Manufacturing Participation

I want to talk about a couple things today during my unfortunately named “architecting participation” session at BarCampPortland. My goals for participation are to get people to an event or be part of an open source group and then to get them to keep coming back.

The three things I’m going to touch on are: inviting in and making people feel welcome, making people feel useful, and making things fun.

With the ultimate goal being world domination of free and open source software.

We’ll see how it goes :)

Waffle-induced development


My waffles will probably not look as good as this.

People often ask me for advice on how to motivate and get people excited about coming to meetings, participating in user groups and contributing to projects. I’m going to try to blog more about the things I do that work.

Friends in Portland know that I often use food (and sometimes alcohol) bribes to get them to come over to my house to hang out, and then do work that is best done with a group (recall a major weeding project in my front yard).

We needed a few good folks to help out with the next phase of our Open Conference Ware application, and so I decided to reuse this “get house chores done” trick to hopefully motivate a few hungry developers to work with us on the next phase of the project.

When I sent out the message, I got both an enthusiastic “Hell yes, I’ll come for waffles”, and an “Oh man, I already had plans — which, if they fall through, I will totally be there for the waffles.”

I’m sure that the good people who stepped up to help us would have done so anyway. But, if I can provide a warm breakfast while we hack away on wireframes, why not? And, after I tweeted what we were up to, I got another volunteer!

Image courtesy of rizkapb, Creative Commons 2.0 generic license.