On Planet Ubuntu

Recently Randall did some research into what people want to see on Planet Ubuntu. This has been followed up by Stuart with a set of concerns.

I agree with both of them.

I think the gist of Randall’s view is that he would like to encourage more fun, interesting, and diverse Ubuntu-related content. I think Randall wants to see fun stories of LoCo events, interesting Ubuntu work going on, cool Ubuntu apps, details of new features, and more. I agree with Randall here, and would love to see the same.

I think the gist of Stuart’s view is that the personal stories on Planet Ubuntu is a wonderful part of being in a community. Ubuntu is not just about Ubuntu, it is about the stories and the lives of the people who contribute to our community. I agree with Stuart here too.

I think we need a mix. Ideally we want to see interesting posts about people’s contributions to Ubuntu, but also about their non-Ubuntu lives too.

I would like to see Planet Ubuntu stick to its core goal: to be a place where you can look into the lives of Ubuntu members and explore their Ubuntu work as well as their non-Ubuntu thoughts and views.

The problem here is really with Ubuntu membership. Some people are still Ubuntu members who haven’t contributed to Ubuntu for a long time and thus we see lots of non-Ubuntu content, but rarely hear about their contributions. I would recommend we deactivate membership for those who are not actively contributing (active being significant and sustained contributions, as per our charter); this will then tighten up which feeds appear on planet and we will get a nice mix of both Ubuntu and person content.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu Membership has always been something gained through recognized work completed. We’ve never instituted a policy of requiring folks to be forever active in order to keep it and I’d be strongly against it if we did.

    We could alter the planet charter to require community activity if folks felt so inclined, but I’m often impressed and inspired to learn what community members are up to beyond Ubuntu so certainly I wouldn’t be lining up to ask for that either.

  • Alejandro

    Pleia2 makes an excellent point, I did not know that once you had Ubuntu membership, it could be taken away from you (or deactivated). Do you have to return the certificate by M.S. too? Does that also mean that the former Ubuntu member can ask to take back his contributions made to Ubuntu. I am with Stuart Langridge on this subject.

  • Charles Profitt

    As a member of the Community Council I realize that my expressed opinions may be scrutinized so I want to I want to really take some time to ponder the questions put forth in all the mentioned posts. While I have some initial personal opinions I realize I need to take care before responding.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I am not talking about folks being “forever active”, but I fail to see the benefit of the Ubuntu Membership system if our membership base includes a number of people who were active five years ago and just click the “renew” button every time they get the membership renewal email and never contribute to Ubuntu any more. In my mind Ubuntu Membership is not a trophy; it is a reflection that you are providing significant and sustained contributions today to Ubuntu.

    In my mind the point of Ubuntu Membership is to indicate those contributors who are active in providing significant and sustained contributions; it provides a means in which we can effectively define our core contributor base. For this differentiation to be effective we need to ensure that our membership reflects our contributor base.

    I do think there is a good reason to have Ubuntu Membership Alumni, and I appreciate that Ubuntu Membership today does indeed include many non-active people but I think this is a bug in the system.

  • Joe Wakeling

    I understand what you’re getting at here, but I think it might be better to address by creating a new “Ubuntu Active Member” status. That way it’s something new and positive for people to earn, and from the beginning it will be understood it requires regular participation; and conversely you won’t be getting reactions like, “OMG, Ubuntu is taking my membership away after all I did for them…”

    Rewarding people who do continue to participate just seems nicer than what could be seen as taking away from those who have contributed in the past.

  • Charles Profitt

    I am not taking a stance on if I agree or not with your thoughts, but what proposal do you have for evaluating membership renewal?

  • Paul White

    As someone who would really love to become an Ubuntu member I feel that I’m really an “almost ran” type of person, lots of input but too few results actually achieved.

    If I should ever be lucky to attain such membership I feel that I would want to prove myself each renewal period and renew my membership knowing that I had not just sat back and enjoyed any membership benefits without further contributing.

    As for the contents of Planet Ubuntu, I’m really only interested in reading about Ubuntu or Ubuntu/Linux related topics. Once I start seeing posts about cookery, cycling, Doctor Who or whatever, I simply move on…..

  • Charles Profitt

    I can understand people who do not like to read about Bad Voltage or Barbecue… but when you get to articles you are not interested in you can simply scroll down… for those that do enjoy those articles they would not have the option to see them.

  • porthose

    So just out of curiosity what are the numbers on this. I mean canonical is so hip on measuring everything, where are that stats?

    1. How many people have applied for ubuntu membership per cycle?
    2. How many people have applied for MOTU each cycle?
    3. How many people have applied for CORE-DEV each cycle?
    4. How many ubuntu members are there?
    5. How many are inactive?
    6. How do we measure inactivity? (life does happen, there are to many “what if’s” here to mention)
    7. Why are contributors becoming inactive?

    Until we have some hard data on the subject, why are we hell bent on fixing something that is not broken. There are plenty of bugs on launchpad that need attention, so stop wasting time and resources on something that doesn’t need to be fixed.

    jono, as the community manager, pleia2, charles as community council members these stats should be at your finger tips. Would you please share them with use common folk.

  • http://benjaminkerensa.com/ Benjamin Kerensa

    just because people do not contribute to the project directly does not mean they are no longer active. There are plenty of us who contribute upstream which is a major contribution to Ubuntu since Ubuntu relys heavily on upstream projects.

    Some examples would be Paultag and Mako are both members but contribute to Debian. Jonathan Carter contributes to Debian as well now.

    Ubuntu Membership is really the only recognition of someone’s contributions to Ubuntu. Withdrawing it because they no longer contribute directly seems disappointing and notably I can’t think of another project that had membership that does such.

    My two cents.

  • http://benjaminkerensa.com/ Benjamin Kerensa

    Good point!

  • chilicuil

    I agree with Jono, but also with Joe, there are too many inactive Ubuntu members which may affect the quality of Ubuntu Planet, however removing the membership would look rude for some people (not rude for me at all), therefore a new ‘Ubuntu Active Member’ would be even better, and the Ubuntu Membership Board could be the only one to renew members on this new group.

  • s.fox

    As a member of the ubuntu membership board I have renewed memberships as and when people let them expire and ask to rejoin. I can’t help but wonder if we have 2 issues here:

    1) renewing ubuntu membership

    2) non-ubuntu related content appearing on planet ubuntu.

    I don’t really know what to suggest for #1, but perhaps some kind of off-topic / non-ubuntu subsection on the planet ubuntu website could help with #2.