Build Your Open Source Community Like a D&D Party

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Notes from an OSB 2018 session facilitated by Kojo. You can see an earlier talk by him on the same topic here.

How to let others contribute to the OS community? A lot of times people say “I can’t write code” or “I’m not very good at it.” Thinking of it from D&D perspective: a team of all wizards isn’t so useful.

Both on an individual project and as a larger community, what are the other roles? Beyond creating and maintaining the project there’s also the community around it. A project only continues to exist if there’s a community around it. If the community is bad and toxic, the project isn’t likely to survive

  • Wizard: lead developer
  • Luminary: public-facing person, speaking to the community (gives talk about Ruby at a Ruby conference)
  • Evangelist: public-facing speaking outside the community
  • Educators: teach people to use software
  • Documentation
  • Translators

How do you make sure that your community has a culture that’s engaging and inclusive? If you recognize that you have these different roles, you need an inclusive culture.

Evangelism is more common on corporate-funded OS projects, can they exist in community-led OS projects? Maybe split into different roles - blogging, testing, talking, not necessarily with that title. Mastodon’s community advocate as an example.

Paladin: “I have a very strong sense of righteousness” - looking out for code of conduct, making sure it’s a welcoming space.

Organizers: I’m herding people, herding mentors. “we’ve got a big push for this, we’ve got an event, let’s get everybody involved”

Bard: inspiring people, keeper/reteller of the history

Welcomer / Greeter / Onboarder: help you feel welcome, showing people around, lightweight mentoring, instilling with the culture (this is how we do things, how we don’t do things), being the person to go to if something isn’t quite right

Ranger/Pathfinder/Cartographer: “let me make you a map”

Cleric: “hey there’s this toxic behavior, lets’ talk about it”. how do i make a healing potion for my community?

Town Cryer: stand on a soapbox with a megaphone and amplifies

Fundraiser: What’s the D&D example? Rogue? Merchant?

Scout / Spy / Thief: scoping out what other communities are doing.

Bridge Builder: working with other communities

User advocate:

Monk: software craftsperson? helps others level up?

When teams are smaller, how to develop into this fully fledged well-rounded group?