even more terrific to know, automagically, that she has not submitted in PR in a week or two; that may be a great time to send her a polite email and check to see if she’s doing OK or if contributing to the project no longer makes sense for her – and why that might be the case.

Jeremy’s talk has plenty of useful advice for those working on community metrics, but he kicked off with this gem; figure out what your community goals are before you start to measure, otherwise your metrics won’t tell you anything useful.

The Measure project’s 1.0 release was cut shortly after FOSDEM, and the maintainers are actively looking for contributions from other developers, testers, etc. They love user feedback and would also love help choosing another name for the project if you have suggestions. (Email notifications will be added to the next release, which I cannot wait to check out!)

You can find Measure on GitHub: https://github.com/MeasureOSS/

I recommend checking out the full video of Jeremy’s talk, as the demo towards the end is quite useful as is the extensive Q&A session.

You may also find my notes from the talk enjoyable.

And, you guessed it, I am going to recommend you follow Jeremy on Twitter: @linuxquestions.

Other Recap Posts

Our next recap post will be Laura on the FAQ presentation given by Simon Phipps and Rich Sands.

In case you missed it, our first recap post was on A Bug in Your Ear: Patching the People Side  and Why People Don’t Contribute to Your Open Source Project. Check out the notes and video in this post.

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FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Deb Nicholson & Mike McQuaid

Another year, another fabulous FOSDEM. This year, I had the honor of once again co-chairing the Community DevRoom with Laura Czjakowski. We welcomed 16 fantastic speakers on topics ranging from open source in government to technical writing for non-writers. We had a packed room all day, despite having a room more than twice the size as last year, plus queues down the stairs of folks waiting for seats.

We’re looking forward to applying to run the room again next year, and we’re looking at having it run for two days instead of just one. Stay tuned for more details ’round about November!

For those of you who missed the talks live or on the livestream, Laura and I are doing some follow up posts on each talk to bring you the video and the highlights of each presentation. Before you read this post, you might want to check out Deb Nicholson and Mike McQuaid’s pre-event speaker interviews.

Deb Nicholson

A Bug in Your Ear: Patching the People Side

A few highlights from Deb’s talk:

  • Calling in: have private chats to help people learn why their actions are considered harmful
  • Assume good intentions and plant a seed for better choices in the future when calling in
  • Share project lore widely to communicate shared norms for acceptable behavior

When I asked Deb if there was anything in particular she’d like to see shared about her talk, she dropped this gem on me:

“Just make sure that people know they aren’t obligated to do this work just because they can.”

In other words, if you have great social skills, it’s not always your job to be the one handling the social side of project affairs. It’s a community, after all, and everyone is responsible for patching the people side.

Deb has also shared the slides from her talk. I highly recommend following her on Twitter, too: @baconandcoconut

Mike McQuaid

Why People Don’t Contribute to Your Open Source Project

Mike made a number of good points in his talk, but I think my favorite was that most maintainers are talked into doing it. If you’re a great contributor to a project, it is unsurprising that its maintainers will invite you to contribute more widely. During his presentation, Mike also shared the maintainer guidelines for Homebrew, which are a great example of how to make sure that the work done by your maintainers can be undertaken by other folks successfully. Avoiding burnout ++

I asked Mike about the most important part to share about his talk, and he said the Contributor Funnel section would likely be the most useful for the audience.

McQuaid_Contributor_Funnel

Source: Mike McQuaid – “Why People Don’t Contribute to Your Open Source Project”

Mike starts discussing the Contributor Funnel at 8:10 in the video. (Or you can just jump there directly.)

Mike has shared his slides, too, and you should also check out his Twitter feed: @mikemcquaid.

What’s Next

Our next recap post will focus on talks from Brian Proffitt and Jeremy Garcia. Stay tuned to this blog for that post, and then to Laura’s for the presentation from Simon Phipps and Rich Sands.

If you’re reading through these recaps, chances are quite good that you’re a fan of community building, developer relations work, FOSDEM or all three. If you’re interested in helping out with the Community DevRoom next year, please do get in touch!

 

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Meet the Community DevRoom Speakers (vol. 6)

Laura and I are continuing our interview series with the FOSDEM Community DevRoom speakers on why they submitted their particular talk, thoughts on their ideal audience members and what else they plan to see at the conference. If you missed the first five posts, they’re linked at the end of this one!

We hope to see you in the Community DevRoom in Building K, room K.4.601 from 10:30 to 19:00 on Saturday, 3 February. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. (And yes, we have a much bigger room this year!)

For this set of speaker interviews, we’re hearing from two gentleman I have been fortunate enough to have known for several years due to their participation as mentors in the Google Summer of Code program.

Ludovic Dubost on XWiki:
a case study on managing corporate and community interests

ludovic-dubost-2015v13-web


Ludovic Dubost

Ludovic is the creator of XWiki and the CEO of XWiki SAS, an LGPL-licensed open source project used by thousands of individuals and companies, including Amazon. Once upon a time, he was a software architect at Netscape, later joining NetValue as its CTO prior to its acquisition by Nielsen. After these adventures, he went on to launch XWiki in 2004.

When we asked Ludovic why he submitted this particular talk, he let us know “the call for proposal of the dev room mentioned ‘balancing community and corporate interest’ and this is a subject that I find important and interesting for the Open Source community and not enough treated. Open Source also needs companies, especially SMEs[,] and these companies need to find a complex balance between interest[s] that sometime conflict with the sharing concepts of Open Source. Our company has had to find this balance and I would like to share this experience so that more companies can contribute to Open Source and be successful in their business.”

Ludvoic’s talk will be most beneficial to “Entrepreneurs, [who] could find experience for their own projects, while developers could also learn about how Open Source software can get created in the context of a small company. ” (I am personally a huge fan of the power of FLOSS to empower small and medium business owners; if you are interested in this topic a bit more, see my remarks in the Open Source Initiative Board Member Retrospective on the organization’s 20th Anniversary.)

You can check out Ludovic’s thoughts on all matters open source on Twitter: @ldubost

Bertrand Delacretaz on Asynchronous Decision Making – why and how

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Ceci n’est pas un Bertrand Delacretaz. (Et merci, nathanmac87!)

For his day job, Bertrand works as a Principal Scientist with Adobe Research. He is also an active Member of the Apache Software Foundation and currently on his ninth term on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. He enjoys advocating for open development methodologies so that teams are more efficient at communicating and creating software.

When we asked Bertrand why this talk topic was important to him, he replied “I’m passionate about community topics, fascinated by how efficient our open source communities can be, compared to corporate teams which are supposed to be better organized. I’m very much looking forward to sharing my ideas and getting feedback about them.”

Bertand has spent a long time pondering what makes open source communities work so well, and he’s pretty sure that it’s Asynchronous Decision Making. “Asynchronous Decision Making is at the core of our efficiency. Being able to progress without waiting on others, and being efficient without meetings, makes a huge difference in remote
teams. I have practical examples from a Board of Directors as well as from a Federal Government, I think that’s solid stuff!”

Agreed, can’t wait to hear more about it. And for Bertrand and Riccardo to share notes!

When not in the Community DevRoom, Bertrand intends to head to Stef Walter’s talk Cyborg Teams: Training machines to be Open Source contributors.  (I saw this talk at Open Source Summit Europe and it was fantastic, and I am not just saying this because Stef is my buddy and co-worker.)

You can read more from Bertrand on Twitter: @bdelacretaz

Previous Speaker Interviews

In case you missed them, here are all of our previous FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom speaker interviews:

We have more speaker interviews coming, so stay tuned…

And, if I have time, I plan to pen a post on two must-see talks that were almost in the Community DevRoom, but you can now enjoy in the Main Track!

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Meet the Community DevRoom Speakers (vol. 5)

Laura and I are continuing our interview series with the FOSDEM Community DevRoom speakers on why they submitted their particular talk, thoughts on their ideal audience members and what else they plan to see at the conference. If you missed the first four posts, they’re linked at the end of this one!

We hope to see you in the Community DevRoom in Building K, room K.4.601 from 10:30 to 19:00 on Saturday, 3 February. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. (And yes, we have a much bigger room this year!)

Riccardo Iaconelli on Italy: The most hacker-friendly country?

riccardo

Riccardo Iaconelli

I’ve never had the opportunity to meet Riccardo, but I’m really looking forward to hearing all about his work on the Italian government’s Digital Transformation Team. They are “building hackerspaces throughout the country and turning all developers paid with public money into open source contributors.” Even better, this team is “working to spread this idea throughout all of Europe.”

Riccardo let us know that the ideal audience member for his talk is “someone who wants to know more about open practices in the government…. [M]aybe somebody…who wants to have an inspiration and replicate what we are doing, maybe some hacker who likes the idea and wants to hack on our general purpose code to push digital public services in [their] country as well.” Along with visiting Community DevRoom, Riccardo is looking forward to spending some time in the hallway track, so please come find him and share your ideas for open government and how free software can serve society!

You can follow Ricardo’s adventures on Twitter: @ruphy (Did we mention he’s an open government advocate and a physicist?)

Kevin P. Fleming on Software Philanthropy for Everyone

kevin

Kevin P. Fleming

Kevin is an open source developer, a Member of the CTO’s Office at Bloomberg focusing on open technology initiatives, and yet another speaker I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person! He’s spoken at previous FOSDEM’s in the Legal and Policy DevRoom, but this year he’ll be sharing his insights on helping large companies focus their philanthropic activities – such as charitable foundations operated by the company – on supporting free and open source software projects. He’ll also talk about how you can use your employer’s donor matching programs to support your favorite FLOSS projects. As someone who has regularly asked that my employer match my personal donations to libre software projects, I cannot recommend this practice highly enough. (Plus, many thanks to my employer, Red Hat, and my former employer, Google, for matching donations to FOSS non-profits!)

When we asked Kevin why he’s giving this talk, he let us know that he’s “hoping to inspire more companies, and developers at companies, to take advantage of their philanthropy programs to benefit open source projects.” When he’s not in the Community DevRoom, he’ll be in the Legal and Policy DevRoom, since “any open source program manager needs to be involved in both aspects of the equation.”  (I agree, which is why I’ll be in the same place on Sunday!)

You can follow Kevin’s updates from FOSDEM and beyond on Twitter: @realkpfleming

Previous Speaker Interviews

In case you missed them, here are all of our previous FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom speaker interviews:

We have more speaker interviews coming, so stay tuned!

 

 

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Meet the Community DevRoom Speakers (vol. 2)

In case you missed it, you may enjoy our first speaker interview post, featuring Deb Nicholson and Mike McQuaid.

Laura and I are continuing our speaker interview series with the FOSDEM Community DevRoom speakers on why they submitted their particular talk, thoughts on their ideal audience members and what else they plan to see at the conference.

We hope to see you in the Community DevRoom in Building K, room K.4.601 from 10:30 to 19:00 on Saturday, 3 February. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Brian Proffitt on Media 101 for Communities

BKP

Brian Proffitt

When responding to my interview questions, Brian said he submitted his talk because “You told me to and I fear the wrath of Leslie and Laura?” I’d utterly discount this response if he and I were not co-workers on Red Hat’s Open Source and Standards team, where he is our Principal Community Analyst. (And let that serve as your full disclosure notice, too. We share a team IRC channel. This may be where I bugged him to submit.)

In all seriousness, we’re fortunate to have Brian speak to us on how to best publicize information about our FOSS projects – he’s a former technology journalist, an adjunct instructor at University of Notre Dame and an expert in community metrics. He’ll be sharing words of wisdom about using both social media and traditional media, which “is still a valuable way to reach many people with your project message. I wanted to give people a reminder course about why and how projects can interact with media.”

Brian notes that one of the most important lessons from his talk will be that “the story we want to tell as project members and the story the media has to tell are often different.” Fortunately, you’ll walk away from his talk understanding how to align your messages with the needs reporters have when writing their stories – win, win!

In addition to his time in the Community DevRoom, Brian will also be conducting interviews with community folks at FOSDEM along with my other wonderful colleague, Rich Bowen. If you have the opportunity, please do chat with them all things FOSS. Or, as Brian says, “So don’t run away if you see us.”

Have I mentioned the joys of Brian’s acerbic wit lately? They are manifold. You can enjoy said acerbic wit anytime by following Brian on Twitter: @TheTechScribe

Jeremy Garcia on
Your Open Source Community Metrics Should Be Tracking More than Just Code

 

jeremy-ato

Jeremy Garcia

I’ve known Jeremy from community land for a long time, but I think we first met at  SoCal Linux Expo. Or perhaps somewhere else entirely. For those of you who do not know Jeremy, he is the founder of the amazing community resource LinuxQuestions.org and spends his day job time as the Open Source Program Lead at Datadog.

Jeremy’s talk will focus on an open source Contributor Relationship Management System, a project that allows you to get better insights into your community of contributors. As Jeremy says, “open source ecosystems are really about people,” and he submitted this presentation to help all of us better connect with the humans in our various projects. (I will admit that I saw a demo of the project from Jeremy and his colleague, Ilan Rabinovitch, at last year’s Open Source Summit in Prague. I may have described it as the Holy Grail.)

When asked how his talk can help attendees, Jeremy let us know that “if you’re interested in measuring your community, we have a fresh take (and burgeoning project) that goes beyond just tracking code. Understanding that open source ecosystems are really about people is vital if you want to foster sustainable growth. If you’re interested in learning more about this philosophy and project, you should attend.”

Last but not least, you may want to consider attending just to congratulate Jeremy on his first FOSDEM. He’s been in the FOSS world for years, but has never before had the opportunity to attend the conference.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter: @linuxquestions

More Speakers to Follow

I’ll publish additional interviews tomorrow, along with links to interviews happening on Laura’s blog. Stay tuned ….

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