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Defining a New Community

Article Source Community-cation
May 14, 2009, 12:45 pm
 
So far, the response to the new Linux.com has been really positive and, save for a few glitches here and there, we've  been very happy with how the launch has gone thus far. As we transition from launch mode to operations mode, it's worth taking a little time to reflect on what we're going to be doing on Linux.com.

The question has come up from readers and pundits alike about what we hope to accomplish. The most succinct is from Dana Blankenhorn, who asked what community we'd be serving.

"The answer can be drawn either narrowly or broadly. Narrowly, it’s about the Linux operating system and applications that run on Linux. Broadly, it’s also about open source, the community ethos arising from it, the values of those communities, and the future of the Internet.

"These are questions publishers, editors and writers are constantly fussing over. The editor’s answer is it depends on what the readers want. The publisher’s answer is it depends on what the advertiser wants, what the market the site seeks to serve wants.

"It will be fun to see how the Linux Foundation, a non-profit consortium, answers that question over the next weeks, months and years. Y’all are a publisher now."

In the strictest sense of the word, Dana's got a point--because we're hosting and manging this web site, the LF is indeed a publisher. But his label might diverge from our take on Linux.com. As things settle into place, the readers will help be the editors and the determinators of what will be going on the site.

I think the biggest thing in making a community like Linux.com successful is let the community guide itself. It's really easy to try to say "I want this community to do this" and then be immediately frustrated when "this" isn't on the community's agenda.

This isn't to say it's all free-form; some limits can be set, just like any other community. Linux.com will always be about Linux and we should always try to make Linux accessible to as many people as possible.

Something I saw in a webinar a while back has stuck with me as we built Linux.com: a good way to motivate a community is to let its members be the expert in something. So if you want to show off your mad Linux skilz,  then Linux.com will give you the chance.

Now, back to work...

 

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