Applying open source methods to community organizing

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Most challenges we face when organizing WordPress community can be approached with one or more of the previously discussed ideas from open source theory. Transparency, iteration, egoless participation, and embracing imperfection are the tools we use to build WordPress community. Let’s look at some examples of how some of the expectations we set for community organizers relate to these ideas.

Official WordPress meetup groups agree to follow 5 good-faith rules, which were developed by WordPress meetup organizers (working in open collaboration), and these rules lay out some basic expectations:

1.    The group is for the benefit of the community, not specific businesses or individuals. (egoless participation)
2.    Membership is open to anyone. (many eyes, and also modeling that open bazaar concept)
3.    Everything is volunteer-based; speakers or organizers are not paid. (egoless participation)
4.    Anyone can organize an event. (many eyes, release early/often, “personal itch,” egoless participation, and also the open bazaar.)
5.    The community works together to make a welcoming environment, and discriminatory behavior is not accepted. (many eyes)

Welcoming, inclusive communities are truly necessary if we are trying to truly build that lively, open bazaar that makes open source work so well. If people think they don’t belong at an event, they are more likely to think they don’t belong in the community. If people don’t think they belong in the community, they will not participate. If only certain people participate, then the project is only useful for those certain people.

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