Building an open source community

group-photoToday I created a new Meetup group called Open Source LA. I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but I think there’s room for this kind of group.

And I posted a message to the group, which currently consists of just me, paraphrasing David Hurley’s recent opensource.com post:

(1) You are still on the hook for support: just because you open source the project doesn’t mean that any developers are going to jump out there and answer support questions.

(2) You need to be the innovator: just because other people can fork and enhance your code doesn’t mean they will; your codebase will likely stagnate without your heavy involvement.

(3) Nurture your contributors: why should anyone help you? If you were building a community playground together, how would you encourage people to help? (Actually, Mr. Hurley put this point quite differently, but this is my post so I get to paraphrase.)

(4) Explain your mission, make it transparent, and stick to it closely.

(5) Fail fast: this is kind of obvious to me at a product level, but I think the idea of “failing” in front of a whole community by writing crappy code or making shoddy architectural choices is something a lot of coders — including me — fear. Don’t.

I hope you’ll consider joining my little Meetup group — or at least tell me why I should fail fast! The group is here: Open Source LA.

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