Creative Commons is committed to open-source software. We have over two dozen projects, spanning three times as many repositories on GitHub, each with its small, but extremely enthusiastic, subcommunity. With only a few full-time employees working on these projects, it is vital that we enable members from the community to take increased responsibility in developing and maintaining them, and growing the community of which they are a part.
With that goal in mind, we've launched our Community Team initiative.
What is the Community Team?
Communities that grow organically around open source projects tend to be a bit disorganised and the frequency of contributions and degree of involvement tends to vary from member to member. Our goal is to identify contributors who are actively involved within their communities and give them increased permissions over the codebase and access to more information channels and tools in an effort to empower them to participate more fully in the project.
This is not restricted to code though. We're also looking for people who work with the community on other aspects of the projects, such as design, documentation, evangelism, and onboarding to name a few.
- The Community Team establishes a framework for formalising the level of involvement, which is a spectrum, into discrete level or 'roles'.
- Each role is mapped to a set of responsibilities that a member holding the role is encouraged to take up.
- Each role also entrusts the members holding it to certain privileges, accesses and permissions, to help them execute these responsibilities.
Roles also progressively include members in our roadmaps and planning meetings to ensure that the community is aligned with our long-term goals.
What's in it for me?
The Community Team is not just a one-sided deal. Your membership in the Community Team is just as beneficial for the you as it is for us. While there is a laundry list of benefits that you're entitled to, I'll just mention some notable ones here.
- You gain real-world practical experience of working on open-source projects.
- You gain both soft-skills and technical-skills by interacting with other developers from both the community as well as CC staff.
- Since we've already seen the quality of your work and involvement with the community, you get priority in internship applications*.
Oh and, lest I forget, you'll receive CC swag!
What are these 'roles'?
If you've reached this point, I assume you see the potential of the Community Team. Let's see where you'd fit in them.
We have two kinds of roles, code-oriented Project roles, that give you responsibilities and permissions related to one CC project, and non-code-oriented Community Building roles, that give you responsibilities and permissions related to improving the community of all CC projects as a whole.
Each type has a few levels but that I'll just link them for you to read on your own. While your eligibility for any role depends on how involved you have been in the past, the role you choose reflects how involved you would like to be in the future.
Start by asking yourself a simple question, "Do I code?"
"Sure, I can code..."
That's awesome! We have projects in a diverse array of languages, using myriad tools and frameworks. Depending on the skills you have, or are planning to acquire, you can pick a project and start contributing to it. Based on your contributions and your familiarity with the codebase, you can then apply for the role that matches your desired level of involvement.
So if you want to be lightly involved with code-reviews and would like to know about our plans in advance, you can start off as a Project Contributor. This is a fantastic role to get started with and ensures that you get excellent mentorship as you start your FOSS journey.
As your familiarity with the codebase increases, you might want to triage incoming issues or block certain PRs that you've reviewed. You could escalate your role to Project Collaborator. Want to me more involved? You can apply to be a Project Core Committer, or even a Project Maintainer.
"No, I can't code..."
That's cool too! We realise that open source communities are never just about the code. If you're passionate about growing the CC community by enabling new contributors to get started or by spreading the word, you can apply for one of the Community Building roles. Like the Project roles, there are a couple of levels to choose from.
Community builders have a whole different set of responsibilities and privileges specifically catered to the unique task of cultivating a healthy community around our many open source projects.
So if you want to be lightly involved with onboarding new contributors to the repositories and the workflows, you could start off as a Community Contributor. This is a fantastic role to help new contributors get a headstart in their journey with FOSS.
As your familiarity with the community increases, you might want to suggest tweets for our Twitter account, or pariticipate in long-term community building tasks from Asana. You could escalate your role to Community Collaborator. Want to me more involved? You can even apply to be a Community Maintainer.
The Community Team is a fairly novel idea for us and we're still tweaking things along the way. For example, we recently merged of two Project roles, namely Project Member and Project Collaborator, when we realised they weren't so different. As we internalise these roles more and more, we'll find more scope for improvement and we'll continue to refine these roles over time.
We're excited about the Community Team. If you're interested in joining us on this ride, it's really easy to get started.
*We do not guarantee that you will be accepted if you apply for an internship!