The Art of Community
Building the New Age of Participation
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2009
Pages: 394

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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O'Reilly MediaThe Art of Community
 
4.1

(based on 7 reviews)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Helpful examples (5)
  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (5)
    • Novice (4)
    • Expert (3)
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    3.0

    The Art of Community

    By gregorywest

    from sarnia, ontario, canada

    About Me Educator, Sys Admin

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Student

      Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

      Amanda McPherson, of the Linux Foundation, declares this book "isn't just for technology leaders - anyone who wants to harness community for their cause should read this book." I agree.

      This book is about "B E L O N G I N G". Bacon tells us this should be a sign in everyone's office and should be "at the forefront of your inspiration behind building a strong community. If there is no belonging, there is no community." I agree.

      This book gives us the tools to build "strategic plans" to build our own communities, whether it be in a church, a computer group, on an online forum. Bacon speaks to all communities. Bacon also demonstrates how "communication is the key to tying it all together and "leading by example" as many examples are given throughout.

      I agree with Bacon's principle that "simple is sustainable". He talks about "processes" that keep things in perspective, "eyes on the prize", keeping things in perspective with our said plan for the community and how it functions. We are shown how to build alliances and then test how we fare in the community in by using a "conflict resolution process".

      My need for this book is to help build my community within my website. I find it helpful while setting up a training structure for volunteers who help seniors learn about computers and technology. Building an effective community is what this book is all about. We are taken by the hand in a sort of step-by-step process, one that works in the Linux community, and others across the globe. We need to work and build effectively together, this book show us the way.

      Leo Laporte says that "Jono has written a guide with everything you need to keep your online groups healthy and productive." Online or off, every group should read this book.

       
      5.0

      Maybe best non-fiction book I've read

      By Kevin Gamin

      from Medina, Ohio

      About Me Educator, Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Expert
        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

        My first exposure to Jono Bacon was when he was the host of the FLOSS Weekly podcast on the TWiT podcast network. I really enjoyed his personality and British wit, but, outside of having used the Ubuntu Linux operating system on occasion, I knew little about Jono's role as Community Administrator at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, much less why such a position would be useful, for Ubuntu our for any organization. After reading Jono's book, The Art of Community, I have a much clearer understanding of not only how important it is to support a strong community, but also what it takes to build and fortify a community to be strong.

        As I mentioned before, Jono Bacon is the Community Manager for Ubuntu. As a prominent and successful open source operating system, Ubuntu has a large community of proponents, made up of a diverse population of users, developers, documentation experts, and many other areas of expertise and interest. Keeping a community of this size happy, actively involved, and organized is no small task. Jono has taken his experience with the Ubuntu community, as well as with other communities he has been involved with, and passed that knowledge to us.

        I found this book incredibly interesting and useful as I am also involved in a community surrounding my favorite activity, drum and bugle corps, both in general and as a member of an online discussion forum, Drum Corps Planet. As I read through the book, I found more and more ideas and examples which I felt I could use in my interactions with the drum corps community. By the end of the book, I wanted to recommend the book to ask the administrative members of DCP, as well as to some of the leaders in the general drum corps community. While some of the ideas presented in The Art of Community have basis in common sense, there are plenty of concepts which can help community leaders think outside of the box.

        I also enjoyed Jono's writing in his book. The structure of the book was very well thought out and, combined with Jono's writing style and personality, convey not only Jono's expertise and experience, but also his passion for what he does. Jono is a believer in the power of a community as well as the concept of open source, and being able to combine these two into a single passion is a rare opportunity in life. That Jono does the same with open source and heavy metal through his band Severed Fifth is even more impressive and is another example of how passionate Jono is about what he believes in.

         
        3.0

        Good Advice on managing Communities

        By Ken

        from St. Vincent

        About Me Student

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Novice

            Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

            I have definitely become enlightened on the complex process of community building.
            The Art of Community is a simple guide to creating, building and maintaing communities.
            The message in this book is simply this; the worldwide internet community is no different from your neighborhood.
            Community building is simply a general art form that we can all learn to be good at just as children learn social skills over time.

            I wish that I had this book last year when I did my Communication Studies. Jono shared a lot about communicating clearly, and gaining and keeping your audience.
            He also shared many personal experiences, but I however did not find many of them easy to relate to so their effects were minimal. They included mostly his work world and I think that he could have tried to apply some of his theories to other experiences or other 'worlds' beyond the computer world. Like the work of a teacher and the little community in his/her class- just to be more practical.
            This book however appealed to me personally and I would recommend it to anyone.

             
            4.0

            Contains what it says on the box

            By Rob

            from Brisbane, Australia

            About Me Developer, Manager

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice

              Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

              The Art of Community provides good coverage of community, helping readers to think about building a community and the tasks and work involved in doing so.

              For me this book comes at a good time as I step into a new role at Ephox, leading our JavaScript and TinyMCE work, looking at getting involved with the TinyMCE community and thinking about how Ephox can best get involved with enterprise and the greater community.

              Jono writes well making the book a good read, presenting his experience and thoughts very clearly and coherently. The book makes good use of examples and is definitely readable. It struck me as useful in my early stages of thinking about community (myself being earlier in thinking than the community I'm getting into), and had information and examples pertinent to much bigger communities as well. I've highlighted and bookmarked many pages in iBooks for my future reference, as I expect that the topics will come up in future communities that aim a part of. Many other parts matched and confirmed my experiences and conversations that I've had with different people about community in the past. In particular the comments around programmers and mailing lists rang true.

              Overall I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the book to anyone who is interested in the topic. The Art of Community provides good information and food for thought around building communities.

               
              5.0

              A wonderful surprise and a learning trip

              By Rafael Dohms

              from São Paulo, Brazil

              About Me Community Manager, Developer

              Pros

              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Expert
                • Intermediate
                • Novice

                Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

                I must confess that Jono Bacon actually caught me by surprise. While I was following the creation process of the book (O'Reilly invited UG leaders to send feedback) I could have never imagined I would one day have something so useful for someone who deals with communities on a day to day basis. In this universe Jono is a well known figure, with vast experience in managing and participating in online communities, which credits him as a perfect candidate to write a book like this one.A book about how to manage and live amongst virtual communities has all the elements to be a boring book full of "do's and don't's", in summary a very repetitive and unpleasant book. However Jono proves his understanding of the communication channels (important part of any community) right off the bat in the book's introduction. Here he showcases his writing strategy, *telling personal experiences*. Building on top of this premise the author goes throughout the book presenting us with new concepts or strategies and following it up with a real life example from his and others' experience in communities. This makes the book a delightful read, easy and flowing, the kind of book you can pickup anywhere and have fun while you plow through the pages, perfect for the everyday life of lines and waiting. I recommend loading it up on your e-reader if you got one.The book is incredibly broad and valid for numerous roles inside every community, from managers to members, volunteers, to the regular Open Source developer. Each level of the community stands to gain from this book and even people who work with or use the community, such as marketing people, and activists who need to learn how to communicate and win-over the communities. Each chapter dives into a different and fundamental aspect, like communication, building buzz, measuring, events and handling conflicts.Anyone who has ever managed a community and looks at this table of contents will surely have a few flashbacks of various moments in their experience, I know I for one identified myself in quite a few situations, from my motivation to participate in the PHP community to the conflicts and the experience of contributing to Open Source. I usually like to give more details of each chapter when I do reviews like this one, but in this case that feels like I would be cheating the reader from the amazing experience of having Jono lead you through his experiences and concepts, so i'll not do it.In summary, if you have any involvement with virtual communities, be it as a manager, member or just someone who interacts with them, this book should have its place in your shelf. Buy it, read it, enjoy it an have fun while you learn to take your community to the next level.Published originally at:[@]Disclosure: O'Reilly gave me this book as a gift.

                (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Not Just for Open Source

                By Greg the Python Programmer

                from Little Rock, Arkansas

                About Me Developer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Helpful examples

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Intermediate

                  Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

                  As an aspiring user group organizer, I was particularly interested in this book for insights on how to organize and run my own group. What I wasn't ready for was how the information applies to just about any group; certainly any group of volunteers (church choir, volunteer fire department, etc.).

                  Jono Bacon has formed and helped run all sorts of users groups, from his own (lugradio) to working with the Ubuntu Linux group. He identifies the attributes common to the groups and expands on each idea.

                  I was happy to read about the importance of what motivates people to join and commit themselves to groups when they rarely, if ever, will get paid (and most often never expect to be paid). The importance of "community" is stressed and how to set up an organization not simply for the sake of having an organization. How can a large group be organized into smaller (functional) teams, and how can these teams communicate with each other effectively?

                  The book drifts dangerously close to "corporation think" when Jono starts addressing the need to a group vision, goals, and workflow. He stresses that these things are essential for everyone to understand in order for the group to remain focused; a difficult task when group members may be separated by geography (and time zones), culture, age, or a dozen other attributes. He even spends many pages arguing the governance and accountability are not evil. This is a difficult task in the Open Source community!

                  Other important aspects addressed is how to generate "buzz" for your group (he avoids the term "marketing") and gives many good, real world examples, how to deal with conflict and when and how to hire a community manager.

                  It is surprising to see how close this comes to sounding like many corporate training sessions I have sat through. The primary difference is that user communities tend to pave more passion than their corporate counterparts, perhaps due to the lack of expectation of pay.

                  I have already used many of the ideas in the book as a small group of Python programmers attempt to start our own users group. Perhaps the most important idea coming from the book is that organizing a community is work. Dealing with people can be difficult but highly rewarding and as long as everyone knows what the group is about and how they can help.

                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  A MUST read book for all JUG leaders

                  By Daniel deOliveira

                  from Undisclosed

                  Comments about O'Reilly Media The Art of Community:

                  This was a long waited (at least form me) Jono Bacon's book. Excellent, I spend the weekend reading it. This book was wrote for ME, for all JUG and community leaders. Congratulations, this is a MUST read book.

                  Daniel deOliveira

                  JUG Leader / Founding Java Champion

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