Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting a Green Thumb

The phrase green thumb comes from gardening. When a person is really in tune with their garden plants, they often rub off nubs which will become branches in the wrong place, or pull out small, tender weeds before they grow to be pest-sized, thus ending up with green-stained fingers and thumbs. In our community, such tuned-in consciousness can help us grow and thrive. When one sees or hears a comment heading into negative territory, each of us can perhaps take a moment to ask the commenter more about their situation. Maybe they have encountered a bug, or just don't see how to choose to do what they need to get their task done. If you are a developer, maybe their difficulty can guide you toward a better user interface! If you do documentation, their questions and difficulties might help you explain the software more clearly. Perhaps the person is feeling bad for some other reason entirely. In any case, by asking for more information, you will effectively have turned what could have turned into a "trollish" situation, into a pleasant personal interaction and maybe more. Of course not all of us have the time or feel like spending our time being tuned in all the time. Which is why I urge each of my readers to take your turn by doing this part of the time. Our list moderators, IRC channel operators, and forum admins get tired, have vacations and other time off, and so forth. We can all be leaders of the community part-time, in this gentle, non-confrontational way. If you're good at it, and enjoy it, maybe it's time to volunteer to help moderate a list, become one of the channel operators, or help administer the forums. It is not necessary to have an official leadership position though, to exercise leadership. Perhaps you would like to become part of the KDE Community Working Group?[1] We have a need for a new team member right now. See the KDE-Community list for more information.[2] And see the Freenode Catalysts page [3] for more details about this mode of leadership. The Ubuntu 1. Community Working Group: http://ev.kde.org/workinggroups/cwg.php 2. KDE-Community list: https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/kde-community 3. Be a Catalyst: http://freenode.net/catalysts.shtml