Rules and Unspoken Rules for Surviving in the Open Source Community

 "Aunt" and "open source community" are two seemingly unrelated words put together.

When you are about to enter a technical exchange community, what do you think when someone suggests that you be a "big mom" in the community because it will be more popular? According to Zhuang Biaowei, the chairman of the Open Source Society, the helpfulness of aunties will encourage them to make more contributions, which is very suitable for the gift culture in the open source community, so that it is easier to be accepted by the community.

On June 9th, in the "Open Source Operation and Governance" session of the GOTC Global Open Source Technology Summit , Zhuang Biaowei gave a keynote speech on "Rules and Hidden Rules in Open Source Communities", starting from the rules and analyzing the small details of interpersonal communication in the operation of open source communities , bring a very useful sharing. This article is organized according to the shared content. 

How do we define a community? Zhuang Biaowei believes that a community is a gathering of like-minded people. People in the community are very happy, and people outside the community will come here. After the community has more members, it is necessary to improve the rules. The process of improving the rules is when a community keeps reviewing and confirming its original intentions - such as what kind of people and behaviors are welcome, what kind of people need to be kicked out, why the rules are formulated, and so on.

Rules are also divided into explicit rules and unspoken rules.

Zhuang Biaowei believes that the rules in the open source community evolve from affection, etiquette and law, and are finally implemented in the form of Code. According to the developmental context, the communication between people first follows certain human feelings and basic ethics, which is "qing"; from "qing" to "li", it refers to etiquette, etiquette, and gifts; but etiquette alone is not enough Restricting interpersonal relationships requires "law" to constrain it; law requires people to implement and interpret it, so it has a certain degree of uncontrollability; therefore, in the open source community, people can use "Code" to replace people and automatically implement established rules.

The unspoken rules in the community mainly have four characteristics : before the rules, the probability takes effect, the probability is open, and each interpretation. Zhuang Biaowei explained this evolution by taking the WeChat group as an example: when there are only a few people in the group at first, the unspoken rules have not yet taken effect; after the WeChat group grows, the group owner must consider what is welcome and what is not welcome in the group, such as not being able to advertise, the language used It needs to be civilized, etc.; in situations where unspoken rules need to be implemented, such as deciding to kick someone, the manager can decide whether to publicly explain the reason for kicking someone; finally, some behaviors of the manager may be different in the eyes of different community members Interpretation, everyone has a steel scale in their hearts, and finally forms a cognition of the unspoken rules of the community.


Back to the specific analysis in the open source community. Zhuang Biaowei believes that, first of all, the ethics in the open source community are similar and different from ordinary ethics . Doing what you don't want to do to others and not doing it to others is applicable at any time, while the traditional concept of father and son is obviously not suitable for community ethics. Most open source communities emphasize equality for everyone, but in fact, open source communities are often divided into contributors, committers, and PMCs. "This is a relatively flat organization, and there must be structural rules to govern."

Next is the ethics of open source communities, in which there are two unique phenomena: equality for all and meritocracy.

The former is reflected in the fact that when new members join the community, most people will not have prejudice. They are not ranked by age, education, etc., but are waiting to see the performance of new members, such as how to ask questions, how to do things, and how technical skills are. Wait. However, when community members are familiar with each other, the community's voice will be tilted towards the members who "contribute" the most. This is "elite governance", that is, the better the code quality, the more contributions, the higher the voice, and the corresponding community can be obtained. governance power.

Regarding the etiquette of the open source community , Zhuang Biaowei mentioned the "face-based conference", "the art of asking questions", and "gift culture". In his view, some offline meetings are major festivals for the community, and community members can enhance their feelings in this way. A good way to ask questions means that the questioner needs to show the community that he is stuck after some exploration before asking for help. The more detailed the description of the exploration process, the more willing others will be to help. The community also emphasizes a culture of gifts, and the more gifts a community member contributes, the more respected it will be. 

From ethics, etiquette, to law, many statutes are binding on the community , such as licenses, CLAs, etc. In addition, there are some automated rules in the community . "code2.0" proposes the concept of "code is law", that law is code that cannot be enforced ; code is law that can be enforced . Zhuang Biaowei, for example, the points rules in the BBS Q&A community, and some automated settings such as GitHub and Gitee belong to this category. For example, when a lot of people like a post, it will be promoted to the elite post. If there are many negative comments, it will automatically go to the trash box and voted by ordinary members. However, according to factors such as the activity level and participation time of different members, the The weights are different. In addition, Gitee also has the function of template. When users create a new issue or pr, they need to follow a fixed pattern, such as filling in submission information, extending information, selecting target branches, etc. This can also be called an automation rule in the community.

Finally, regarding the unspoken rules in the community , Zhuang Biaowei talked about the personality in the community, the tolerance of the rules, the communication channels within the community, and the intuition of community operators.

Zhuang Biaowei exemplified three types of personalities in the live broadcast : one is a "posting machine without emotion". Zhuang Biaowei believes that when a person is defined as a posting machine by other members in the community, then people generally don't read his posts. On the contrary, If there are often positive interaction and emotional postings in the community, their reposted posts are more likely to be viewed by everyone; the second is "gangjing", the members of the "gangjing" personality may set off a wave of discussion heat, bringing There is a certain amount of traffic, but it will drive away real users; the third is "Aunt", which refers to people who are often enthusiastic to help others in the community, such as "Python Aunt" Zhou Qi. Feelings, "It's a line worth developing that will make you more popular."

Zhuang Biaowei believes that the rules or unspoken rules in the community have different tolerances when facing different members . Communities tend to be stricter towards newcomers, while older people who contribute more to the community are treated more leniently.

An open source community often has different communication channels at the same time, such as mailing lists, WeChat groups, QQ groups and so on. Zhuang Biaowei hypothesized that if a community member finds a "gangster" in a discussion group, a better way may be to communicate with the group owner privately and ask the group owner for management, rather than "opening the bar" directly in the group.

The intuition of community operators is also a very important ability in Zhuang Biaowei's view. Operators need to find problems in time, reiterate rules, adjust rules, etc. according to the development of the community, "This requires community operators to have intuition, feel the problem, and Judgment is right.” Of course, this does not mean that members other than community operators do not need to participate in the construction. Zhuang Biaowei believes that every community member needs to pay attention to the rules, take the initiative to make friends with managers, and make suggestions.

"Many times, the community is regarded as a fish pond. One view is that you are a fish farmer outside the fish pond. You only observe and see when to fish; the other is to regard yourself as the fish in the fish pond, the community's A part, to feel the joys, sorrows and joys of the community.”

Zhuang Biaowei
Chairman of Open Source Society, senior product manager of Huawei Cloud DevCloud, architect of Huawei Neiyuan community, product manager of Huawei Cloud code hosting service.

GOTC, the Global Opensource Technology Conference, the global open source technology summit.

The conference was initiated by the Open Atom Open Source Foundation and the Linux Foundation in conjunction with Open Source China, and invited 10+ heavyweight open source foundations and open source communities to participate in depth, covering the relevant open source experience of 100+ companies and involving 300+ outstanding open source projects. 

The experts who make up this open source event are mainly well-known figures in the field of open source, and the relevant sharing topics also focus on open source, including open source technology, open source operation and governance, open source development trends, open source technology practice, open source commercialization, etc. .

The conference also unprecedentedly invited the heads of several top open source foundations in the world to participate in the roundtable at the same time to discuss the new open source ecosystem.

More Linux founder Linus Trovalds will share his mental journey and open source insights since the birth of Linux 30 years ago.

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