Improving Community Health: Community Concerns

There were way more than just two people doing Community Management. Jono led the team, and had Jorge, Daniel, David Michael, Nick, Myself and others at various points under him, all of which had at some point had the title Community Manager.

There’s a few of us who still do some community management work - a little behind the scenes - a little up front - but it’s currently not our primary role. Most of the team either left Canonical to embark on other adventures (as it normal for working people) and some moved on inside Canonical to other roles which were identified as required by our employer.

@wxl suggested it could be a non-Canonical role. That’s effectively what half the Community Council was. The members were voted on by the Ubuntu Members. Unfortunately in the most recent cohort of the CC, some of those elected individuals lost interest and stopped attending meetings or replying to requests for help. The CC never really had a good means to kick ineffective people out. So it essentially withered and died.

A reboot would be a good idea.


It is very encouraging to see all the people here contributing to the discussion about how the Ubuntu Community can be revitalised. As someone who has contributed to Ubuntu Community management, albeit part-time, I do agree that we can do better.

Canonical will be dedicating time and people to the Ubuntu Community in the New Year. I think it would be useful to have a video call with anyone interested in moving things forward in early January 2020, as the holiday season upon us. We’d like to hear your concerns and suggestions and then collaborate on a plan of action.

How does that sound?


I don’t see the relation between those things. Community participation, was already dropping before. Years ago it was already hard to get a new LoCo Council, fewer and fewer people have been applying for Ubuntu Member, and I see some leaving the community, way before the switch back to GNOME.

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To many of those that use Ubuntu, Unity was the extremely representative of what Ubuntu was. Unity was distinctive and recognizable to a scale I dare to say no other DE ever achieved. However I agree with you that the community wasn’t abandoned, there was a clear effort to make the switch back to GNOME as painless as possible for Unity users, and as an Unity lover, that is using GNOME on the recent installations of Ubuntu Desktop, but that still writing this from an older Xenial installation with Unit, I do appreciate all the effort that was put into that. Also some support was given to those community members that wanted to do an Unity Remix (unfortunately so far without enough progress).


Regarding the Code of Conduct, I just want to make a side comment that on Ubucon Europe 2019, there was a session regarding the Code of Conduct. Some people have the opinion that we need to improve the CoC to make it more suitable to current and broader needs. We recorded the session, but the video is not public yet, but I hope we will have it shortly and I’ll link it back here.

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And, that sealed it. :wink:

Wouldn’t have happened without @dale-f-beaudoin and @khurshid-alam.

I do 100% agree with you on this. We also need to make user more aware of its existence, I do see a lot of people searching for help on places like facebook, and getting awful responses. AskUbuntu has mechanisms that give prominence to good responses.

My point is that I do agree that there are issues, I just see them differently from you, and that’s fair we don’t have to agree on everything.

Everyone sees things differently from each other. But, a community would stay, if the goal is the same. Ubuntu 16.04 is coming to end in April 2021, btw.

Thank for the notice, but I’m very aware of that. :slight_smile:

Hopefully by that time I can use Unity 8, maybe by a new remix or some other way. It’s looking sweet on my smartphones.

To me it does sound as necessary and useful. So cheers to that!


Remix might come by. :slight_smile:
I have a Nexus 5 with UBPorts. Unity 8 is a beauty!

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I think we need a process possibly by means of peer review done some where around every six months where the members of the Community Council review each others contributions over the last six months and decide if each member is still active and responsive enough to the needs of the community to continue to serve if not that member should be asked to step aside and be replaced either by means of elections or possibly by the runner up of the previous election or some other means agreed upon. I am not a big fan of peer review because I know sometimes they can be biased but I know of no other way to ensure that members are doing there jobs effectively. I would think if a person is responsible enough to be elected to the Community Council they would be responsible enough to step aside when they no longer wish to or are able to fulfill the requirements of the position but as we have all seen that has not been the case but should be listed as a requirement upon accepting the position.


I like this idea because you are in a way treating it as a job and it should be. Maybe not like a peer review but a bi-yearly review that is reviewed by the Community Team. But you are also right about responsibility.

That sounds like a plan as one of the members that expired from the Ubuntu Membership Board I see the urgency to resolve the Community Council issue as soon as possible so that all teams will able to continue to perform there functions which is getting harder to do as more and more expire, like myself many team members may still be doing what needs to be done but we are limited in that we can not add or remove new users from launchpad so it falls on the shoulders of a few that are still able to until they expire as well. I know there are other issues that need working on once we have a working Community Council or or some facsimile there of. Thanks everyone for getting involved and working to resolve these very serious issues.

I’m not sure this is the fix we’re looking for unless there’s a very extensive, consistent, and stable allocation of resources. We’ve had Canonical’s time and people as aforementioned, including people filling roles within the Community Council, and most just faded away. As I said before, when you’re a business, you go where the money is. If the perception is that the most profitable way is to focus on something else, like, say, Snaps, then that’s what you’re going to focus on. Similarly, if you’re an employee and you’re feeling overworked or otherwise unmotivated, you’re probably not going to work too hard on fulfilling some volunteer role.

I agree with the idea of the Community Council having a very clearly defined role. It currently really only has the defined role of upholding the Code of Conduct, so it’s essentially no more than a police force by definition. This is not sufficient. It should be tasked with defining and maintaining the vision for the the project and also serve as a bit of a liason between the different stakeholders— developers, users, Canonical, their employees, etc. It should provide regular, clear, reports on what is happening. The time frame for those reports should be clearly defined. This all sounds like a lot of bureaucracy when we’re trying to simply governance, but I can see us loosening up the process of establishing the parts of the governance structure, while making expectations more clear. In this way, we shouldn’t get random nominees, but those that really feel like they want to commit.

Speaking of the Code of Conduct, it is a project that one can file merge proposals and bug reports against. Last time we were involved in Google Code-In, there was a task to sign the CoC and file bugs as they were found. We got a number of them, actually. They deserved further review, but, unfortunately, as was previously stated, nearly all of the most recent CC just stopped contributing. By definition, one doesn’t act alone in a Council.

I think the saddest thing of all is that those folks we had tasked to uphold the CoC failed to fulfill one of its most prominent requirements:

Step down considerately

When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, we ask that they do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. They should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.

The ennui that was allowed to develop to allow for such a thing is something we should endeavour to absolutely extinguish any possibility of occuring again.


I agree, although is it something like what GNOME does? Or is that team more like the Marketing team?

Kind of. I see the Community Council as being more of a leadership thing, i.e. they’re creating the vision, maintaining it and reporting on it, but ultimately empowering others to do the work.

That’s what I figured you would say and I do agree with you. I guess now the question is where are examples, in Open Source/Linux, where this is a thing and how successful it is. I just don’t want to see it started and then quickly dies.

I agree, I think that nicely sums up the Community Councils role as I see it.