(Re)Introducing the Community Team

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.

What’s Next?

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.

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Alright, now we’re cooking, thanks for reinvesting in this!

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Glad to hear :slightly_smiling_face:. I’ve always felt that I’m not seeing much of ubuntu communicating with the community. The last time I remember something happened was for polls regarding the 20.04 release. And I was happy to see that .
I think a good way to involve the community more would be to engage in commonly used platforms like YouTube . And it will get a wider audience. From the channel , I could see the last videos were from 5 years ago . And I think involving a platform with wider audience will help reach more people in the community. And maybe have live sessions and all .
I believe this will benefit everyone and will go on great .

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We are encouraging just that! The Ubuntu Desktop team has a live stream planned for next week.

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Where exactly is this community?

When users post on here they are stonewalled and told to go elsewhere as this forum is for Devs only?

Glad to hear this. Always felt the Ubuntu community was quite welcoming .
Hopefully I can contribute In some way.

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This is not a support forum, so while requests for support may be treated like that, I hope — and believe — that posts from users with ideas about Ubuntu development are met with courtesy.

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YouTube for sure, we’re just planning things out and figuring out how to best do it at the moment. Like Ken says there’s the Desktop Indaba coming up and I did an Ubuntu Core AMA a couple of weeks ago on YouTube, we’re still trying things to see what feels right :slight_smile:

We’re also thinking about potentially Twitch streaming? What do you think? Any other ideas you have are more than welcome!

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In recent history I can certainly see why it would look like this forum is only for Devs but we’re going to change that.

@gunnarhj is right, this is not a support forum and it too hope, and believe, posts about Ubuntu development are met with courtesy.

Part of the issue I think is people aren’t sure how and where exactly to go with their thoughts or their ideas to talk about them. That’s going to be high on the priority list to start enabling the commnity to engage more. Starting with this broader Community category that we’re in now

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Hello and welcome! We are so looking forward to live sessions, Q&As, office hours and more, and giving them a wide reach while still focused on the Ubuntu community. Thankfully, a bunch of us have been brushing up our streaming skills in the last year!

Are there any topics/guests/etc. you can think of that you would really like to see? We also are planning casual social hours - to have both work AND play!

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So glad you’re here! And a big part of why the team is here is to help make it easier to contribute, so feedback on that process, especially from someone just starting out, is so helpful.

What are your current interests, by the way?

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I’m so sorry that’s happened to you, and has made trying to contribute a not-great experience. We want to be a welcoming community to everyone, and make the DIscourse a place open to brainstorming and collaboration. So like @rhys-davies and @jorge have been discussing, part of our task is figuring out the best way to make that happen.

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It’s ambitious for an organization based around code to recognize the need for mentoring, skill development, communication, and deliberate cultural changes.

It’s impressive for an organization to do so when there’s not a crisis causing the self-reflection.

So kudos for a well-considered, ambitious mission.


Oh, let’s clarify this briefly, since it’s relevant:

If Discourse becomes raucous and ranty (like Ubuntu Brainstorm did, and UbuntuForums before that), contributors will hie off to another space…and the value of Discourse will be gone.

Therefore, I do sometimes dip into the Mod Tools to keep the level of discussion high and collaborative. Most moderation is done one-on-one using PM to coach improving the message, not suspensions or deletions.

“Hey-let’s-fix-your-message” is understandably annoying for the user. However, the few users who need it usually only need it once. Most users seem to have no problem swimming in this water, once they are acclimated.

(Let’s please take any further discussion on Moderation to PM or to a different thread)

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Are the forums going to continue to exist? Can people use them or is there a chance one day soon everything there will be gone? I feel the forum format works best for community and discourse is only useful for things that have specific goals - there are lots of silly conversations that happens in a community I feel don’t work with the way everything has a purpose in discourse.

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This is a prime example of what i’m talking about , micromanaged deflection , truncation , Stonewall type shutdowns that kills any sense of open community discussion.

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Hey thanks,
My interests with Ubuntu are of course advocacy. I’m prominently a Desktop user so I’m often marketing and promoting this to people where I can. I’m definitely a promoter of the that simple by design out of the box experience, which I think Ubuntu does very well actually.

My expertise I guess Is, I work in the field of Information Management, focusing on digital preservation, accessibility over time asking the question basically, will you be able to read this post in 100 years and beyond? You tend to find me harping on about digital standards and a strange obsession simple text documents haha.
All things information really.

Not sure how these skill fit into the community but Information and data preservation, privacy and accessibility in today’s digital world is front and centre and Linux in general is the backbone of a lot of it. Ubuntu is the most well known particularly in the non Linux world.
So I guess you could say To ensure you data for today and the future Ubuntu’s got your back. or something along those lines .

Apologies for the long winded reply, I tend to go off in tangents sometimes ; )

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I hope the Ubuntu Wiki gets a refresh soon

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In my opinion @madhens recent live sessions on Twitch are good direction as long as social media activity.:+1: In my case, I got more interested in Ubuntu and wanted be part of the community after listening to several great podcasts, watching YouTube videos, live sessions and following Ubuntu community members on Twitter, Telegram, Discord. Sometimes reading some blog posts (great zfs tutorial on @didrocks blog - great example of how tutorial should be made). When you listen and watch people from the community, after some time you realize that you start to like them and become more interested and involved in what they represent. That was my path to Ubuntu.
I realize that creating videos and podcasts is difficult and very time consuming, but imo being active in the most popular content distribution platforms is crucial for a community to grow. Is there any official Ubuntu Community Twitter account or maybe channel on Telegram/Discord/Element/irc?

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