The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation

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"O'Reilly Media, Inc.", Aug 1, 2009 - Computers - 394 pages
3 Reviews

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - folini - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

"Community management is still a very new profession." (p356)
This ambitious volume is written smoothly enough that it can be seamlessly read in a long session. The role in question might be
likened to Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark". The book is part case study that benefits from hindsight and also a set of templates for strategic plans, teams and values built on trust. The model chosen for the latter distinguishes types of groups, risks and scalability. For example, there is something that keeps volunteers loyal through adversities, if not only a ballad.
Communities have notoriously been criticized for decision-making capabilities due to red-tape or lack of communication, so these layers are addressed by recommendations. The ability of the internet to handle distribution is exploited for advantage. Readers are given tools to create groups that would be self-correcting and -replicating, a sort of penguin meets guerrilla. The amount of planning is a difference from Agile, though there may be realtime interpretations that are hybrid.
In general, the tone is optimistic and the details are a good introduction to leadership and management. There are further details that will depend upon the specific social and organizational contexts. Each decade has had its successes and open-source's economic and disaster-recovery benefits have been timely. Not to be a "negativabunny" (p279), but it would be good to avoid a scorched-cyberspace for a few more decades. Meritocracy is an ideal that has had historical difficulties. The sections on government are of interest; where in the past older officials may have been parental, the younger are geared to seek effectiveness and avoid wrecklessness. Also the psychology of burnout is significant since new responsibilities often push past limits immediately. Ultimately, the economics may determine sustainability and, if pure donorship is not always available, there has to be a paying gig in the wings; workflow from SaaS and cluod are discussed. There is testing-related instruction for usability. Though a lot of web2.0 implementations are offered, socnets and mobile are not as explicit. There is more at Thanks


Chapter 1 The Art of Community
Chapter 2 Planning Your Community
Chapter 3 Communicating Clearly
Simple Is Sustainable
Chapter 5 Supporting Workflow with Tools
Chapter 6 Building Buzz
Chapter 7 Measuring Community
Chapter 8 Governance
Chapter 9 Handling Conflict
Chapter 10 Creating and Running Events
Chapter 11 Hiring a Community Manager

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About the author (2009)

Jono Bacon is an award-winning leading community manager, author and consultant. Currently the community manager for the worldwide Ubuntu community, Bacon is a regular keynote speaker, has also authored four books and acted as a consultant to a range of technology companies. Bacon's weblog (http: // is one of the widest read Open Source weblogs and he writes regularly about community management.

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