As I mentioned in a previous post, getting the community of users (yes, that word again) to participate in the documentation process is a tough task. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure how to do that. I’ve seen a lot of good suggestions about creating communities in general, but very little about sustaining the interest and enthusiasm of that community once the initial glow wears off.
Because of my curiosity about this, one book that I’ve been looking forward since he announced it on his blog is Jono Bacon’s The Art of Community. Bacon is the community manager for Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, and my distro of choice. And if you know anything about the Ubuntu community (and the Linux community in general), it’s passionate. So, there has to be some benefit to reading about how to engage and build a community from someone who manages one as passionate as this.
What does this have to do with documentation? A lot. As I wrote a couple of paragraphs ago, getting users to participate in the documentation process (and to keep them participating) is difficult. And I think that The Art of Community might just give me a few pointers on this. Especially these topics:
- Building buzz – think outside the box and excite and enthuse potential community members to join your crusade, build capacity and keep the train running.
- Measuring aspects of community success – understand, assess and measure your community, discover what can be measured and how to react to the results.
Yes, I am excited about this one. The Art of Community, and Anne Gentle’s upcoming book, sound like they’ll complement each other quite nicely. Get ready to learn …