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Community management – Hello!?! Irony? Are you home?

Max is totally spot-on, and I only want to add a thing or two about community organizing,  (After all, isn’t a little building and a little organizing what we do?  I love the deep irony in the title “Community Manager”.  Can you say, “Cat Herder”?  How about, “Oxy Moron”?)

Watching David Nalley be interviewed, he said something perfect around this.  In response to a question about what the Fedora Ambassadors do, David said, “A lot of communites have community managers, and while we’re not community managers per se, ‘cuz we don’t really manage anything, we’re responsible for the same thing, essentially growing community and making sure that we have good relationships with all the other communities that are out there in free software.” (3:55 start in the OGV version.)

Every Fedora Ambassador has a chance to affect the growth of the Fedora and free software communities to the same degree as David or any person who has the title “Community Manager”.  Ask me to tell stories, but be careful, I’m long-winded.

Adam, thanks for playing straight man. 🙂 I hope this does get you some answer to your pondering, “It’s very interesting to see how differently the role (of community manager) is conceived.”  In meeting me, in meeting Larry and Clint, and now Jeff and Kevin, you met the face of community organization at Fedora.  The community is very much self-managed, which changes the dynamics around who speaks for the project.  Take the Linux kernel as an example — there are a number of people who work on the kernel and speak for the kernel community in certain ways that are outside of their technical expertise.  I sat on a panel recently with James Bottomly, a perfect example of a deep geek who is also influencing and organizing his community.

One thing you’ll find in the Fedora Project, there are very many people to meet who are a combination of leader, evangelist, and community organizer.  Max touched upon a few names, and there are many, many more out there.  I’m not sure of the long-term effect when there isn’t one brain in between everything in a community, as it seems Zonker does for OpenSUSE.  Is that an advantage?  Fedora seems to get along fine without a single hand guiding and deciding.