Google Adwords - not sure if off-topic

inode0 inode0 at
Sun Apr 18 21:37:12 UTC 2010

On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 3:05 PM, Robyn Bergeron
<robyn.bergeron at> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 11:12 AM, inode0 <inode0 at> wrote:
>> On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Nelson Marques <07721 at> wrote:
>>> On Fri, 2010-04-16 at 18:05 -0500, inode0 wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 5:46 PM, Nelson Marques <07721 at> wrote:
>>>> >
> <snipped a lot of things here....>
>> One of the things that somewhat distresses me about the work of
>> ambassadors is that I have a feeling that a lot of resources might be
>> going in directions that aren't the most fruitful. I'm sure we have
>> contributors who come to the project in just about every way that one
>> can imagine. But I see very few who enter from the places we seem to
>> focus our energies most (handing out media at events and having random
>> people download media). That is not to suggest that doing those things
>> isn't of value, it is just to suggest that I'm not sure it is the best
>> way to draw contributors into the project. I see a very large number
>> of contributors join the project from working in related communities
>> where Fedora contributors are also present. Fedora contributors "rub
>> off" on others in common communities and with encouragement of the
>> right people we increase the contributor base.
> One of the things we talked about as part of the Marketing Plan for
> F14 and beyond was "Building on-ramps" - i.e. creating ways for
> contributors to get involved, and one of those ways was "EasyFix" -
> things that can be easily done by a newcomer, without having a huge
> barrier to contribution.

Building on-ramps is great. Newcomers to Fedora come with all sorts of
pre-existing skill sets and for some things that seem to us to bring
with them high barriers to contribution don't phase them. So what you
are describing is helpful to the less skilled but good intentioned
newcomer. That is also though a long term investment with initial low
return to the project when compared to many potential contributors who
come full of skills in their area of expertise. They need help finding
their way around the project to get their bearings but they don't
really need small tasks to undertake.

> Another thing I'd like to note is that - and I may be wrong here - but
> I think a lot of people hear "contribute to open source" and they
> think, "I can't code."  We really need to emphasize the distinction to
> prospective contributors that coding is NOT a requirement.

That is probably true and it is probably one of the reasons that
artists for example don't really search out places like the Fedora
Project to participate in. I bet it is true of marketing people too.

Let me give you a small example from real life. #rhel on freenode is a
place where about 200 Red Hat Enterprise Linux people hang out
providing and receiving community support. This is an example of one
community of interest where the Fedora contributor community
intersects with another related community. While the Fedora
contributors there I would not characterise as salesmen, they often do
land in places of respect (communities like this one are meritocracies
too and it shouldn't surprise us that Fedora contributors work their
way up the ladder quickly). Friendships develop, conversations about
other things that interest us happen, one thing leads to another and
the result is new packagers for EPEL, new packagers for Fedora, new
ambassadors, new FreeMedia contributors, and more. While no one
"infiltrated" #rhel with the intention of recruiting new contributors
from there, it happens naturally when Fedora contributors intersect
with another community.

While #rhel is a community where sysadmins and coders hang out there
must be communities where artists hang out with each other and where
marketing people hang out with each other. There may well not be
"Fedora Ambassadors" in those communities but there could well be
Fedora contributors in them and if there aren't there could be.
Ambassadors largely don't meet these people at the booth at a linux
conference. These people are not going to walk into a Marketing FAD at
the Ohio LinuxFest. To meet these people we need to go where they are,
they won't come to us.

> Something I would love to see at events is to always have a FAD going
> on simultaneously - a room where prospective contributors can see
> Fedora people at work, having fun. A place where they can go and get
> involved.  To expound:
> * People coming up to the booth don't just get a CD - they get a slip
> of paper (1/4 or 1/2 sheet) saying, "Hey, we're having a Fedora
> Activity Day. Want to come contribute?" and pull some of the content
> from onto that flyer.  Something
> advertising loudly that there are many roles to fulfill in our project
> - NOT just coding.

The NOT just coding angle will be effective at events that aren't
coder heavy but I'm not sure which events we are thinking about where
we are going to meet new artists in any number. I'd love to see us
expand our event horizon to include design conferences and others
where we can expose those communities to what Fedora is doing and to
what they could be doing with us. We just barely scratch the surface
of what is possible now.

> * A "New Contributor Wrangler" present at the FAD - someone (dedicated
> to this purpose) who can sit with someone and guide them through the
> following:
>     ** Talk to the potential contributor about their interests / capabilities
>     ** Signing up for an account in FAS
>     ** Signing them up for a mailing list account and getting them
> into a FAS group - let them know when meetings are for that particular
> group.  If they're getting mail, they may show up to meetings, or
> check things out.  Maybe have a sheet highlighting what each
> individual group does, with how to sign up, when meetings are, and
> what they do.

I think this point is really a booth responsibility already.

> * Have a list of EasyFix items available for someone to work on. These
> could include things like:
>     ** editing something off a list of wiki pages for content / grammar
>     ** making wiki redirects for things like "Fedora_13_Artwork"
> point to "F13_Artwork"
>     ** for more advanced users / coder types - a list of fonts to package
>     ** for artist types - help us make a new banner for X
>     ** for those who aren't shy - Want to interview some other Fedora
> contributors on video (or help film, etc) about why they are involved
> in Fedora and what they do?
>     ** Bug zapping - specific items
>     ** Help us install Fedora on this batch of donated machines for
> $localschool.
>     ** Help us test this list of things that need to get tested on $newwebpage.
>     ** etc.
> * Alternately, if FAD activities are appropriate for Potential
> Contributor's capabilities - get them involved in the FAD!
> * We have cookies! or dinner! or whatever!
> I don't know if this would work - maybe we'd pick up a bunch of new,
> ongoing contributors, or maybe 2 or 3, or possibly none.  It would
> definitely be an experiment.  I think it's worth trying - it wouldn't
> take much effort to pass out a piece of paper with the CD or random
> swag and say, oh hey, if you're interested in contributing....
> Thoughts?

The idea of a FAD at every event is one others share with you although
I am one of the people with the opposite view who thinks that FADs
should almost always stand as their own event. There are exceptions, I
can see some FAD topics that are amenable to their being colocated
with another event.

I think the purpose of a FAD is to identify work that needs to be done
that can only get done or can get done faster by meeting face to face.
Identify who needs to be there to get the work done (this really
normally means current contributors with special skills) and get them
in the same place to focus on getting that work done.

Constant interruptions by curious conference attendees walking in and
asking questions I think is a distraction from the purpose of most
FADs. Yeah, you can man the door with someone to work with the
walk-ins but unless they actually join the FAD I don't see why that
couldn't be done at the booth or in the hall. And once they join the
FAD they need to be brought up to speed in whatever it is they are
barging into the middle of which is a distraction from the purpose of
the FAD.

FADs that run concurrently with another event also distract
ambassadors and other contributors from the other event which is often
not desirable too.

The west coast guys do run FADs with just about every event and have
learned a lot along the way. So I think they are getting good at
arranging them and handling the distractions. I guess we have an
ongoing experiment that we can draw from in this area. There is
probably room for both but my instincts are to focus on the event when
we are at an event and focus on a FAD when we are at a FAD.


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