7 principles for improving communities

I went to a conference a while ago to give a talk about FOSS for the NGO sector, mainly speaking to cooperatives and non-profits. Another speaker there gave an excellent talk that I wrote down to blog and am only now getting around to it 🙂 He basically spoke about how cooperatives can grow their communities and capacity when they are largely volunteer driven. The ideas below are largely around how to interact and encourage new participants, so it will likely be useful to every FOSS project out there. Everything he said made a huge amount of sense for the FOSS community, which is after all one big global cooperative 🙂

  • Openness – be open to input and differences of ideas
  • Inclusion – actively get people involved
  • Relevance – there needs to be meaning behind getting involved to give participants responsibility and pride
  • Respect – respect new members. Listen, ask questions, listen again
  • Opportunities – create a positive environment full of opportunities, eg – training, mentors, facilitators
  • Collaboration – help encourage groups of peers to collaborate. Don’t have “token” participants but rather everyone participating equally
  • Fairness – ensure there is fairness and justice in the organisation, and that people consider others in their actions (like a code of conduct)

I’m sure there are many FOSS projects that could draw from all of those in growing and improving their communities 🙂

One thought on “7 principles for improving communities”

  1. ‘N’excellent list, thanks Pia.

    Many of those look obvious at first glance but tend to get skipped or omitted because they’re similar to others or taken as read. For me, “Open” contains “Inclusion” but one point this list made is that it’s not so for everyone.

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