2015 was an important milestone for the Community Operations (CommOps) team in so many ways. CommOps is the newest official sub-project in Fedora, and the team’s role is to assist other sub-projects in Fedora. This is done by building and improving interactions within the internal Fedora community, as well as by increasing communication across the Project as a whole. In other words, CommOps is all about bringing more “heat and light” to the different areas of Fedora.
Since 2015 was the inaugural year of CommOps, the past year was a busy and engaging one. For many of us, it felt like the lists of tasks we completed (and list of tasks to be completed) grew, and continues to each day. For CommOps, this is fantastic and exciting, as it represents concrete actions we can take to improve Fedora Community Operations.
There are a few particular highlights from the past year that helped us really define our role in the Project, and we have some concrete goals we think will help Fedora succeed in the coming year.
CommOps Highlights of 2015
The CommOps team has racked up a few major accomplishments since our founding in October. Even though we’ve had only three months as part of the Project officially, it was already difficult to narrow down the list of highlights. The list is below!
CommOps is officially a sub-project
While it is a bit obvious, it was a major milestone for our sub-project to meet official recognition in Fedora. The idea of a sub-project focused specifically on the community infrastructure and architecture of Fedora has existed for many releases, but it really materialized towards the end of Fedora 22.
As the newest team in Fedora, we hope to make an even larger impact in 2016 as we continue to show ourselves and help other sub-projects in their roles of contributing to Fedora.
Introducing Community Blog
If this is your first experience with the Community Blog, its purpose is to be a central platform for news about Fedora, for Fedora. If a contributor in one part of Fedora wants to know what is happening in another part, they can look at the Community Blog and quickly see news and updates about what everyone is working on. The way things are now, it can sometimes be difficult to get a pulse of what’s happening across all of Fedora. You might have to dig into hard-to-find wiki pages or mailing list threads to see what’s happening. That can be tedious and sometimes frustrating! The Community Blog intends to ease this process.
Many ask what the difference between the Fedora Magazine and the Community Blog is. Good question! The Fedora Magazine focuses on a variety of content, sometimes technical “how-to” guides, announcements of things happening elsewhere in the world of Linux, or sometimes other topics with a slight relation to Fedora. In other words, not everything is specifically related to the work that Fedora contributors do every day, which is what the Community Blog is for. The wiki page for the Community Blog does a good job of explaining the difference more fully.
2015 December Elections
The most recent cycle of Fedora Elections held at the end of November and beginning of December was the next area where CommOps made our mark. As part of the Elections process, we helped the Fedora Program Manager, Jan Kuřík (jkurik), plan and execute the Elections. We guided candidates through creating and publishing their interviews on the Community Blog, created metrics and statistics about the Elections, and helped advertise the Elections across different channels of the Project. The result was the fourth most participated in Election of Fedora history, a significant improvement over the lowest turnout to date from our last Election cycle.
CommOps Goals for 2016
Federation (via Community Blog)
We want Fedorans to feel less like isolated groups working on their own separate things, and see more of their activities as part of a whole. Fedorans contribute their talents and abilities towards a common goal and mission, and we want to continue building the common platforms where those pieces can be seen coming together. And above all, promotion should not compete with execution. CommOps is here to bring light to your corner of the project, and weave individual stories into a project-wide narrative for the world to follow along with.
While this is a lofty goal, we are setting realistic expectations for this goal by aiming to double the amount of content published annually on the Community Blog as well as double the incoming traffic to the site.
Unification (via Fedora Hubs)
Unifying the disparate communication channels of a massive project like Fedora is no small task, but is another major goal of the CommOps team. Fedora Hubs has been under active research for two years now, and as a concept is well-reasoned and supported by both the design and infrastructure teams.
By 2017, we want Fedora Hubs to be the unified, mobile-friendly, modernized public “face” of Fedora.
Fedora Hubs makes use of the elegantly powerful, real-time messaging infrastructure of Fedmsg to combine and aggregate all the activity of sub-projects into one single “hub” of information. Fedora Hubs has also been heavily invested in by Design Team lead Máirín Duffy (mizmo / duffy) and her protege Meghan Richardson (mrichard), who did a phenomenal job of producing user interface and experience mock-ups and prototypes that intuitively present how the large amount of information provided by Fedmsg can be interacted with in manageable ways.
Diversification (via Outreachy and other programs)
Diversity of all kinds is healthy for any community or project. With increased diversity comes a new flow of ideas and innovation, new perspectives that might not have been realized, and an increased feeling of community. Whether it’s cultural, gender, racial, or other diversity, it is an important element of a community and has been prioritized as an area of improvement for Fedora.
As a direct way to jump-start this, we want to double our participation in the GNOME Outreachy program. 2015 Outreachy applicant Bee P. (bee2502) is a core member and leader within the CommOps team. Keerthana K. (keekri), another 2015 Outreachy applicant, was central to our Election efforts which ended up becoming a highlight of the year! The impact of these women’s contributions can be seen and felt project-wide. We want as many Bee’s and Keerthana’s in Fedora as possible, and the potential benefits offered by Outreachy are crystal clear.
CommOps is thrilled to be working with the new Fedora Diversity Adviser, María “tatica” Leandro, finding ways to improve our diversity outreach and engage new types of contributors in the Fedora Project.
To get where we want to go, we need to understand where we are. To do this, we’re going to need hard data about our community, its composition, and their priorities and interests, so that we can test hypotheses, and then create and execute a strategy.
By 2017, we want to have a Fedora Contributor and User Survey that provides us with data we can report back with on an annual basis.
Onboarding-ization (via Fedora badges)
A final goal that CommOps has set for ourselves this year is to create a series of badges for every sub-project of Fedora that serves as a “walk-through” of becoming a contributor to any given sub-project. Badges is one of the most effective ways to engage newcomers and has already had notable successes in its first few years of existence.
CommOps plans to interact with other sub-projects and find key steps or stages that new contributors typically go through on their way to becoming active contributors. Once those areas are identified, we will help come up with ideas and concepts for badges to “light the way” for newcomers who want to become involved with a specific area of Fedora.
CommOps: In summary
CommOps has had an exciting year so far and we are looking forward to getting 2016 off to a hot start. Our Trac has been active with new tickets, our IRC meetings have been busy, and the Community Blog has a bright future on the horizon.
On a more personal note, I would like to give special recognition to all the early contributors of CommOps who have helped get the sub-project running. Remy DeCausemaker, the Fedora Community Action and Impact Lead, has helped lead the team and provided mentorship to many, including myself. To the many who idle in our channel, hang out on our mailing list, and / or pop up in our meetings, thank you for your involvement, and I am looking forward to our mission of helping improve Fedora for current and future contributors!