Open Data for Online Communities

By lucky coincidence I came upon this post by David Eaves which is already a couple of moths old. Reading this reminded me that any Comunity Manager can learn a lot by looking at how Open Source (Coding) Communites work and manage themselves.

The interesting thing he describes, is that communities can manage themselves better, and work more efficiently together – and ultimately enjoy themselves more and be motivated – if they have access to community data.

So, instead of merely monitoring the content YOU yourself put in, or the activities that happen right around you, any member of the community could see metrics about what the community has achieved as a whole. This could be a key to keeping motivation levels high, and ensuring members know where and how to engage most effectively, and immediately see the effect of their actions.

And of course there’s a parallel to the idea of Open Data (David is also an Open Data activist and advisor). In most online comunities and networks, access to community data is likely to be the priviledge of those who manage the platform. As Community Managers we know how enriching and motivating it can be to publicize data now and then, such as “there have been contributions from 190 countries, including South Sudan” or “this month, we’ve cracked a record in new active members”.

Why not make that a habit and provide relevant data in real time? As David explains in the post the video below, knowing more will help each member understand what’s going on around them and act accordingly. And of course it will also help Community Management in analyzing and reacting to issues.

I totally love this idea of an open dashboard of community data, accessible for all members.

Talk by David at the Mozilla Summit

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