Assignment 2 - Approaching a community

After a long struggle finding the right project that really fit my design and coding capabilities. Although there were different open source projects that were open to communicating with designers, I felt like it was a very competitive sector with design teams typically looking small and close-knit. After having jumped into for a good week now with Jake, Tom, and the rest of the team, it has definitely been an interesting experience that I'm not quite used to.

Firstly,'s work seems to focus on collaborating and sharing across the web to help improve or maintain the quality of information on the Internet. I really felt like their choice of being an open project really reflects this ideology of sharing and collaboration. While it also seems like they're open for practical reasons, as the actual group is rather small (roughly 7 members in their core team), they provide so many easy methods of communication and documentation that it seems like their openness relies more heavily on the fact that it resonates with their ideals. They even list 12 of their principles on their website to describe what they believe in and why they do what they do. ( They really strive to be a netural and community-oriented presence; favoring merit and transparency in the way they moderate their members and governance. They are completely non-profit and while they aim to eventually favor a strategy around revenue sustainability, they're currently run on dontations and other charitable funders. According to their FAQ pages, they seem to do this in order to avoid investors pressuring them to find ways to generate profits and focus on their own goals.

Most of the team are in San Francisco, with one of their core members a student at the Information School (Jake Hartnell). It was through him that I found this project and got in touch with the community. Their main mode of group discussion seems to be through IRC. I've sat in various chat sessions with the group, although the channel is silent for the most part. I'm not 100% sure if this is due to the fact that the central hub of the community is elsewhere, or if there are just a handful of silently working volunteers. Their main repo for code lay in github, with the procedure for setting up dev environments made available through github as well. Any technical questions I had while setting up were resolved by reaching out to Jake, who helps act as a sort of bridge between myself and the rest of the team.

Although I haven't had time to do much or contribute in any large way, other than using the product and making notes about the interface or usability, it really fits well into what I looked forward to in an open source project. Since it's my first time, I was nervous and hesitant to immediately jump in. But so far it seems like the community is small and close enough to remove my hesitations.