Good day! o/
For some time now, the Ubuntu Community has not been given the love and attention and support it deserves. The community is, and will always be, a major part of the Ubuntu project and a large part of why any of this exists in the first place. We want to see the community grow and again become an exciting place for people of all skills levels and backgrounds to get involved. We, Canonical, as a proud member of the Ubuntu Community, have made our first step toward this mission. We have hired, and are still hiring, a Community Team, to focus on the growth, support, and engagement with the community.
Who We Are
Right now, the core of the Community Team is Monica Ayhens-Madon, Ubuntu Community Representative, and Rhys Davies, Ubuntu Developer Advocate. Ken VanDine is our interim fearless manager who leads the search for a Director of Community.
Monica’s role is the Community Representative. Her job is to make sure the Community Council, Membership Council, and other boards have what they need to succeed, and is a point of contact for these groups when they need access to people and resources on the Canonical side of the Ubuntu community. She herself is also a resource for the community, whether that’s pointing a new contributor in the right direction or scaling that assistance and helping create better on-boarding documentation. Basically, her role is to support contributors, new or established, to advocate for and help create processes that help them, and to highlight the volunteer community’s achievements to both the community itself and the outside world.
Rhys’ role is as a Developer Advocate for Ubuntu. He is here to represent the community to Canonical and Ubuntu and Canonical to the community. Whether that means being the go between for the community to feedback to Canonical Product teams or between specific teams to facilitate community engagement and initiatives. He is also going to continue to foster relationships and collaboration with other developer communities. He is to be a communication channel between members, contributors, communities, Ubuntu partners and Canonical. And, of course, like Monica he is a resource to the community to help new members, develop community processes, and advocate on behalf of the community.
What We’re Here For
To put it simply, we exist to help the community succeed,and to prioritize the contributors who volunteer their energy, skill, and time. To make this happen, the community team has a four-part mission:
Increase number of contributors and foster future community leadership
Communities depend on people. If a community isn’t drawing new people in, and isn’t doing enough to keep the people in the community involved and inspired to lead, well, that’s not good. Hence, one of our top priorities is to not only ensure current community members have plenty of reasons to stay, but also steadily attract and retain newcomers.
But communities don’t just rely on more fresh faces. Communities that last are ones that recognize future leaders and provide them lots of opportunities to practice and deepen those leadership skills. These communities also know that good leadership is stable but not stagnant, and encourages new faces (and new perspectives) in leadership positions.
Reaching this goal means creating a better culture of clarity and mentorship throughout the community, from the newest contributors to the most senior members.
Create a more personable, positive and supportive community
We can all imagine the communities where we want to be. They draw you in with a certain energy, where almost anything seems possible and almost everyone you meet isn’t a stranger, but a future friend. These vibrant communities are crackling with collaboration, and members gravitate towards building each other up instead of tearing each other down.
We want to help make the Ubuntu community somewhere contributors want to be - no, are excited to be, and where they want to share that feeling with others.
Create a more effective community, where where people are empowered to make things happen
As Alan so eloquently put it, you don’t need permission to contribute to Ubuntu - but we know sometimes it feels difficult to get started. We want to hear where the barriers to contributing are, and where we’re able to, knock them down. And where we can’t do that as quickly cough the Ubuntu wiki cough, we want to find measures that help people contribute as soon as possible.
And by contributing, that doesn’t just mean developers. We want to empower everyone who contributes to Ubuntu - translators, documenters, testers, forum moderators, AskUbuntu supporters, IRC admins and operators, and so many more. And we know that means listening to you and working together to make better tools, documentations, and processes for new and existing contributors to get sh*t done!
Increase collaboration between Canonical employees and volunteers in the community
Over the last few years, Canonical, as a community member in itself, has become less involved in the community. Community members, as well as people inside Canonical, have become frustrated and disappointed by this change. As Canonical has grown, it has felt like they have had less time to collaborate with the community. We are here to turn this around. The community team is tasked with strengthening the relationship between teams at Canonical and the community. We are here to encourage more open communication, active dialogue between engineering teams and community contributors and to speak with the community’s voice inside Canonical.
Monica, Ken, and Rhys will all be lurking on this thread. So if you have any questions for the team, please leave them here. As we get going, we will provide updates and collect feedback here in the Community category on Discourse. The work has only just begun, and we can’t wait to get started.