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Alfresco.org and the Community

Question asked by loftux Moderator on Mar 22, 2011
Latest reply on Feb 12, 2012 by mrogers
I'm glad to see the that Alfresco is consolidating the community resources that is available into Alfresco.org. I like the changes, and it will be a good step forward. But there are more improvements that can be made.

First, some minor ones. On the wiki, there are now two "Home", each pointing to different location. Maybe change the wiki one to "Wiki start" or similar. The alfresco.org "Home" has a different logo than Forums, Wiki etc, maybe intentional, but confusing.
Remove page redirect from alfresco.org to alfresco.com. With that I mean to make alfresco.org the true community domain. I now have a logo that says Alfresco.org in many places, but I always end up in alfresco.com. Maybe not easy to change taking into consideration search engines and all the links out there, but should be looked into.

Next, I would like to propose some additional changes, some more general thought on how to improve the Alfresco Community.

Extend instead of Contribute
Most users initially is looking into extending, not contributing. While contribution should be encouraged, it is more of a second step for most users in the Community.
And that means that http://forge.alfresco.com is heavily outdated. It may be upgradeable to get what I want, these are the main features I would like to see
-Make it into an extension register. Kind of like freshmeat.net
-Anyone can register their contribution, regardless of where it is actually hosted. It is already the case that many great contributions are outside of forge.alfresco.com, like here http://code.google.com/query/#q=alfresco and other may prefer to host on their own servers
-Let any license be applicable, even for proprietary extensions, it should be an extension registrer, a one stop shop for finding them.
-Let user rate extensions
-Maybe other social features, like monitor an extension, tweet it etc.
-Link to an automatically created forum topic for each extension, that will make it easy to give feedback
-Dont set your ambitions to high, we dont need automatic install (like from wordpress) to be in place. Or a full featured app store. Just give the basic at first.
-Consolidate your own extension registers into this. Like http://blogs.alfresco.com/wp/solutions/ (just stumbled into this today while researching this post, it is well hidden). You should of course be able to give partners extra promotion, but that can be done in context of an Extension register.

Local Community web sites
While there are many communities out there, there is no one place to find them, and to participate. There is this list http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Local_Communities, but there should be one more promoted place to find them.
And to this I would like to see a Community Collaboration site (not necessarily with Share looks), hosted by alfresco.org. In there, you can create wiki pages, blog posts, announce local community meetings. And add subforums to it, like /Board Index/Local Communities/Swedish Users Group/ where you can ask questions in your own language. No need to add separate forum installations, at least not for small community languages like swedish.
While we created the Alfresco Nordic User group on linked in, it hasn't really any activity. My thinking is that most active users would like to go to one place, and use the same account, and that would be the place related to the forums.

Community involvement
There is more that can be done to get greater community involvement. I think (and this is more of a general feeling, no science behind) that Alfresco is to "Enterprisy" sometimes. And with this I don't want to start a "not true open source" discussion, such replies to this can be skipped. Alfresco employees and investors need to get a well deserved pay for what they are doing.
Small things can be of great value. Like actually using the alfresco.org domain for community, rather that the enterprise one alfresco.com. Stop requiring registration for every single link to resources, hey even Oracle:s mysql still have a "No thanks, just take me to the downloads!" link. While it is important for you to get leads, many gets discouraged. I just dont know how many times I have submitted my very same email just to watch webinars.
Maybe add Community moderators to the forums. Alfresco employees do an excellent job on moderating and responding, I just think this can be a way of encouraging involvement.
The good initiative of Alfresco Community Comitter Program never really took off. Why? Maybe the board is to Enterprisy, only formal Alfresco partners and Alfresco Employees. Maybe there should be a general Alfresco Community board that is not only for contributions, but Community in general. Has there been any meetings in accp, and have you published protocols?

Thanks to all of the Alfresco team for making this great product available.
Peter Löfgren, Stockholm, Sweden

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