Creating Focus in the Ubuntu Community — Your Help Needed!

A little more than a year ago, the community team set out on a quest to grow our community. The team has done some great work to make progress on the themes mentioned in the linked post. Here are a few highlights:

  • Reboot of UbuntuOnAir. We’re holding more regular Ubuntu Indabas — join us for the next one!
  • Making the developer membership application process more accessible (following a community proposal)
  • Rapid transition from Freenode to Libera.chat (a big thank you to the Community Council, IRC Council and internal teams at Canonical)
  • Sponsoring and participating in various conferences, including:
    • FOSDEM (virtual booth)
    • Linux Application Summit 2022 (Trendsetter Sponsor)
    • ROSCon Fr 2022 (Bronze sponsor)
    • DebConf 22 (Gold sponsor)
    • GUADEC 2022 (Gold sponsor)
    • SCaLE 19x (Silver sponsor)
    • Open Source Summit North America (Bronze sponsor)
    • KDE Akademy 2022 (Silver sponsor)
  • More community related content on social media

We have been seeing about 10% more participation on our discourse forums, and the feedback we have been receiving at conferences has been overwhelmingly positive — people are happy to see us back. It is great to have such a supportive Ubuntu community.

Growing the Team

Ken mentioned the team is still growing, I’d like to tell you about what changed. You might also be wondering who this new person is that is giving you an update.

I am Philipp and have started as the Community Engineering Manager at Canonical. I have been in the Mozilla ecosystem for the past 16 years and my last role was managing the product operations team for addons.mozilla.org. This included the areas of community, editorial and security. I’ve also been very involved in the community-led Thunderbird Council in my free time.

One of the main reasons I joined Canonical is that they have re-acknowledged the importance of fostering an inclusive and thriving community. I am excited to drive this forward as a leader and make sure that those participating in the community have what they need to be successful.

Now that we have a dedicated manager in the community team, Ken is returning his focus on the Ubuntu Desktop team. I’d like to thank Ken for pushing forward and supporting the community team in their efforts in the interim. Monica and Britt continue to support us, and Rhys has moved on to another position outside of Canonical.

I’d also like to introduce Mauro Gaspari. For the last year he has served as the community manager for the Ubuntu Budgie project and is now continuing his path at Canonical to support community outreach, create exciting content, and special needs projects to increase engagement. I really enjoy the energy Mauro is bringing into the team. I hope you all have an opportunity to experience it soon, reach out and say hi!

Mauro is living in Taiwan, giving us impeccable timezone coverage: California (UTC-7), Atlanta (UTC-4), Germany (UTC+2), Taiwan (UTC+8).

What is Next?

The general themes that the team has created before are still very much relevant:

  • Increase number of contributors and foster future community leadership
  • Create a more personable, positive and supportive community
  • Create a more effective community, where where people are empowered to make things happen
  • Increase collaboration between Canonical employees and volunteers in the community

They cover many very important aspects of community engagement and success. They are broad in the sense that at the current team size we could be solving problems for years to come. I’d like to create a bit more focus on what is tangible and achievable in the shorter term.

To do this, we will change the lens through which we see these themes. Even more than before, I’d like us to view community improvement from the outside in. This helps us experience the community as a first time contributor, just getting started with Ubuntu. It helps to understand what it feels like not knowing exactly who to reach out to at Canonical to support others, especially for those in a community leadership position supporting others.

Coming in from a different ecosystem, I see a good starting point in improving consistency and up-to-dateness of information. There are a number of places to find information about the community that seem like there has been no movement for a number of years. Based on what I’ve seen so far, this is far from the truth.

We also have something exciting planned regarding conferences where we’ll be sharing more information soon.

Reaching Out and Staying in Touch

I’ve started reaching out to various community governance teams, flavor and downstream maintainers, interest groups and influential individuals to learn more about their experience in the Ubuntu Ecosystem. I’d like to be in touch with these groups on a regular basis to keep the pulse on community improvement and share some of the wins.

I am also open to feedback from anyone else, either in this thread or reaching out directly (send me a message here on discourse, reach out on twitter, or find Fallen on libera.chat). Here are a few questions that can serve as a starting point:

  • In your experience, what went particularly well in the last year that you’d like to see more of?
  • If there were two things you could change in the community experience, what would those be?
  • If you just joined recently (or are considering), how has the onboarding experience been?
  • What teams and topics would you like to hear more about from within Canonical?
  • What is it that motivates you to participate in the community?

What we hear will help refine the plans on how to best support the Ubuntu Community. Please stay tuned for more updates from our team. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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