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Contributors, lurkers and Loudmouths: Who Are Our Contributors?

How you define active or inactive by what measure?

There are many contributors who don't talk about what they're doing, so we have a hard time knowing they're there. How do we know who our contributors are?


Participants: 

Janet, Mozilla Developer Network (MDN)

Jen, WordpressCat Allman, Google

Jean Weber -  Libreoffice docs

Dan - Nanorimo

Liz - Mozilla bugmaster
Jamie,Regenstrief Institute
Heather, ushahidi David, Joomla 
Michael Downey, OpenMRS
Megan from Moz (formerly seomoz). 
Jen lopez (moz)
Mary, velocity - oreilly
Eric

Mozilla - contributors for MDN communicate or work on mailing lists, irc, and wikis. These communities overlap but aren't the same.

Wordpress - We look at comments, contributing, work done?, How do we measure the value of chatting in irc? There aren't many open source groups who can figure out how to measure contributions or their value.

Events for people who are doing developer work  are not always right for people who want to , say, start a blog and make a million dollars. They are users who have a business model.   People need different kinds of engagement. 
Janet talks about app and addon developers for firefoxos and firefox. Some of them are users, developers with a business model. 
Jen lopez - talks about a job board where the job seekers are the community but the job advertisers are the source of money. They are both in the community but many of their interests and needs are different. 
Jean talks about how some people feel that you have to contribute only in a certain way.  Others who really want to contribute but are shy about their english skills.  That isn't important as having the ability to think and describe something.  We also need translators! But some others want Tech Writing 101. They want too much personal teaching time.  This is consistently frustrating. 
Mary -  How do we find people who know our books at O'Reilly, but don't know we have these conferences and that they are part of our community too? 
Eric - interested in activist communities in the physical world, environmental background.  
Ushahidi's skills, types, location are all managed in git issue queue. 
Liz - At Mozilla there are people who inquire, people who answer and fill a requirement like make an account and then email me back about it, or who do an action. Then i classify them differently. There are lots of inquirers.  If they complete a task, that's great.   We are making training tasks for them to try.   We're interested in exposing data about what contributors are doing. i'd like to do that by gathering all the activity stream from all the places they are known to contribute.
Google - Cat works with the GSOC and help OS community.
Does commenting or 'online forum' count as contributing?
National Novel Writing Month - nanorimo - how to build contributors to build back starting the process
OpenHE - here to listen, global scale tracking hard to do
ushahidi - We have a diverse community - some developers, but across topics, locations and skills, git, wiki, social platforms, some are not technical at all but want to use open source software.
Joomla - some contributors, some talkers.
OpenMRS - global scope, cultural barriers, give voice to all , dabbled in quantitative, hard to do. uses mixed methods, case studies with contributors to help lead the path for others.
MOZ - the site uses a gamefication points system, community active everywhere, active on site, there are people who read our content, use free tools, don't deeply participate (comment, ask question etc) interested in the contributors who are lurking, doing things but not loud about it.
Building offline communities in the physical world, environmental world.
What about people who answer questions about your software on places like Stack Overflow, outside of the support systems or community you've built?

What kinds of ideas do you have for levels of activity and contribution:
mozilla - level of commitment (users, supports, contributors, casual contributors, feedback providers, active contributors (community of in support forums, filing bugs etc), core (leadership, time devoted)
Community and wordpress - "community" but interests vary. Money - plugins and bloggers are different types of community members
Constellations of communities, care levels may change
Tension - "the one true way to contribute" vs make a good attempt
translators are valuable contributors - more clarification, helps guide the project
"you know it would be really helpful..." (guide to good behaviour)
be clear on how you can get involved more.
track, what you are working on, started and finished.
What are some of the ways you entice someone to participate
Identify who might lead a community.
Mentoring, 101 and beyond
lots of inquiries, tracking, give levels of steps,
What are the levels (Liz, Mozilla) of conversion -

1) inquiries  2) people who answer the reply to inquiry.  3) people who do some next steps, have an account. 4) people who demonstrate competence over time.  5) very experienced contributors!
Hard to balance being welcoming to new contributors and potential contributors while meeting the needs of people who are very experienced.
For Jean's example. what about taking those people who want tech writing 101 and send them to Coursera or somewhere to actually take Tech Writing 101? 


Can we collaborate on making a list of resources that will help people become contributors, across many open source projects? 


How about openhatch: http://openhatch.org which works to match prospective free software contributors with communities, tools, and education.               


Heather suggests the Open Knowledge Foundation  http://okfn.org/ Could we come together - openhatch - make some backend training courses. is it generic enough, could we across projects come up with lists.
Data missions - OKFN has data expeditions to help build the knowledge sets. Mozilla has missions, Open Hatch does these too.
http://blog.okfn.org/2013/05/20/data-expedition-mapping-the-garment-factories/
http://schoolofdata.org/
We want to make simple things to do, training wheels, to make it easy to try contributing. But we want people who can absorb complicated information and synthesize it. Not everything can be made simple.
Activity streams can help - see what is happening with all the channels. get it auto- aggregated to run reports. it may not be full of richness. can help with surfacing new people to talk with.
Jen - Activity stream may become important here.  we could aggregate what potential/new contributors are actually touching.   even if the person is just saying "me too" in comments, we at least know they are very active and we go look at what they are doing.   We made a thing called Breakfix, you download the broken version, fix it, upload it.   http://breakfix.elftest.net   

Sometimes people use different email addresses or usernames in different tools. It is difficult to match up their identities.
What platform do you use for your contributors?   dropbox, gmail., wikis, what other tools?     That matters for how hard it is for people to contribute.  Sometimes you can't find your strong people because they are put off by the tools/ platforms.  
Janet - has a wiki, a mailing list, an irc channel, which are overlapping but distinct sets. That doesn't convey how to talk to others, and be involved, not just do a drive by wiki edit.  
wordpress: forum, trac ticket, many other sources for the activity stream.  We don't have time or resources to build the tools we need because paid staff has other projects and priorities.   there isn't relaly a business attached to it. 
liz - there are problems inherent with open source community management. we are not marketers, we aren't HR managers, we aren't in an employee/employer relationships.  these are some intersections though.  we want transparency but not everything can be transparent.  we don't have a well defined set of stuff that needs doing or tools to do it with.  here are some ways ... ubuntu data advisory team, trello (as a simple state machine with contributors in different states) software under development, people using wikis or google docs.  Is it private or public, transparent commentary?    As community facilitators or coordinators we may have comments on contributors and what their strengths or issues are. 


jen: story of wordcamp opening up subteams for community organizers. 


A bunch of people report using Trello or google docs to track contributor activity.  It would be nice to have open source tools to do this. Wordpress strategy:

handholding, want self starters, trying to build training to help with self -serve, not focusing at super beginner or super expert

Made broken plugins and do exercises to teach how to fix it, "break fix" training  breakfix.elf.... need the rest to view

threshold places to fix, and help folks level up - middle ground

Experienced - tools, stuff, people doing stuff, ask for help

Mozilla - built a directory for the community, want to hook up to other systems to show what they are doing, linked - humans, maybe they won't tag

wordpress has profiles, activity streams, has a GSOC project to help build out this space, wordpress summit - split sites, not always visible into it.

oreilly - sometimes hard to reach community as they don't know about the community. reads books, active, well known, but don't know about the other resources

Ubuntu - nice platform , feeds into launchpad, shows last activity on many sites of contribution

product vs community - attention, resources, how much easier would it be to get new contributors, no way to measure.

onboarding, tracking, who and how to get them to move up, how to convert within time,

"we are learning to love...insert tool " to buid conbributor paths

ACTION - think about openhatch for contrbutor onboarding strategy across all the communities

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