2014/ Badging and Beyond: Rubrics and Building a Culture of Recognition as Community Building Strategies

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What are the qualities you need more of in your open source community?

Speaker: Larissa Shapiro

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Slides up at: http://www.slideshare.net/larissashapiro/recognition-osb-36447243

Building a culture of recognition in your open source project can help build a diverse community.

Mozilla has a project called Open Badges - a database of achievable milestones represented by images, each meaning something within a community. (Badges are also really useful as a way to count & organize contributions and contributors - they're used within Mozilla's support volunteer system, and it's great to see x contributors have answered y tweets/emails/etc.)

Badges are probably not a primary form of recognition. (People sometimes get confused about this and think Mozilla is promoting badges as the best way to recognize people.)

Recognition means letting each other know we see their good work. It builds community. We want to build cultures of recognition and appreciation. (We're giving a lot - it's nice to get something in return.)

Consider: How do you like to be recognized? How does your project recognize people? Among the answers: People seem to appreciate Linkedin recommendations from mentors. A lot of people (especially women) don't like t-shirts. Surprisingly effective swag: socks, luggage tags (practical - unique, advertises that you're in this crowd). Swag can reinforce cultural identity.

Recognition is super hard at scale. And asking people how they want to be recognized can be a hard question for people to answer. But totally check what people prefer - not good to recognize them in ways they don't like.

Examples: Dreamwidth - instead of change logs for software diffs, they have stories in prose with names of contributors. Mozilla - after people contribute for the first time, their names get listed in public meetings. Mozilla - somebody knitted a scarf for a person who won a contest to guess the millionth bug.

Badges identify specific rubric-based skillsets within a context. (Defining the specific things can be controversial/challenging.)

Some people are more interested in gamification than others (observations of younger people being more into it). The Badge Alliance website is doing research on badges and their effectiveness.

discover.openbadges.org - Started out as a way to visualize a career, repurposed as visualizing contributing to open source. (Such as successfully did first pull request, successfully localized five documents, etc.) You can build your own progression and also see other's people's paths. Not a personal recognition tool, but a way to clarify specific skill sets and help people visualize them and document them.

Resources! Mozilla has a recognition toolkit - swag, events, monument. badgekit.org. Mozilla crafting blog. Doing contributor stories - "mensch of the month". Newsletter every two weeks with interviews of contributors - motivating for recognized person and inspiring for other people.