Announcing The Ubuntu Hall Of Fame

May the HOF be with you” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

A few months back I met in London with Daniel Holbach, Graham Binns and James Westby for a short sprint. I had flown Daniel over for the purposes of a face-to-face catch-up and to record some MOTU videos for the Ubuntu Developer Channel. It was a productive few days, and in our many meetings we sowed the seeds for an idea which I am proud to announce today.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the most important aspects of community management is in breaking down workflow and understanding how to improve it. We have done this in a number of areas in the Ubuntu world with bugs, patches, LoCo Teams, events and key parts of the wider community picture. When we launch any initiative we pay close attention to the growth and impact of that initiative on the community and this often gives us an insight into the rock stars in our community – the contributors who do lots of good, measurable, referencable work.

When I meet with the horsemen, we regularly talk about these rockstars in our community. On every call we get jazzed about their contributions to Ubuntu. Although we knew about many areas of contribution – people who are rocking on 5-A-Day, new MOTU and core-dev developers, people who are doing great work in the forums etc, our approach was somewhat incomplete. Although we horsemen focus on these rockstars and none of this information is private, the figures and statistics that show off this good work is spread across different places. In addition to this, we were concious that we are always only seeing part of the picture – what about rockstars in translations, upstream bug triage, the sponsorship queue, Launchpad contributors etc? Every time someone rocks a part of our community, they should be recognised.

This raised another issue – some people can be measured as rockstars – we can count their contributions in the community, but some people span a range of different kinds of contribution, many of which can’t be measured statistically. We wanted these people to be recognised as well and write a more personal showcase of their efforts. With these driving considerations, it was now time to be inspired by Guitar Hero. I know, I know, that may seem a little odd, but stay with me…

There are many fascinating communities out there outside of Free Software, and gaming comunities offer many insights. One such example is Guitar Hero – the online collaborative play aspect of Guitar Hero an interesting part of how they have built a faithful following of players. Where this really piqued my interest was in how high scores play such an encouraging role to members of that community. Players really put in the time to practise and get their scores up and enjoy the sense of peer respect that results from this in the Guitar Hero fishbowl. Interestingly, when we launched 5-A-Day, complete with the contributor and team rankings, we also picked up on a strong sense of pride by participants in their scores. We have also seen similar results from pride over karma in Launchpad. Our community is built on pride and respect, and I was keen to explore how we could centralise this.

While in the meeting room, I grabbed a pen and started fleshing out a design. Daniel, James and I then set to refining the functional and visual design and I took a snap of my penmanship:

After a number of follow-up calls, a functional specification and some testing we are now proud to announce the Ubuntu Hall Of Fame:

Many thanks to Stuart Langridge for producing the design, Daniel Holbach for plumbing in the data from Launchpad and Kenneth Wimer for producing the snazzy Rockstar button.

Let me explain a few elements of the Hall Of Fame. Firstly, as you can see, the Hall Of Fame includes a number of boxes that look like this:

Each box contains the statistical data about the topic for the box, but it also contains a simple single-line description detailing what the data shows. To find more data that is related, there is a More… link – click that to drill into more stats. The final point to note is the (i) symbol in the top-right of each box – this links to a page that outlines how to get involved in that part of our community.

Another key feature of the Hall Of Fame is the Featured Contributor. Here we will be showcasing contributors across the community that are doing excellent work. Here we will write a little blurb about what they have done, their achievements and their personality. Importantly, we have added a feature in which you can click the Thank button and the Hall Of Fame will look up your Launchpad account and add your profile picture to the article to show that you would like to thank that contributor. This was an important feature – we wanted to make it as easy as possible to show featured contributors that you appreciate their work. Now it is just one click away! Oh, and for you RSS lovers, there is a feed for Featured Contributors available with the big orange RSS icon. When thinking about who we would showcase for the first Featured Contributor, one of the first names that sprung to mind was Nick Ali, an excellent contributor and friend to everyone. Go and check out the Featured Contributor article about him. :)

My hope is that the Hall Of Fame will quickly become a showcase in which the wider community is proud to be featured on, either as a Featured Contributor or inside one of the many boxes. We have many ideas about how we can expand and improve on the site to foster this sense of pride, but we are keen to hear from you all with your ideas about additional features that you would love to see, and importantly, what additional HOFBoxes (those boxes with stats) that you would like to see. Which areas of the community should we be showcasing, and how would you measure them?

  • Miles

    Excellent!

  • Jef Spaleta

    Brilliant.

    One question, how do you plan to share this with other projects so they can more easily create this? For example.. wouldn’t it be great if GNOME could take your work and do this for GNOME.. or even KDE. How do you plan to share your work?

    -jef

  • jono

    Jef – not sure how specifically useful it would be. The site is hard coded to pull out data from Launchpad across a range of teams. That is the hard work – displaying the code is just HTML and CSS.

  • Not a Rockstar

    Uhh… Rockstars? Fantastic, thats like every teenager’s dream.

    Seriously, that’s just weird.

  • http://ubuntulinuxtipstricks.blogspot.com Mackenzie

    Since the Get Involved page mentions testing, I wonder if there’s any way Testing could be added to this…

    Looks nice, Jono. It’s reminding me that I haven’t done much bugwork in a while. Time to go through all that bugmail I’ve gotten in the last couple weeks.

  • Zac

    Jono, this is great. Thousands of people contribute so much to Ubuntu so that people like me prefer it over Windows. Rockstars? They sure are. This Hall of Fame address this to an extent (there will always be silent heroes out there). This Hall of Fame looks good, nice layout, very well done. Good to see the Australian Team is on there!

  • http://gordallott.blogsite.org gord allott

    well now thats a shame, the answer support tracker is omitted from this. We on the answer support tracker help a lot we really do and i don’t think get as much praise as we deserve, its hard work and as just a valid a part of ubuntu as bug triaging. for shame…

  • https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MagicFab Fabian Rodriguez

    The answers tracker and the forums come to mind as additional boxes.

  • Nick Ellery

    I think this is a great idea. However, my original assumption when reading the title of this post, was that the HOF would feature those that are specifically ‘inducted’ into it, much like a sports HOF, in which your existence in it is permanent. Another idea would be to add an “All time top 5″ type of thing.

    Other than that, I think that it is missing a few major “top contributors” lists such as answer tracking and forums. Another thing that came to mind would be to add top contributors from the awesome UTU tool [1].

    Finally, I’d like to ask specifically how often the Featured Contributor changes.

    Thanks for the awesome work, and the even more awesome idea!

    Nick

    [1] http://thc.emanuele-gentili.com/utu/

  • Nick Ellery

    Apologies for double-commenting, but another idea of mine would to add a “Top bug reporters” section.

  • http://www.cannon-linux.co.uk Peter Cannon

    Hey Jono

    I have to say what a cool idea my initial thought was “God I hate leader boards 9 times out of 10 it’s the same faces month after month anyway”. But having clicked on a few links I get the feeling you could work your way up there.

    Of course every man and his dog will want their own ‘section’ Most Blogged, Most CD’s given away, Most help given in the Forum maybe you could have a brain storm on The unsung hero’sor Rising stars?

    I’m now off to get the idea reworked for my distro of choice. :wink:

    Cheers

  • http://grumphog.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/ubuntu-hall-of-fame/ Ubuntu Hall of Fame « toros and the grumpy groundhog

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  • MÃ¥rten Woxberg

    Great! But the featured contributor iFrame is too small. The Images of the people who has sent thanks are too big.

    Top 5-A-Day Contributors, Upstream Bug Rockstars and Latest Developers should be horizontally aligned, Thus the size of the Featured Contributor iFrame could be slightly bigger.

  • http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/20/ibm-to-buy-transitive/ Boycott Novell » Links 20/11/2008: IBM to Buy Transitive, China Helps GNU/Linux Development

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  • Vadi

    What if a person isn’t directly listed in Launchpad, but contributed enormously to ubuntu?

  • http://changelog.complete.org/ John Goerzen

    I’d like to see you integrate with Debian systems for this, recognizing that pretty much everyone that is a Debian contributor is also automatically an Ubuntu contributor!

  • Garth

    I have a wee improvement that would make it even more awesome – At the top of the page, you could include a stock ticker or something showing all the latest active launchpad users – these people are the people having their 5 minutes of fame, and added up are just as important as the people with top karma etc.

  • Jef Spaleta

    John Goerzen: If this is tied inherently into internal launchpad processes as Jono’s response to me has indicated…see comment 3… how would you go about extending this to appropriately give credit to Debian contributors? Would the entirely of Debian’s community process have to be driven through Launchpad to be recorded for the HOF to list? Debian is just one of many upstream groups whose effort can’t be represented by a shallow dive into Launchpad’s data pool. Hopefully the fact that some Debian contributors are left out and some aren’t, won’t become a point of contention.

    What’s worse, Launchpad’s own internal processes may skew rankings by mis-attributing upstream work in some cases. For example:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/rosetta/+bug/258370

    Once things like karma becomes an established and officially adopted recognition mechanism, having processes which mis-attribute karma awards can present problems for people who begin to care deeply about being recognized in the HOF. This can become contentious, especially if the ranking mechanism can’t be relied on to get the activity awards assigned equitably. Even more so if in the future these highest rankings get turned into some sort of material gain, like swag from the Ubuntu store. If the rankings can’t be relied on to be accurate, then you can end up demoralizing the people who are not rewarded..more than you lift up the people who are. Good luck.

    -jef

  • http://daniel.holba.ch/blog/?p=277 Daniel Holbach’s blog » Blog Archive » The HoF

    [...] I’m very pleased the Ubuntu Hall of Fame is announced. [...]

  • Anton

    Great idea! But …

    Where is the Ubuntu Artwork community? This is one of the most important ones but is not present there. It’s a shame!

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