This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
A community is not a committee
From time to time, you'll hear people disparage communities (open-source and otherwise) as "design by committee." But it's just not true! Communities are the antithesis of committees. Communities get everything right that committees so notoriously get wrong:
- Community members are here because they're interested, not because it's their job.
- Community members are here to contribute, not to hold a stake.
- Community members are here to accept responsibility, not to diffuse it.
- Community members are here to help task-owners think through problems, not to coerce compliance.
- Community members are here to review and educate "noobies," not to put them down or dominate them.
In communities, the decisions get made by the people willing to do the work.
At least, healthy communities work that way. How's your community doing?
By way of references, thanks, and further reading, let me point out two other net resources:
- Ted Leung, OSCON 2007: Open Design, Not by Committee
- Leisa Reichelt, design by committee vs. design by community (things we learned from the Drupal.org project)