Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer had the idea to make a coffee table book about coffee tables? I always thought that was a pretty elegant idea. Well, a few months ago, some of the smart folks on Red Hat’s community architecture team had a similarly elegant idea:
Write a book about building community the open source way… and write it with a community, the open source way. Meaning, open the text up, allow interested users to contribute, and see what happens.
The book is entitled The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors and you can access the current text here and the wiki for contributors here.
I caught up with Karsten Wade, who is leading the project, to learn more.
There have been other books written about community-building over the last few years, but I am not aware of any others that have been written by a community. Where did the idea to start this project come from?
Our team, Community Architecture, has a strategic community role in Red Hat, and part of that is learning, distilling, and sharing knowledge. We bring the knowledge of how to produce software the open source way to different parts of the company. We’re all in a community of practice here, and have much to learn from each other.
Once we had the idea of a cookbook or handbook for internal needs, it was immediately clear that following the open source way with the content would be better, have more impact, and protect important knowledge in case our team gets eaten by raptors.