Poll: Are You Satisfied With Current Community Engagement?

I recently wrote this long post, that did not get so much attention until now:

This is probably in part due to the title not referring to the gist / TL;DR of the topic:

  • Should the community focus on finding a Killer App or on making Solid a Killer Technology? Or both?
  • Are members here satisfied to be a Community of Interest (wait-and-see approach) or to be a Community of Action?

In general the main question boils down to:

How can our collective participation contribute most to the success of Solid as Killer Technology?

I feel that stronger community can be a big help in the success, but it requires more people to be actively involved with community-building and member-engagement. This volunteer work is time-consuming and not appealing for everyone. Maybe there’s no interest for this (I am doing such work myself, though for SocialHub community, but I’d love :heart: to see a strong complementary relationship to the community here).

So here’s a poll to gauge your feelings about this subject:

  • I am satisfied with current Community of Interest
  • I would love to see a Community of Action, but have no time to volunteer to its creation
  • I can actively help build a strong Community of Action to drive Solid forward as Killer Technology

0 voters

Maybe @megoth can pin this as a global topic for a while :pray:

I wonder if you mean by ‘community’ just those on this forum, because there are different communities. There are those on

  • this forum

  • gitter/matrix

  • github issues

  • pod chats

  • other forums/chats such as irc, reddit, twitter

  • radio silence

  • some combination of the above

Then within each of those there are some who are, or who have time for

  • building

  • sharing about what they build

  • talking

  • some combination of the above

I guess I left out spec’ing

I think it is broader than this forum. Anyone that furthers the technology base counts to the community. But in terms of empowerment it might be best to focus on what can comprehensively be considered “The Solid Project”.

There’s a number of channels in it that you mention, and each lends themselves for different community aspects. I.e. gitter/matrix, IRC are best for chat. This forum best for deeper, async, ongoing discussion, and as knowledge archive of sorts.

I’d say that Reddit - while also forum-like - together with Twitter are more external channels where the community does advocacy, promote the technology and in that way attract more members.

As for ‘community engagement’ I am more referring to community organization, doing the chores, rallying members, organizing events, addressing open issues, fostering a vibrant communty culture, making it easier for new members to join, etc. That goes beyond members just posting interesting things about their own project.

The developers favor dog fooding but at the present time its not at all easy to get started, as was recently illustrated when someone new to it started to use SoliOS. Fortunately she was very persistent and clear about the stumbling blocks, but most people would have given up much more easily. It would make dog fooding much easier if someone helped facilitate that sort of thing. Dog fooding has a bad sound to it, maybe there’s a better term.

That would be among the tasks that a community of action dedicates itself too. Make it easier, and hence progressively more ‘fun’ to participate, and be ‘on an adventure together’. @happybeing in the past posted about SAFE community, which is a good example, I think, of a very active group of people that forward the technology collectively (though with active help of Maidsafe, who are paid to do so… not sure about that though).

SAFE is different because it is an implementation, not a specification as far as I know. Solid is a specification and some beginning implementations to provide a substrate for an ecosystem. The core Solid panels are also very carefully using other existing and developing standards. Also SAFE has SAFEcoin which helps drive interest in it.

That makes no difference to the gist of what it takes to become a community of action, but may may entail a set of different approaches to community engagement and the type of activities that that involves.

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Oh, I see I should probably tag @Marrelleb or @justin to ask if the poll can be pinned for a while?

For those not involved in spec panels or their immediate implementations, wait and see makes sense because otherwise features need to be reimplemented every time Inrupt announces a new release. For such an early stage technology it’s incredible how much software is already obsolete.
I’d suggest that given the immaturity of Solid interoperability in particular, most action should consist of experimentation, and that this community has been effective at coordinating action in this regard.
My personal opinion is that expectations of Solid are not being set appropriately for newcomers. A lot of effort is being put into making it easier to start with the basics, without warning them that many of the essentials are not yet solved, and that rapid changes in spec should still be expected.

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Thanks @josephguillaume. Yes, indeed it makes sense and is why I phrased as “focus on finding a Killer App or on making Solid a Killer Technology? Or both?.

I think the question is more one of what can be done in addition to that to help ensure that the Solid Project flourishes? Like promotion and advocacy, organizing community events, writing and maintaining documentation, porting things to a different programming language, translate docs/articles to other languages than English, forge relationships to other communities, find funding for FOSS projects, etc.

And if doing experimentation you might consider if experiments on a lower-level of the stack might bear more fruits e.g. a devtool, a testsuite, widget library, than creating something higher up, like e.g. a chat app.

This is a very good point, and I fully agree. There have been a number of talks and public annoucements / articles that made it seem like Solid was on the verge of being rolled out across the entire web.

Communicating this well, and offering an onboarding experience for new members is one of the things where this community can offer their help :smiley:


Update: Happy to see 4 people already who want to roll up their sleeves and go for it. Nice! :partying_face:   Pity to note that the 3 tagged forum staff members didn’t weigh in, not even on the request to pin the topic :thinking:

@Marrelleb could we pin this topic globally for a bit to collect more responses on the poll?

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I would rather focus my attention on a broader survey designed not only to gauge interest but also to foster inclusivity and find what skills and ideas people have for the community and what can best make them feel welcomed and included and matched with projects that can use their skills. This has to happen on both the technical and non-technical aspects of Solid. We want a diverse a group of people building the tools and and a diverse group of people advocating for the technology. I think it would be a mistake to say that either is more important than the other, although I agree with you that we are weaker on the advocacy end right now.

As you know, solidproject.org, is both a website and an organized community, headed by Sir Tim and with a variety of teams that work on various aspects of the project. All teams are open to everyone though some positions on the teams are by appointment of the director. The newest team Solid Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team (DEIT) is in the process of creating a survey to answer some of the questions posed above. I encourage you (and everyone else) to join this team. Start by visiting us in the DEIT gitter chat room to discuss broadening the participation in Solid with diversity, equity, and inclusion as guiding principles. Ideas for the upcoming survey are welcome.

I also think that it would be great if there were a team focused on advocating for the technology and promoting legislation supporting our vision. Perhaps rather than a general poll, you should ask who wants to be on that team with you. Come to the next solidproject.org team meeting and brainstorm how such a team might fit in.

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I joined the Gitter channel via Matrix, and I encourage others to also join DEIT. There’s a lot of things to consider and here all small contributions and feedback count. Thank you @Marrelleb and @jeffz for starting this!

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Thanks are also due to @Virginia, @KyraAssaad, Sarven, as well as all members of the Solid Team who have been very supportive.

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