electronic brain surgery since 2001

Growing the DokuWiki Community

Some of you may know that I visited the FrOSCon conference a few months ago. But I didn't blog about it. Not because there wasn't anything worth mentioning, but because it gave me too much to think about that I couldn't write down right away.

The conference had quite a few sessions on Open Source communities and what makes them work - or not. And that got me started on thinking about the DokuWiki community state.

I think we're doing well, but could do better. A nice metric one of the speakers gave, was the bus factor:

The bus factor equals the number of people that need to be hit by a bus before nobody understands the code anymore. For most Open Source projects that factor is 1.

I think we can surely say DokuWiki's bus factor is significantly higher than 1. But is that enough?

Unfortunately an awful lot of stuff is still very much depending on me. This is starting to become a problem. Not only for my work/life balance, but also for the growth of DokuWiki. The DokuWiki project can only progress with a working community that takes care not only of development, but also of doing support and “marketing”.

Over the last months I tried to make a few first steps to foster community building by implementing a few ideas I had while listening to the FrOSCon talks:

  • Display MonsterID avatars in the forum to give everyone a “face” and encourage people to set up their own avatar
  • Creation of the community subforums where people can introduce themselves or organize user meetings
  • Creation of the newsletter and trying to find a team to maintain it
  • Talking to people personally asking them to step in for a certain task they showed interest in
  • Made the wiki use the forum logins to connect people's forum identities with their wiki activities

I still have a few more ideas I want to apply over the next months. One of them is to give more people commit access to the DokuWiki source code. This will probably include switching from darcs to the more popular git RCS1).

But all this is just technology. The important thing is to get people working together - even face to face. For example I'm happy to announce that there is a Japanese DokuWiki User Group in founding currently2).

I encourage everyone to start their own user meetings.

DokuWiki User Map

Here's another gimmick: have a look at the map below. It displays all forum users who set up their location in their profile. Zoom in to see individual users. Maybe you find two or three others in your area to do a little meetup?

Map data is refreshed every night. Just set up your location in your forum profile.

dokuwiki, community, forum
Similar posts:
No ETA, yet
More info will probably be available in the new Japanese sub forum soon