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The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation

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Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you're supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. The Art of Community will help you develop the broad range of talents you need to recruit members to your community, motivate and manage them, and help them become active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you're supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. The Art of Community will help you develop the broad range of talents you need to recruit members to your community, motivate and manage them, and help them become active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers a collection of experiences and observations from his decade-long involvement in building and managing communities, including his current position as manager for Ubuntu, arguably the largest community in open source software. You'll discover how a vibrant community can provide you with a reliable support network, a valuable source of new ideas, and a powerful marketing force. The Art of Community will help you: Develop a strategy, with specific objectives and goals, for building your community Build simple, non-bureaucratic processes to help your community perform tasks, work together, and share successes Provide tools and infrastructure that let contributors work quickly Create buzz around your community to get more people involved Track the community's work so it can be optimized and simplified Explore a capable, representative governance strategy for your community Identify and manage conflict, including dealing with divisive personalities


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Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you're supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. The Art of Community will help you develop the broad range of talents you need to recruit members to your community, motivate and manage them, and help them become active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you're supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. The Art of Community will help you develop the broad range of talents you need to recruit members to your community, motivate and manage them, and help them become active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers a collection of experiences and observations from his decade-long involvement in building and managing communities, including his current position as manager for Ubuntu, arguably the largest community in open source software. You'll discover how a vibrant community can provide you with a reliable support network, a valuable source of new ideas, and a powerful marketing force. The Art of Community will help you: Develop a strategy, with specific objectives and goals, for building your community Build simple, non-bureaucratic processes to help your community perform tasks, work together, and share successes Provide tools and infrastructure that let contributors work quickly Create buzz around your community to get more people involved Track the community's work so it can be optimized and simplified Explore a capable, representative governance strategy for your community Identify and manage conflict, including dealing with divisive personalities

30 review for The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela Randall

    I think Jono needs to be a little more clear on who his audience is exactly. He gives many examples from an opensource community with a focus on writing software together (which leaves the examples with enough technical jargon that I wouldn't recommend the book to be read by really non-technical people) and then he details specifics of how Twitter works (which I'm sure wasn't really relevant to people who are technical enough to understand his examples). I think the book is well balanced in term I think Jono needs to be a little more clear on who his audience is exactly. He gives many examples from an opensource community with a focus on writing software together (which leaves the examples with enough technical jargon that I wouldn't recommend the book to be read by really non-technical people) and then he details specifics of how Twitter works (which I'm sure wasn't really relevant to people who are technical enough to understand his examples). I think the book is well balanced in terms of providing an overall idea of concerns for a community manager. In fact, it is so comprehensive that it leans towards the obvious. But, the examples such as they are, I'd be inclined to say that people running project-based online communities will benefit the most from it. I personally wouldn't recommend it to arts community managers unless they had some technical inclination - even though they would benefit the most from the social media for community managers section. PS. This book is available free to download from here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tee Jay

    The Art of Community is a good read, although it may be slightly too technical for those looking to start a community that is not software-based. At times I found myself thinking, “what would grandmothers, church groups, or any other non-technical crowd make of this?” I understand that Jono has tremendous experience as a community manager for Ubuntu, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just think that the book is slightly out of focus when it attempts to simultaneously address both the techni The Art of Community is a good read, although it may be slightly too technical for those looking to start a community that is not software-based. At times I found myself thinking, “what would grandmothers, church groups, or any other non-technical crowd make of this?” I understand that Jono has tremendous experience as a community manager for Ubuntu, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just think that the book is slightly out of focus when it attempts to simultaneously address both the technical and non-technical crowds. My advise would be to pick one audience and stick with it, not write for both. The result of not having just one audience firmly in grasp is a sort of communication breakdown that occurs because, for some readers, the text is too technical, while for other readers the book may not be technical enough. A perfect example of this audience disconnect is when Bacon explains Twitter: for one group it will be a sufficient explanation, while for the more technical audience, the Twitter explanation verges on the insulting (I’m sure no insult was intended, but the technical crowd can certainly be an ornery group at times.) Nonetheless, The Art of Community is still a good read, and should be read for anyone thinking of starting a technical community. There are countless invaluable nuggets to be found within its covers. Also important is that there is a second edition currently being written and if you don’t like something in this first edition, or would like to see changes or expansions made, I’m certain Bacon will be glad to hear from you. His website and blog are only a couple of clicks away where readers are indeed encouraged to participate in discussion. And perhaps this characteristic, above all others, is what makes The Art of Community so compelling, so valuable: the characteristic that readers can participate in the book’s actual creation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I think this book is fairly outdated to the point that some parts may not even be useful for new community managers (explaining what blogs and Skype are, oof). Also, all of the examples are from open-source, highly technical communities. I understand that these communities are some of the best early examples of communities...but he couldn't have come up with a few other examples to help illustrate his points and make his book more inclusive? My biggest frustration with this book was the unspoken I think this book is fairly outdated to the point that some parts may not even be useful for new community managers (explaining what blogs and Skype are, oof). Also, all of the examples are from open-source, highly technical communities. I understand that these communities are some of the best early examples of communities...but he couldn't have come up with a few other examples to help illustrate his points and make his book more inclusive? My biggest frustration with this book was the unspoken assumption that people will spontaneously find each other and start a community; he did not address the idea that companies or organizations could provide a service by forming communities. (He did talk about corporate sponsorship of established communities, which I think is very different.) Because of this glaring omission there were sections of the book that did not come across as very useful, like the chapter on "building buzz". That chapter came off as very amateur, a very "if you build it they will come, if you post flyers!" mentality. If you're just getting started as a community manager or are stepping into a leadership role in an online community for the first time, sections of this book will still be relevant. There's a long detailed section on governance that is probably still useful, for example.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    I like the book in general, but I think that it's focus is primarily communities writing software. I think that this book will be primarily helpful for open source community managers. Although Jono has examples from music community, they are not as detailed as his software examples. Some of the things mentioned are heavily outraged by now, such as google+ I like the book in general, but I think that it's focus is primarily communities writing software. I think that this book will be primarily helpful for open source community managers. Although Jono has examples from music community, they are not as detailed as his software examples. Some of the things mentioned are heavily outraged by now, such as google+

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yves Hanoulle

    I love this book. It's a few years ago I bought this book. Recently I read it again and I noticed I used so many of these ideas in the communities I am building. I build communities during my whole life, yet it was only after I had read this book, that my communities started to thrive. I see some remarks that this is only about opensource projects I disagree. yes the examples are comming from the open source communities. I think that is normal as that is Jono's world. For me they work both in the co I love this book. It's a few years ago I bought this book. Recently I read it again and I noticed I used so many of these ideas in the communities I am building. I build communities during my whole life, yet it was only after I had read this book, that my communities started to thrive. I see some remarks that this is only about opensource projects I disagree. yes the examples are comming from the open source communities. I think that is normal as that is Jono's world. For me they work both in the commercial as in voluntary communities I have. Thank you Jono.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob Delwo

    The author clearly knows his stuff and there are some good bits of information. While most of the content is good the book could use an update. A lot has changed in technology since this book was written: Github, Stack Overflow, Twitter and more. This new social tech that has become commonplace changes the platforms used for community adoption. However, the main messages about transparency, honesty, leadership and finding a voice are relevant irrespective of the platform chosen.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Good info, but tedious reading The book is really about community management, IE. Managing people from around the world who may not be under your direct authority. It started off well, but it is hard to get through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michal

    First 100 or so pages are a great introduction into building communities. The next 500 pages, though, are mostly devoted to practicalities of open source software communities or other communities focused on developing a product online.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Justin Melloni

    This book has a bunch of great advice for running a community. It is an invaluable tool for any community managers. However, it is a bit long and it is definitely focused around building an Open Source community.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Max Yekaterynenko

    Tremendous work being done by Jono to create the book. It covers all aspects of community management, sometimes event too many details. Overall great book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Biret

    Interesting and detailed. A bit too much detailed for me in facts.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Bacon, Jono. The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation. O’Reilly, 2009. Bacon became fascinated with Ubuntu, Linux, and the open source world, learned as much as he could about it (largely self-taught), and started teaching others, through articles, podcasts, blogs, discussion forums, and now this book. Bacon’s concern in the book is the power of community. Given that so many pundits are heralding a new age of collaboration, unlimited by geographical boundaries, how does one Bacon, Jono. The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation. O’Reilly, 2009. Bacon became fascinated with Ubuntu, Linux, and the open source world, learned as much as he could about it (largely self-taught), and started teaching others, through articles, podcasts, blogs, discussion forums, and now this book. Bacon’s concern in the book is the power of community. Given that so many pundits are heralding a new age of collaboration, unlimited by geographical boundaries, how does one go about organizing those who are interested in a given cause? Bacon has been involved with several online communities, and this book is basically a how-to manual about forming a community that will last, produce, collaborate, and even get along. Bacon describes each step toward building a complex, multi-functional community. He asserts that these communities can be formed around any interest, on- or off-line, but it appears to me that the primary audience of the book will be those few who are actually running, or contemplating running online communities (as well as those of us who are interested in how the internet environment is shaping collaboration). He uses plenty of examples, so the book avoids sounding like a list of instructions; in addition to listing the necessary steps, Bacon offers comments from his own experiences, both positive and negative. Bacon has a fortunate combination of technical expertise and writerly love for language. He recognizes that, as he puts it, “the mechanism behind communication in a community is stories” (8). I imagine that part of the reason for his success in the open source world is his (unusual, for a techie) recognition of the value of human connection; he knows that while some programmers are programming for open source to scratch an itchy bug, even these guys will appreciate being accepted, encouraged, and appreciated by the members of their community. He encourages the leaders of the community to recognize this and to take intentional steps to make it happen. 3/5*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Franco

    Jono Bacon's book makes a very interesting reading despite the misleading title. I manage a few online communities and I was interested in learning from an experienced professional (Jono) how to improve my communities and my management style. The title of the book, as well many of the reviews I read were very positive. Only after reading a few dozen pages I recognized that this was not the book I was expecting. “The Art of community” is not about all online communities, it’s only about online co Jono Bacon's book makes a very interesting reading despite the misleading title. I manage a few online communities and I was interested in learning from an experienced professional (Jono) how to improve my communities and my management style. The title of the book, as well many of the reviews I read were very positive. Only after reading a few dozen pages I recognized that this was not the book I was expecting. “The Art of community” is not about all online communities, it’s only about online communities for open-source software. Great topic if your community is about developing some piece of software in an open-source context, but not very useful if your community is a group of people sharing a common interest but not working together toward a common goal. Jono tries to generalize his experience for a wider audience presenting a few non-open-source cases and examples. But it’s evident he has neither experience to support such generalization nor a real interest in adventuring outside the familiar open-source territory. If your community is an open-source community, get the book and religiously read every single word of it. If your community is about cars, movies, commercial software, or something else save your time and your money.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eva Amsen

    Most examples come from the tech community, and not everything translates to other fields: For example, he talks a lot about situations where the community works together on a project. That isn't as common outside of tech, where often a community just gets together (online or elsewhere) to discuss things - not create things. Some chapters in the book I just skipped through because they either weren't relevant to me, or just long lists of tips that are good to have as a reference, but not so grea Most examples come from the tech community, and not everything translates to other fields: For example, he talks a lot about situations where the community works together on a project. That isn't as common outside of tech, where often a community just gets together (online or elsewhere) to discuss things - not create things. Some chapters in the book I just skipped through because they either weren't relevant to me, or just long lists of tips that are good to have as a reference, but not so great to read through. I do really like Chapter 7, "Building Buzz", which does go beyond the tech industry and really emphasizes how communities grow and how to reach an audience. (However, even here there tends to be too much detail. It starts with a great big picture overview, and later goes into the nitty-gritty of how to submit a paper to a conference.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luciano Palma

    A good book, clarifying a lot about the work of a Community Manager and showing the value that companies can get by understanding the dynamic of Communities and investing on it. Unfortunately, the author focus so much on describing his job, transforming the book in a guide for dealing with open source software development Communities. The tools and technologies involved sometimes are really specific, as well as some processes that are more of a picture of what the author's company already do than A good book, clarifying a lot about the work of a Community Manager and showing the value that companies can get by understanding the dynamic of Communities and investing on it. Unfortunately, the author focus so much on describing his job, transforming the book in a guide for dealing with open source software development Communities. The tools and technologies involved sometimes are really specific, as well as some processes that are more of a picture of what the author's company already do than a general framework for "managing" any Community (sorry for using the term "managing"... just like the author, I don't believe that Communities should be "managed"... :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    William

    Jono is great but he really doesn't know how to write about what he does. Jono is great but he really doesn't know how to write about what he does.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trella

    Fresh out of college, I was determined to find a textbook for my brand new field. The Art of Community filled that need beautifully.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Efe Misirli

    The only book on the market on community building right now. Well written though kinda longer than it has to be.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I've started this book twice; once on the computer, and once on my ereader. I'm in the middle of something else right now, but I think this is the next book I'm reading. I've started this book twice; once on the computer, and once on my ereader. I'm in the middle of something else right now, but I think this is the next book I'm reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    A brilliant discussion of building communities on line. Everything is here. All you need to do is get started!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda Small

    Excellent

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gmastalli

    Textbook like resource that is also highly readable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Justin Andrusk

    Not bad and much of what Bacon said amounts to adapting solid organization skills to a community.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn how to better "herd cats". Highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn how to better "herd cats".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  26. 4 out of 5

    Serge Matveenko

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Chinchilla

  28. 5 out of 5

    Neli Maria Mengalli

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beka

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sven

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