A community of communities: Empowering maintainers to grow communities around their code

A community of communities: Empowering maintainers to grow communities around their code

Open source is about much more than publishing code. It’s about building communities around shared problems. However, it can still be a challenge to empower maintainers of projects, both large and small, to grow safe and welcoming communities around their code. GitHub’s community and safety team is like many other services’ trust and safety teams in that the team is tasked with ensuring users aren’t required to risk their privacy or personal safety in order to participate in the GitHub community. But online communities are no different than the offline communities we participate in every day. Beyond discouraging disruptive behavior in the form of spam, abuse, or harassment, the community and safety team is also tasked with encouraging good online citizenship by making it easier for users to contribute constructively and for maintainers to adopt community management best practices.

Ben Balter walks you through GitHub’s approach to empowering open source maintainers to build a federation of semi-independent communities, both in terms of content moderation policy and specific features, shipped and upcoming, looking at how various community management approaches encourage or discourage community growth and participation. You’ll walk away not only with a better understanding of GitHub’s approach to fostering safe and welcoming open source communities but what tools and resources are available for maintainers to grow healthy communities around their projects that scale along side the code.


Ben Balter

July 18, 2019