Traditionally, a lot of the development that occurs in open source happens in code repositories and bug trackers, and those are not places that the users of the software tend to hang out. With this separation between developers and users, those contributors may not always get their due.
Alessio Fattorini, community manager for NethServer, an open source Linux server distribution, believes in exposing that development process to the users who, even if they may not understand the nuts and bolts of it, will then be in a better position to see the work that goes into the project, and appreciate the people behind it. We also talk about:
- The state of community management in Italy
- Create a welcoming environment in technical communities, and why they pose a unique challenge
- Why developers can be tempted to keep discussions around open source development private
“Community management in Italy is quite a new topic. There’s no role, there are no jobs about community management – maybe a networking or a social media manager, sometimes. But not strictly about community management. There’s no conference, there’s no events. It’s very different from the U.S. Two years ago, when I started, I needed to learn a lot of things and tried to find content, people, books, and whatever I could about community management. It’s very difficult to be a community manager in Italy. This is why we have created [CLSxItaly], to notice this culture and to try to build awareness about community management.” -@ale_fattorini
“When I built my community, I made a choice. English only. My community is global but I needed to make a choice, because we needed to find a [specific] language. It’s a barrier. … But I needed to choose a [specific] language because I don’t want to frame my community in small subgroups with their [different] languages. My community is not so big, so I needed to keep things simple and have a place where discussions are in English, so [as many people as possible] can understand the discussion.” -@ale_fattorini
“[With NethServer open source development,] everything is public. You don’t know what [non-developers] can see in a discussion. Maybe they can chime in [or] add something. They are not developers but they can give their feedback in the discussion. If you separate [developers from non-developers], you can’t have this kind of contribution. In the same place, I have developers, I have sysadmins, I have just users. I have everyone.” -@ale_fattorini
“How you treat your newcomers says a lot about your community.” -@patrickokeefe
“Writing your rules somewhere is not enough [to create a welcoming culture in a technical community]. You have to live these rules. [We have two big rules]. First rule is: RTFM is banned. ‘Read the F****** Manual’ is not an answer. Because it’s not inclusive. It excludes people, and people don’t feel safe. … The other rule is that stupid questions are allowed. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions because someone else will learn from every stupid question that you ask. … To create this kind of culture, you have to create a group of people that live this culture.” -@ale_fattorini
About Alessio Fattorini
Alessio Fattorini was a Linux system administrator, or sysadmin, and support specialist for 10 years at Nethesis, until about two years ago when he became the NethServer community manager. NethServer is a Linux server distribution that makes the sysadmin’s life easier. After which, he began to study everything related to communities and has been deeply involved in community manager communities around the world.
Alessio is a Community Leadership Summit and CLSxItaly co-organizer and is mainly focused on product-based communities, working closely with developers and users. He is a public speaker, covering community management and open source, including NethServer, Linux and Nethesis, for which he is a technical trainer.
- Alessio on LinkedIn
- Nethesis, the software company where Alessio works
- NethServer, the open source Linux server distribution, for which Alessio is community manager and support specialistThe Daily Orange,
- CLSxItaly, a Community Leadership Summit sanctioned event, co-organized by Alessio
- “Italians Prefer to Speak English to Tourists Instead of Their Native Tongue” by Max Antonucci for The Daily Orange, where Patrick read that 29% of Italians speak English
- “The Right Language for Your Open Source Audience” by Sandro Groganz
- phpBB, an open source community platform
- phpBBHacks.com, at one time the largest unofficial resource for phpBB, which Patrick ran for 11 years, ending in 2012, when he gave it away
- GitHub, a collaborative platform for developers
- Discourse, an open source community platform
- Sarah Hawk, previous guest of the show, who recently took a product and community role at Discourse
- Alessio on Medium
- Alessio on Twitter
- Alessio on SlideShare
[00:00:00] Announcer: You’re listening to Community Signal. The podcast for online community professionals. Tweet as you listen using #CommunitySignal. Here’s your host, Patrick O’Keefe.
[00:00:20] Patrick O’Keefe: Hello and thank you for joining me for Community Signal. We’re talking with Alessio Fattorini about the state of community management in Italy, why English is the language of choice for open source communities and how to keep contributors engaged in the open-source development process. If you find value in Community Signal, please consider becoming a subscriber on Patreon. For as little as $2 a month, you can be mentioned on the show or see bonus clips and submit questions for future guests.
Thank you to Joseph Ranallo, Sarah Judd Welch, and Carol Benovic-Bradley for being a part of this group. Alessio Fattorini was a Linux system administrator or sysadmin, and support specialist for 10 years at Nethesis until about two years ago when he became the NethServer Community Manager. NethServer is a Linux server distribution that makes the sysadmin’s life easier. After which, he began to study everything related to communities and has been deeply involved in community manager communities around the world.
Alessio is a Community Leadership Summit and CLSxItaly co-organizer. He’s mainly focused on product-based communities, working closely with developers and users. He’s a public speaker covering community management and open source, including NethServer, Linux, and Nethesis, for which he is a technical trainer. Alessio, welcome to the program.
[00:01:28] Alessio Fattorini: Welcome. I’m happy to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
[00:01:32] Patrick O’Keefe: It’s my pleasure. We’ve followed each other on Twitter for a while and have enjoyed reading through your works, seeing what you’re up to. I have a passion for open source communities myself, having been a space that I have fair amount of experience in. It’s my pleasure.
[00:01:45] Alessio Fattorini: I listen in to some of your episodes. I’m a huge fan of your podcasts. It’s a pleasure to be here.
[00:01:55] Patrick O’Keefe: Thank you so much. I haven’t got around the world very much. I have to confess. I want to but I haven’t. I’m always interested to talk with people from other countries other than the US, about what community management looks like in their country. In your case, what’s the state of community management in Italy?
[00:02:11] Alessio Fattorini: Community management in Italy is quite new topic. There’s no role, there is no jobs about community management, maybe about such a network, such a networking and a social media manager maybe, sometimes. But not strictly about the community management. There’s no conference, there’s no events, nothing about that. It’s very different from the US situations.
Two years ago when I started, I needed to learn a lot of things and tried to find content, to find people, to find books, and whatever I could about community management.
It’s very difficult to be a community manager in Italy. This is why we have created this kind of conference; community leadership to notice this culture and to try to build this awareness about community management.
Sometimes I speak at conferences about the community management. I’m alone, I guess. In conferences about IT, conference about whatever, there’s no speakers that can talk about this kind of topics.
[00:03:27] Patrick O’Keefe: Because there are no conferences, you are finding the IT conferences are a little bit of a fit. In your case, technology or open source. There’s a conference about that and how you can tell them about community, how you can bring them that message. That’s what you’re trying to do.
[00:03:39] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. When I see conferences about IT, about open source, I try to spread the word about community management and talk about community, talk about how I involve my members, how you involve people in your product or in the development. That’s what I’m trying to do.
[00:03:59] Patrick O’Keefe: Obviously, there wasn’t a conference, that’s why you created one. It’s great. That’s how things get started on a global level. I’d read an article just now that 29% of people in Italy speak English. Is that a big problem for moving the industry forward over there, that there aren’t more Italian language resources? That a lot of the stuff that is out there is in English?
In my case, my book wasn’t even translated into any other language. We’re strictly English. I would’ve liked it to have been. As far as I know, there aren’t a whole lot of community book translations that make it outside of English. Is that a barrier to more people in the country getting in to the profession?
[00:04:36] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. It’s a barrier. I can agree, it’s a barrier. It wasn’t a barrier for me because I’m a technical guy. As technical guy, much of my knowledge and my content and technical documents are in English. I am pretty used to learning in English and write, reade in English. I’m strongly grounded, as you mention as a sysadmin, it’s quite easy for me.
Two years ago, three years ago, when I choose this new role, this new path, speaking in English and as a speaker or build relationship with natives or global people. It was difficult because I needed to improve my English and try to be heard and be understood, but for Italian people it’s quite difficult. Because we’re different from other countries. North European countries are more able to speak fluently in English. For us, it’s bit difficult, for me, too.
[00:05:44] Patrick O’Keefe: It’s funny you mentioned how you having a technical background is one of the reasons why you’re so strong with English and you were comfortable diving into these English language resources.
I read an article before coming on here to speak with you up. It basically said like, English is the language of open source communities and how to have a global open source community, you have to first be in English and then maybe have localization where there might be local groups like there’s a specific community for Italy or for Spain or for France that is in French or Spanish or Italian. But that you have to know English to really have a big impact in open source communities or to really feel like you fit in, in a way. Do you find that to be true?
[00:06:27] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. When I build my community, I made a choice. English only for my community. My community is global but I needed to make a choice, because we needed to find a unique language, and it’s a barrier. Because for my global community, Spanish guys, the South American guys, it’s very difficult to speak and write in English. Write and read.
Sometimes, I try to keep things simple and try to say to my people, “Okay, don’t worry. You can translate, you can try to write using your words. You are understood. Don’t worry about that.” But I needed to choose a unique language because I don’t want to frame my community in being small sub groups with their languages.
My community is not so big, so I needed to keep things simple and have a unique discussion and a unique place where discussions are in English, so people can understand the discussion. People can understand the topic, understand what people are saying. If I have to translate from German or from Spanish, everything is very difficult. In my communities, if you have a discussion about a problem, about a product, and it’s in German, wow. I hate to translate a lot of things and it’s pretty hard. Having it in English, maybe I have to try to read or try to understand, but this is for everyone.
[00:08:04] Patrick O’Keefe: In community we talk sometimes about spreading yourself too thin. The idea that, a simple example is, a brand new community decides to have 50 sections, right? When they really only need to have a couple. In your case, it almost sounds like because, in NethServer, you have an active community of people who are in the community and they do have to speak English.
But if you did say that, “We’re going to have, this is the English section. This is the Spanish section. Here’s the German. Here’s the Italian.” What you would really have is maybe 10 inactive sections based upon languages instead of one active community because the groups would be so small.
[00:08:39] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. I asked it to my community last year about that. “Do you want an English community where you had to struggle with English but everyone can understand about discussion, can understand English and so on or do you want a subcategory and something like that?” They said to me, “No, it’s okay. We want English.” We try to write in English. We try to keep things simple for everyone. A big part of my company are American people or from UK. Sometimes, they struggle to understand people, they are not good at English, but I ask them patience. Please try to understand that they are not native and it’s not their language. We try to understand each other and try to be confident and be welcome in the community, if you are native or not.
[00:09:41] Patrick O’Keefe: Contributors to open source projects don’t really receive the instant gratification in a way that you might see with a tweet or a blog post or a forum post where you might get a bunch of likes or retweets on your tweet, or people might tweet out your blog post. It’s not the same instant gratification, because releases take time, right? A new release of NethServer, for example. It takes time.
It takes months before a new version comes out. Even when the releases are out, usually contributors, they receive credit. It’s a small credit line usually with most open source projects. In the announcement, in the release itself, et cetera. There’s not that instant hit of attention that you get in some other means of contributing online. How do you keep people involved and interested in this development process?
[00:10:27] Alessio Fattorini: Listen is a great suggestion. To listen to your people, I think that’s contributors and developers are not different from other people.
[00:10:37] Patrick O’Keefe: They’re not an alien race. Right?
[00:10:38] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. They want to be heard. I think that “Thank you” is very powerful. Say, “Thank you for your work. Thank you for your job. Thank you for that. Thank you for listening to this need of the community. You have implemented. You have created a new code for that.” That’s very cool. I try to keep involving them. Trying to test their code. Developers want their code, use it and useful and tested and so on.
If you keep the discussion about that, “Okay. Let’s talk about your code. Let’s talk about this new feature. Let’s talk about how can we improve your code, this feature. How can we improve together with feedback, with questions or whatever?” You can take them into the loop. That’s very cool because the mentions in announcements and there is no– Sometimes it’s not enough. Because not every one can see this mention, not everyone knows the people or the developers.
I try to spotlight these people and mention them as much as I can into the discussion, wwith some badges, “This is the developer, the man, this is the contributor, this is a great contributor in this module.” Something like that. This is my strategy. Thank you is very powerful, I think. It should come from many people that say, “Thank you.” Many times, it’s very good for your contributors and for your people.
[00:12:27] Patrick O’Keefe: It’s tough because I was involved with phpBB community for a long time. It feels like that a lot of the contributions that go on, on the development, often happened in a bug tracker or a GitHub or some platform that is separate from the users. I never contributed to the project, I ran a resource that helps support the project and I used it myself. But I never contributed any code to the product itself.
It seems like sometimes, those groups are separated, where just the developers, they just use these tools, the bug tracker, the GitHub, whatever the code management application. Then the users are in the support community and they don’t really see those things happening. They just know that the product works. They don’t know that John Smith did it or Alessio Fattorini or whoever contributed that code. They don’t know. They just know that it works.
[00:13:19] Alessio Fattorini: I made the same choice that Discourse— Discourse is an open source forum platform. They don’t use a bug tracker. They discuss about the new issues, about the bug, about new features, in the same place. They use the same forum for everything, technical discussions, support discussions, new feature discussion, and so on. I think that it works very well because people can see, at the same time, discussion about the code, discussion about the problems, discussion about people, discussion about the community in the same place. For small communities, it works.
I made the same choice that the Discourse team made some years ago, trying to avoid the bug tracker and keeping it clean and don’t make our discussion in the bug tracker. Bug tracker, just for technical stuff. No discussion there. All discussion in the Discourse. The people that are not developers but are users can see the discussions about code or about problems.
Everything is public, everything is clear, everything is for people. Maybe you don’t know what people can see in some discussion. Maybe they can chime in, they can add something about the discussion. They are not developers but they can give their feedback in the discussion. If you separate, you can’t have this kind of contribution.
In the same place, I have developers, I have sysadmin, I have just users. I have everyone. It’s very cool because developers can help people with support questions, for example. Or can help with the community discussions. They are pretty involved everywhere. Normal users, too, maybe. Because they see that there is a new feature that is in development and they can say something about that.
[00:15:29] Patrick O’Keefe: What’s cool about that I think also is that people are used to acting in a certain way in certain spaces online. Facebook is an example, I have been drawing from recently. One of the challenges of Facebook and building communities on Facebook and a Facebook group is that people are used to acting in a certain way on Facebook. They have their personal profile, it’s about what they want to share. It tends to be more short and less depth to it. They are used to using Facebook in a certain way. The same is true for a bug tracker or GitHub or those sorts of services which as you said, is very technical.
There’s not a lot of long discussions, it’s not really built for pleasantries, people aren’t used to being overly nice. I don’t know, it’s not really the way to put it. But, people aren’t used to talking in those things. It’s “here’s the bug, I fixed it, addressed, done, patched, next.” Where people are used to a certain decorum in your online community, in your forum, in your Discourse platform. They’re used to talking to people in a certain way. They’re used to responding and they’re used to discussing things. They’re used to saying thank you, in an active way.
Having those discussions in the forum, again I think the thing that’s cool about that if you’ve set the right environment, as you have and I’m sure others and I worked to do. People are used to saying thank you. People are used to being appreciative. It spills over into those discussions because they’re happening in the forum and not in some other platform, where that’s not the norm.
[00:16:46] Alessio Fattorini: This is a great acknowledgement for developers or contributors because they create a new discussion about a new feature and new modules and they say, “Okay, I did this.” And people, “Okay, thank you, this is cool, this is great.” You can’t say that in bug tracker [laughs]. That’s the cool thing. We want debate, we want discussion. we don’t want just a single line reply with, “Okay, this works.” “It works.” or something like, “okay, fix this.” No. You have to explain, please explain, to other people. Because if you want to get people to learn in the process you have to explain.
You have to be clear about that, you can’t just speak in technical words. You can’t just use this kind of approach. You have to explain. I talk about that with my developers. Initially they were nervous about that. But it worked really well and at the outcomes, you can see the outcomes. It was the choice because we were a small. You can’t frame your community in different separate channels if you are small. You have to try to keep everything together. As you said, you have small channels where people don’t talk in this kind of channel and that you see just two or three people that talk. If you keep everyone in the same forum you’re just 10 or 20. But a lot of discussion there.
[00:18:25] Patrick O’Keefe: 10 and 20 is better than three, two, two and three. It’s a lot better. I think that’s a great philosophy. Since we’re talking about Discourse, I did want to mention congratulations to my good friend that I’ve known for many years, Sarah Hawk, on recently taking a community and product role over at Discourse. I think that’s an amazing hire for them. She’s probably one of my favorite people in the industry, one of the people I respect the most. So, congratulations to Sarah.
[00:18:49] Alessio Fattorini: Congratulation. When I needed to learn about community management, I found some people and they are my mentors and Sarah is one of them. She teach me a lot of things. That’s very cool and I’m so happy.
[00:19:08] Patrick O’Keefe: That’s awesome. I have known her from her first role as a volunteer moderator, we were at the same community. So, I’ve known her for a long time. She’s done an amazing job. Pre-show questionnaire you talked about being open and said, “You would be tenmpted to keep your discussions private. Don’t do this.” Meaning the discussions that exist around development process, probably there’s discussions around bug fixes and those sorts of things. The temptation to keep them private. Why would someone want to keep them private? What is that temptation?
[00:19:36] Alessio Fattorini: Is hard to be transparent. You have to make a lot of work to be transparent. You have to explain to people. You have to be clear. You have to try to use kind of words that people can understand. And it’s not easy. We’re talking about technical stuff. Trying to be clear is hard and trying to replace changelog in an announcement is very odd.
Sometimes you try to keep your discussion private because you are not able to explain very much, your thoughts about that. This is one of the reason. Another reason is I work in a company, and for a company, being open is very hard. This is a cultural shift. Sometimes you have to be transparent and as you said, you will be tempted to keep the discussion private, because it is easy to keep the decisions. You are two or three people in this room and we have to take these decisions and you can say, “Okay, 30 minutes, one hour is done.”
If you had 2000 members in your community, you have to discuss with them [chuckles]. You have to explain the problem. You have to give the context. You have to explain the goals and it’s hard. There is a lot of effort there and you see some process is longer. Sometimes it’s not a choice. You’re not choosing to keep the discussion private. It’s just easier sometimes. What I found is that if you want that people can actually understand what is going there, your communication have to be clear and communicating is never enough from my point of view.
[00:21:14] Patrick O’Keefe: When you talk about those two points, what I thought of is: You’re being nice where you said that you can’t explain it. I think sometimes people are too lazy, like, they don’t want to explain it. You’re being very nice. I can be a not nice person here. Sometimes they’re just lazy. They don’t want to take the time to explain it in non-technical terms. They don’t want to invest that time.
Another thing you said is basically the thought of when you’re open, you invite input, right? [chuckles] It’s not a meeting of three people for 30 minutes. If you open it up to everyone in the community, you invite thoughts and thoughts can complicate things. Input can complicate things, and it makes things better but it complicates things.
[00:21:48] Alessio Fattorini: To add to that, you have to be ready to discuss the debate. It’s not easy sometimes [chuckles]. You have to reply. You have to try to understand other people. Sometimes small groups are better because you can keep the discussion private and try to keep your decisions, but it’s hard sometimes. If you want to have consensus, you have to explain, put things in public. As community manager, is key for me. It’s a mission if we can say that. As technical guy, it’s difficult because technical guy generally speak with code, or with technical documents, and so on and not to read the discussions, okay? It’s very hard.
[00:22:37] Patrick O’Keefe: You told me that it is a challenge to create “an environment of safety, trust and cooperation,” You continue, “I have to be honest. It’s not easy to create an environment like that especially in technical communities.” What is it about technical communities that make safety and trust such a challenge?
[00:22:55] Alessio Fattorini: Technical community, creating an environment of safety this is very tricky, because people sometimes patronize, don’t treat newcomers as people but just as numbers or just as requesters, okay? You have to just reply and to just to solve their problems. It’s not just about that. It’s harder to have to deal with newbies and people that don’t have courage. I understand that you have to frequently stretch yourselves, and try to explain stuff and try to be kind. It’s not easy.
[00:23:33] Patrick O’Keefe: Responding to people in a nasty way, right, when they join the community as a newcomer?
[00:23:37] Alessio Fattorini: Yes.
[00:23:38] Patrick O’Keefe: What you’re saying is that makes them feel less safe and certainly they’re not going to trust the community, but they don’t trust the community because the response they’re receiving is hostile and so they don’t feel safe in that space?
[00:23:47] Alessio Fattorini: Yes, yes. People want to be smart, okay?
[00:23:52] Patrick O’Keefe: [laughter] They do want to be smart. That is very true.
[00:23:54] Alessio Fattorini: If you treat them as, okay, you don’t know that, you don’t know these, people go away. That’s what I think, and creating an environment of safety and people have to be acknowledged and people have to feel trust, cooperation, okay? If you can create this kind of culture where you put the people first, not the product, okay? That’s what I think. Sometimes you put the product before, and you just want to reply to technical questions with technical answer. No. You have to treat people as people.
My people tell me that they are active because they feel welcome. Not because the product is amazing, not because they can solve problems or whatever, or because they are developers, or because they are great sysadmins, but because they feel welcome, because they feel acknowledged and supported, okay?
It’s not easy to create an environment like that, okay. Takes time.
[00:25:04] Patrick O’Keefe: It does take time.
[00:25:06] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. Especially in technical communities.
[00:25:08] Patrick O’Keefe: Yes. Takes a lot of time to lay the foundation. That’s the way you do it, right? You create the environment you want and you tend to it for decades. Then you’ve got it. That’s the trick, right? It’s not an overnight thing. I’m right there with you. I mentioned phpBB earlier. I’ve been in the building community online for about probably 19 years now.
There was a time when phpBB was very hot, a super popular open source project. Extremely well and widely used. There were so many people using it. You get to a point in a project like that where you might think, “We don’t need more people, the forums are full, there’s tons of posts coming in.” As I mentioned, I ran an open source community for about 11 years. It was very popular.
It was the largest unofficial resource for phpBB. One of the things we kind of staked our claim on was that we would not treat newcomers the same way the official site did because there were a lot of people who were just so rudely told to search. Or so rudely told that they needed to do something or go something elsewhere. That they had missed something.
Moderators who mock people while locking in their thread and just general condescending rude comments. It’s a problem not just for phpBB, but for many [laughs] open source communities, especially larger projects. But breaking this down a bit because you talked about it and thinking kind of tactically, I think how you treat your newcomers says a lot about your community. Tactically speaking, you want people to treat newcomers well, how do you approach that with the veteran members, with the developers, with the people who are in the community who are active, so they can understand that and know not to do it. How do you model that behavior, so they follow it?
[00:26:45] Alessio Fattorini: Okay, not using rules. Writing your rules somewhere is not enough. You have to live these rules. You have to live, you have to set your culture. We wrote down some rules. First rule is: RTFM is banned. So, “Read the fucking manual” is not an answer. Okay?
[00:27:08] Patrick O’Keefe: Yes. The old RTFM, for those not familiar.
[00:27:11] Alessio Fattorini: Yes, yes, because it’s not inclusive. Because it exclude people. And people don’t feel safe. “If you’re seeing me, I have to read something. Okay, I am not, why come to you?” This is the feeling and it’s not good.
[00:27:26] Patrick O’Keefe: That might be one of the first terms that non-English speakers learn in [laughs] a developing community is RTFM, unfortunately. It’s so common.
[00:27:34] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. That’s real. The other rule is that stupid questions are allowed. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions because someone else will learn from every stupid question that you ask. I reply always with this sentence, I have tried to leave this sentence and I try to have my people to leave this. We try to be kind and to understand people issues. And people give back.
Sometimes, when you don’t respect, people get back and help the community with helping other people. That’s very cool. To create this kind of culture, you have to create a group of people that live this culture.
People that believe in this culture, I call them ambassador or founding members, or whatever. These people reminds me to respect this rules and be an example, for newcomers, for other people. That’s very cool because if you see a lot of people with the same behavior and they are kind, they are welcoming. They treat people asking and welcoming and so on. You make the same things. You try to copy.
I think that’s the way I found and it works pretty well. People in the community, they are takers. They ask things and they want an answer. Generally, I try to convert people that receive support to people that give support. It’s not easy but it’s a great way to set your culture. Otherwise, you have just a community of people that ask and no one answer. And that’s pretty common.
[00:29:24] Patrick O’Keefe: It’s such a good point for me because if anything, for a couple of things. First of all, I would have staff members out on phpBBHacks.com that were not developers or programmers, at all, because they could answer questions. When you talk about how the stupidest questions help people. You don’t have to be a dev or programmer to be able to answer someone’s question because we were all at that level once.
So that they can come in there and they send someone to the specific answer for their question. It just moves the needle so much as opposed to saying, “Search,” Because people come to you because they don’t want to search [laughs]. They want an answer to their question. And a few of our people who’d- they don’t need to know code, but if they use the software or they know the answer to that question that’s golden.
I remember specifically one person I invited to my team they said, “How can I help anyone? I don’t program, I don’t code anything.” And I said, “You can absolutely help people. You are already helping people because you know more now that you did when you came to the community, but there are people coming into the community every day who were where you were and you can you can help them level up to where you are now.” They are sharing the knowledge that you’ve gained and also I think sometimes the people who are nasty to newcomers forget that you need people who are good at writing who can write documentation, right?
[00:30:37] Alessio Fattorini: Yes.
[00:30:37] Patrick O’Keefe: You need people who can answer questions in the support forums, who aren’t technical. You need people who can design graphics, right, or change the website or something like an open source project is a lot of different components and pieces and it’s not just the programmers, it’s not just the coders, it’s a lot of people helping the project to be successful.
[00:30:57] Alessio Fattorini: Yes. Especially that I found it works very well and I use it a lot. I have some kind of book where I put people and when my member answers the question and he shows some kind of skill about specific topic, okay, I put him in my book. With this kind of talk and into discussion when I grace a newcomer, I try to mention input into the specific topic, in discussion, you can mention people like in Twitter or in Facebook, or I send them a personal message waiting to have some discussion where they can air their voice, okay?
This is very cool because they can answer the question and then that’s very cool because when I mentioned this guy you reply, you reply to the question asked so it makes my job okay in this situation. And they feel acknowledged, they feel as experts and is very cool. People can’t know everything but can know a specific topic, a change that they tackled, a issue that they have solved in the past and maybe they know it very well and they can help people about that.
It is very cool because they are not there, they are not, as I said, they are not technical people but they are just members. And with this strategy I can scale my community and it works very well, I can involve people, I can keep people into the loop and they may receive my- they may receive a notification, they feel I need them, on this community.
[00:32:43] Patrick O’Keefe: I think that’s great place for us to wrap up. I mean that’s community. I think you nailed it. It’s been really great chat with you here on the program and I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us, Alessio. Thank you so much.
00:32:54] Alessio Fattorini: I am flattered to being here and thanks for inviting me.
[00:32:59] Patrick O’Keefe: My pleasure. We have been talking with Alessio Fattorini, community manager and support specialist at Nethesis. Find him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alessiofattorini, on Medium and Twitter, @ale_fattorini and on Slideshare at slideshare.net/alessiofattorini. And for details on CLSxItaly, a community management conference in Italy, visit clsxitaly.org. For the transcript from this episode plus highlights and links that we mentioned, please visit communitysignal.com. Community Signal is produced by Karn Broad. Have a great week.
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