The Art of Community
Free

The Art of Community

By Jono Bacon
Free
Book Description

Online communities provide a wide range of opportunities for supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or building open source software. The Art of Community helps you recruit members, motivate them, and manage them as active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers experiences and observations from his 14-year effort to build and manage communities, including his current position as manager for Ubuntu.



Discover how your community can become a reliable support network, a valuable source of new ideas, and a powerful marketing force. This expanded edition shows you how to keep community projects on track, make use of social media, and organize collaborative events. Interviews with 12 community management leaders, including Linus Torvalds, Tim O’Reilly, and Mike Shinoda, provide useful insights.


  • Develop specific objectives and goals for building your community

  • Build processes to help contributors perform tasks, work together, and share successes

  • Provide tools and infrastructure that enable members to work quickly

  • Create buzz around your community to get more people involved

  • Harness social media to broadcast information, collaborate, and get feedback

  • Use several techniques to track progress on community goals
    Identify and manage conflict, such as dealing with divisive personalities


Print editions and blog at The book's website
Table of Contents
  • Table of Contents
  • Foreword from the First Edition
  • Foreword
  • Preface
    • Documenting the Undocumented
    • The Second Edition
    • Who Is This Book For?
    • The Road Ahead
    • If You Like (or Don’t Like) This Book
    • License
    • Join Our Community
    • Typographical Conventions Used in This Book
    • Safari® Books Online
    • How to Contact Us
    • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. The Art of Community
    • Collaboration-Driven Ethos
    • The Essence of Community
      • Building Belonging into the Social Economy
    • The Basis of Communication
    • Unwrapping Opportunity
    • A Community Manager: Becoming the Community
      • Cracking Open the Personality
      • Trust Is Everything
      • The Value of Listening
      • Avoid Ego, or Others Will Avoid You
      • Theory Versus Action: Action Wins
      • Becoming Yourself
    • Moving Forward
  • Chapter 2. Planning Your Community
    • Planning for Success
      • Community: The Bird’s-Eye View
    • Teams: The Building Blocks of Belonging
      • Finding Your Place
      • Units of Belonging
      • Read Versus Write
        • Read-mostly communities
        • Write-centered communities
      • Meritocracy
      • Working Together Is Success
      • Diversity
    • Designing Your Community
      • Baking in Openness
      • Building a Mission Statement
      • Building a Strategic Plan
        • Structuring the plan
    • Filling Out the Plan
      • Brainstorming Ideas
        • Technique 1: Question assumptions
        • Technique 2: Think outside the box
        • Technique 3: Let’s make it suck
    • Pulling Together the Threads
      • Teams: Divide and Conquer
        • Identify how we can divide our community into teams
        • Define the scope of each team, and help team members understand that scope
        • Understand the extent and range of collaboration among our teams
        • Ensure that teams can communicate clearly and effectively
    • Documenting Your Strategy
    • Financially Supporting Your Community
      • Revenue Opportunities
        • Online advertising
        • Selling
        • Donations
        • Sponsorship
    • Wrapping Up
  • Chapter 3. Communicating Clearly
    • He Said, She Said
    • Building Your Communication Channels
      • Striving for Clarity
      • Choices, Choices
        • Communication fetishism
      • The Mediums
        • Mailing lists
        • Discussion forums
        • Social media
        • IRC
    • Leading by Example
      • Daily Communication
        • Netiquette
        • Avoiding bikeshedding
      • Longer Writing
        • The mechanics of writing
        • Don’t write like an institution
        • Untwisting the tail
        • Setting tone
        • Inspiring your community
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4. Processes: Simple Is Sustainable
    • Eyes on the Prize
      • Keeping Things in Perspective
      • The Impact of Processes
    • Building Great Processes
      • Breaking Up the Puzzle
        • Building a process
      • Process Considerations
        • Simplicity is key
        • Avoiding bureaucracy
        • Transparency
    • Assessing Needs
      • Community Cycles
        • Leading by example: Ubuntu
      • The Gates of Your Community
      • Assessing Contributors
        • Reviewing new developers: In depth
      • Managing Feedback
        • Gathering feedback
    • Getting Buy-In for Your Processes
      • Document Them
      • Make Them Easy to Find
      • Using Your Processes
    • The On-Ramp: Creating Collaborative Processes
      • Identifying the On-Ramp
      • Developing Knowledge
      • Determining Contributions
      • Growing Kudos
    • Process Reassessment
      • Building Regularity
    • Moving On
  • Chapter 5. Supporting Workflow with Tools and Data
    • Understanding Your Workflow
      • Roles
      • Building a Simple Workflow
      • The Mechanics of Collaboration
      • An Example: Ubuntu Bug Workflow
        • Getting to know the problem
        • Breaking down the conversation
        • Lessons learned
    • Building Great Infrastructure
      • Software As a Service
    • Avoiding Resource Fetishism
    • Technical Considerations
      • Bug Tracking
        • Bug reporting
        • Bug triage
      • Source Control
      • Collaborative Editing
    • Building and Maintaining Transparency
      • Tool Access
      • Communications
      • Reporting
    • Regular Workflow Assessment
      • Gathering Structured Feedback
    • Moving On
  • Chapter 6. Social Media
    • Don’t Be That Guy/Girl
    • Being Social
    • Social Media Services in a Nutshell
      • Twitter
        • Getting started with Twitter
      • Facebook
        • Getting started with Facebook
      • Google+
        • Getting started with Google+
    • Harnessing Social Media
      • Broadcasting
        • Getting more eyeballs
        • Tuning up your messages
        • Avoiding social media overkill
      • Feedback
        • Where to look
        • Debates
        • Asking for feedback
      • Collaboration
        • Communication
        • Campaigns and awareness
        • Events
    • Social Media on Your Terms
      • Controlling the Fire Hose
      • Optimizing How You Post
      • Being Socially Responsible
      • Organizing a Community Event
        • The buildup
        • At the event
      • Running a Campaign
        • The preparation
        • The buildup
      • Providing Community Updates
  • Chapter 7. Building Buzz
    • Mindshare
      • The Mindshare Opportunity
    • The Building Blocks of Buzz
      • The Mission
      • Uniting Together
      • Inspired Words
      • Becoming the Advocate
      • Getting It Right by Not Getting It Wrong
      • Honesty
    • Setting Up Your Base
      • Aims
      • Staying Current
      • Building Conversation
      • Getting Online
        • Syndication
    • The Buzz Cycle
      • Planning
      • Buildup
      • Announce
      • Review
    • Buzz Targets
      • Announcing Your Community
        • Applying the buzz cycle
      • Attracting Contributors
        • Applying the buzz cycle
    • Building Alliances
      • The Professional Press
      • The Amateur Press
        • Blogs
          • Blog wars
        • Podcasts
        • Videos
    • Events and Conferences
      • Choosing Events
        • Submitting your paper
        • Promoting your talk
      • Delivering Presentations
        • Creating attractive slides
        • Long versus short presentations
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8. Measuring Community
    • Community Self-Reflection
    • The Foundations of Feedback
      • Defining Purpose
    • Hooks ’n’ Data
      • Statistics and Automated Data
        • The risks of interpretation
        • Plugging your stats into graphs
      • Surveys and Structured Feedback
        • Choosing questions
        • Showing off your survey reports
      • Observational Tests
      • Measuring Mechanics
      • Gathering General Perceptions
        • Perception of you
    • Anonymity and Privacy
      • Anonymity
      • Privacy
    • Moving On
  • Chapter 9. Managing and Tracking Work
    • Credibility and the Need to Track Progress
    • The Importance of Tracking Our Work
      • Tracking the Right Things
      • Within the Context of a Company
        • Defining value
        • Communicating up and down
    • What We Need to Manage
    • Tracking Projects
      • Structuring Your Projects
      • Managing Work Items
        • Structuring work items
        • Documenting work items
      • Visualizing Data with Burndown Charts
        • Using burndown charts
        • Observing burndown patterns
        • Generating additional information
        • Building burndown charts into your workflow
    • Tracking Growth and Decline
      • Visibility Is Key
      • Ensuring Effective Processes
    • Tracking Health
      • Promoting a Feedback Culture
      • Building a Set of Generals
    • Reacting to Community Concerns
    • Moving On
  • Chapter 10. Governance
    • Accountability
    • Governance Does Not Suck
    • Governance and Community
    • The Case for Governance
      • Follow the Leader
      • Engage the People
      • Aspire to Inspire
      • To Bring Peace
    • Learning from the Leaders
      • Dictatorial Charismatic Leadership
      • Enlightened Dictatorship
      • Delegated Governance
    • Setting Up a Community Council
      • Designing a Council
        • Responsibilities
        • Structure
        • Commercial sponsorship
        • Membership
        • Communication
      • Codifying Your Council
      • Nominating and Electing Council Members
        • Forming a new council
    • Ubuntu Governance Example
      • In the Beginning...
      • The Structure of the Ubuntu Community
        • Mark Shuttleworth
        • Community Council
        • Technical Board
        • Team councils
      • Membership
        • Ubuntu Member
        • Developer
        • Council or Board Member
      • Escalation
    • Expanding Governance
      • Knowing When It Is Time
      • Building the Subcouncil
        • Escalation
      • Communicating Between Councils
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11. Handling Conflict and Relationships
    • The Nature of the Beast
      • The Structure of Strife
    • The Calm Before the Storm
      • Contentious Personalities
        • Profiling the polemical
        • Sharing feedback about personality issues
        • Poisonous people
      • Barriers to Input
      • Problems with Responsibility
      • Lack of Justice
    • The Conflict Resolution Process
      • The Role of a Facilitator
        • Be objective
        • Be positive
        • Be open
        • Be clear
      • Resolving the Conflict
        • Part 1: Calm and reassure
          • The fantastical user group debacle
        • Part 2: Get the facts
          • The fantastical user group debacle
        • Part 3: Discuss
          • The fantastical user group debacle
        • Part 4: Document
        • Part 5: Reflect and maintain
          • The fantastical user group debacle
          • The fantastical user group debacle
    • Dealing with Burnout
      • Detecting and Treating Burnout
        • Required rest and relaxation
      • Work/Life Balance
        • Addiction
    • Handling Absence
    • Handling Bereavement
    • Summary
  • Chapter 12. Creating and Running Events
    • Building Family Values
    • Events
    • Getting Organized
      • Step 1: Identify Requirements
      • Step 2: Find Help
      • Step 3: Set Deadlines
      • Step 4: Make Time
    • Organizing Physical Events
      • Common Attributes
        • Location/venue
        • Accommodation
        • Equipment
        • Date/time
        • Cost
        • Registering attendance
        • Catering
        • Insurance/unions
      • Organizing a Sprint
        • Additional notes
      • Organizing a Summit
        • Structure and scheduling
        • Inside a session
        • Event-specific notes
      • Organizing an Unconference
        • Event-specific notes
    • Getting Sponsorship
      • Understanding Your Needs
      • Finding and Handling Sponsors
        • Setting expectations
        • The pitch
      • Handling the Money
    • Case Study: The Ubuntu Developer Summit
      • The Ethos of the UDS
      • How It Works
      • The Organizational Team
        • Organizational cadence
      • The Venue
        • Meeting room requirements
        • Location
        • Facilities
      • Assets
      • Infrastructure
      • Room Layout
      • The Timetable
        • Opening keynotes
        • Plenaries
        • Lightning talks
        • Sessions
      • Scheduling
    • Organizing Online Events
      • Common Attributes
        • Medium
          • Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
          • Voice over IP (VoIP)
          • Virtual worlds
        • Date/time
      • Online Discussion Meetings
        • Choosing a time
        • Advertising the meeting
        • Setting the agenda
        • Running the meeting
      • Organizing Online Tutorials
        • Scheduling
        • Preparing for a session
        • Running a session
        • Event-specific notes
    • Summary
  • Chapter 13. Hiring a Community Manager
    • Why Community Building Has Become a Big Business
    • The Role of a Community Manager in the Corporation
      • Setting Expectations
      • Scope of the Role
      • Risk
      • Breaking Tradition
      • Control and Reporting
        • The ability to enact change
      • The Responsibilities of Community Engagement
      • Salary
      • Communicating Expectations to the Candidate
    • Managing Your Community Manager
      • Induction
        • Internal reputation
        • Community reputation
      • Strategy
      • Management and Communications
        • Weekly engagements
        • Community feedback
    • Summary
  • Chapter 14. Community Case Book
    • Linus Torvalds, Linux
    • Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park
    • Mårten Mickos, MySQL and Eucalyptus
    • Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons
    • Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media
    • Carolyn Mellor, X.commerce, PayPal, and eBay
    • Ilan Rabinovitch, Southern California Linux Expo
    • Richard Esguerra, Humble Indie Bundle
    • Mark Bussler, Classic Game Room
    • Mary Colvig, Mozilla
    • Dries Buytaert, Drupal and Acquia
    • James Spafford, Media Molecule
  • Chapter 15. Onward and Upward
    • Building Our Own Community
      • Social Media
      • Videos
    • The Community Leadership Summit
      • How It Works
      • Joining Us
    • Keeping in Touch
  • Index
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