Read community blogs on P2PU Planet!

April 28, 2010, [MD]

As we are building the P2PU community, we are constantly thinking about how to organize communications, how transparent we should be, how we can make the community welcoming and attract more volunteers, etc. Initially it started as mostly communications between the five founders, then after Berlin, we felt like a really strong bigger community, and we began to push most of the conversation onto the "gang" list, which has now grown to about 35 members, who have all been very active in the community.

But we want to keep growing, and be welcoming to people coming in from the outside. One of the things I often think about is what I would do and think, if I had just discovered P2PU now, rather than being part of it from the beginning. How would I seek information, be inspired to join, what opportunities would I have? When I've been interested in getting involved with communities in the past, I've often visited their "planets" - sites that aggregate blogs from the community. So I used to read Planet KDE regularly, following the different developers thoughts and ideas.

As P2PU develops, we struggle with a huge amount of issues – we constantly want to improve our platform, the way courses run, people's level of engagement – but we are also stepping into virgin soil, and have to experiment as we go along. We have wonderful long conversations between community members when we meet, or on Skype, and there are long e-mail discussions on the gang list about every aspect of online learning. This has been the most incredible learning experience for me.

And it has struck me that we should be more open, share more of our ideas, questions and conundrums – because we are not the only ones thinking about these issues, and to really move forward, we need the ideas and help from everyone in the community. We need to open up more, and involve more people in our conversations.

P2PU already has an "official" blog, for announcements and things we want to share with the community. Yet, I often felt a bit hesitant to post things there, thinking I needed to "think it out more thoroughly", that it wasn't very suitable for such a public platform, etc. (Sometimes my braindumps can be quite long and dense). So the idea of a Planet that would aggregate together the different personal blogs (usually just the category relevant to P2PU) seemed like a great idea. This way, I feel more incentive to write about P2PU, since it will get exposed to a larger audience, but still have a lot of freedom to experiment with how I tell it, since it's "my blog". It's also great to see what all the other members of the community are thinking.

In addition to exposing more of the community through blogs, we are also working on the community functions of the platform itself. The P2PU Lounge has emerged as the de-facto hang out place for new and old community members, and it has the advantage over the mailing list that anyone can view the post, and anyone who is logged in can contribute (you have to request entry for now, because it works like a course, but it's automatically granted to all). So hopefully that's what I would have done if I came to P2PU now – I would have looked around the site, read the official blog and the Planet to get the "pulse" of the community, and then joined the Lounge and thrown myself into discussions.

We should also come up with some kind of a task list, or "junior dev jobs" which some open source projects have, because there are many who want to help out and don't quite know where to start.

Lot's to do, lot's of exciting ideas, but I invite you all to follow along, comment liberally and share of your wisdom and experience, or join us in this crazy journey!


Stian Håklev April 28, 2010 Toronto, Canada
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