This is the overview - and then LOTS more detail - from yesterday's discussion on Drupal Groups. I think Joomla! adding on a similar User Groups environment will produce amazing results. I do hope we move in this direction. Please take time to look at the links and think how this can empower and enthuse our community into producing more contributors.
help community members become contributors. There are physical user groups
to facilitate meetings
in specific cities
. There are subject area groups
where community members "virtually" meet and work together on such things as accessibility
. There is an amazing, extremely active group called Drupal Dojo
with membership over 500. There, you find enthusiastic, new Drupal developers mentoring one another and learning together.
People can establish a group
easily; locate others with common interest
; and self-direct without authoritative oversight. The result: leadership is truly shared and more are contributing in the community without the need to first obtain permission, or wait for assignments, or get direction from someone "in charge."
In this extremely empowering environment, participation, enthusiasm, support, loyalty, and increased knowledge strengthen the Drupal community.
mp3 File of Interview
http://community.nebraska.edu/amyblog/w ... eeting.mp3
Note: Introductions and part of the early discussion are missing. We had trouble with Skype noise. Thanks to Robert for switching us to a conference call line where all of those problems quickly disappeared.
Drupal Groups Discussion – February 19, 2007
I talked with Robert Douglass
and Moshe Weitzman
from the Drupal community this morning. Moshe built and manages groups.drupal.org
. Robert Douglass is very involved in Drupal and leader of several groups. We talked about Drupal Groups and empowering contributors in the Drupal community.
Joomla! has a well defined organizational structure. The core team
works together on overall goals and objectives. Volunteers can apply to join Joomla! working groups
and take assignments to help fulfill the stated missions of the groups.
Outside of that structure, community members are also free to contribute, be it in the forums, or by providing documentation, or starting users groups, or offering the community extensions. But, there is no enabling “tool” available to help community members find others with similar interest or to support collaborative efforts.
Essentially, the only real “structure” to Drupal relates to the workflow for code. For code to make it into the core, it must first pass peer review, then a short list of core committers, including Dries Buytaert
, project lead. Everything else is accomplished by community members initiating groups, finding one another, self-directing and contributing what they produce.
is the vehicle enabling community driven activities. This tool is used to initiative groups, helps locate others with similar interest and supports self-directed work groups. These groups can be physical User Groups, like the Austin Texas Drupal Users Group, or virtual groups focused on solving a technical issue, like Accessibility or Unit Testing; or a team intent upon using Drupal to advance quality of life issues in Africa or to focus on not-for-profit websites.
Establishing New Groups
Setting up a new group is simple. A community member uses the request form and guidelines
Guidelines are simple. Groups are encouraged to organize around broad topics, to avoid duplication or significant overlapping into another group’s domain and are also encouraged to allow open membership.
Groups can be:
- Open membership – people join without approval (vast majority of groups);
- Moderated membership – people request membership, group leader accepts or rejects members (ex. Summer of Code Mentors Group);
- Invite only – group owner invites members (very special purpose).
- Closed membership – administrative functions.
There are only two people, Moshe and another, who review and approve new groups and serve as site administrators. These are the “moderators” with a role essentially limited to enforcing group creation guidelines and closing inactive groups.
Inactive Group Removal
Groups that are not active are regularly pruned. It was noted Dries believes it is de-motivating for community members interested in contributing in a certain area to find a like-minded group and then to discover that the group has been motionless or without any accomplishment due to inactivity. For that reason, these groups are removed to allow the community to start towards the goal with a new beginning.
Community members review available groups
and subscribe, if interested. Typically, the act of subscribing also means membership since most groups are open to everyone.
Participate in Groups
There is really very little administration or authority over these self-directed work groups as they are responsible to take care of themselves. Group leaders moderate their own groups. Distributed, broadly shared leadership abounds at Drupal.
Groups are a collection of like-minded people interested in the same goals. You must be a member of a group to post in the group. Unless a post has been marked “private” anyone (member or non-members) can read posts in the group. Members receive email messages from group postings. There are RSS feeds for each group.
Forums and Groups
Forums and Groups are complementary tools at Drupal, each with distinct purposes.
End-user Support is the function of Drupal.org’s forums
. Community members with questions on how to do something specific or how to resolve a problem ask these questions on the forums. Forum moderators and more experienced end users help answer questions. As with Joomla!, finding enough help to support all of the questions is a challenge. Groups are not intended to address that challenge, however.
Drupal groups are for empowering community members as contributors. Groups are able to organize easily; people can find others with common interest; groups self-direct; and the result is more is shared with the community without obtaining permission or waiting for assignments or direction from someone in charge. It is this extremely empowering environment that is building ownership, participation and community and it produces results.
Discussion of Drupal Dojo Group
A very successful group formed is the Drupal Dojo
group. The Dojo group is a collection of community members all learning Drupal development together.
The leader hosts a course each Sunday where topics are discussed, raised by Dojo members during the week. They use a combination of Skype for voice, a screen sharing tool and IRC to create a very interactive communication platform.
During the week between lessons, group members take tasks to document or further research lesson material. The weekly broadcasts are shared with the broader community – so – a natural result of these gatherings is training material for others.
This is a highly active, very enthusiastic group that numbers well over 500 members. It is an excellent example of how empowerment is helping drive enthusiasm and produce future code contributors for this project.