Fedora Ambassador Program Revamp Proposal
I've prepared this proposal as a result of many public discussions around the state of the Fedora Ambassador Program. After hearing you loud and clear, I have attempted to create a new structure that includes ALL the roles that previously existed, without removing any. The proposal includes a plan on how to get us from where we are currently to where and what we could be. I have attempted at every turn to simplify, and to make use of what we already have in place.
The main change the proposal makes is that CommOps will be reinvigorated as an umbrella organization for Join, Advocates, Ambassadors, and Ambassadors Emeritus. These groups are all focused on Community Outreach, and as we all know, the overlaps can be frustrating. The refreshed CommOps Team will encompass all of these groups to ensure we are working together in a smart and efficient way moving forward.
Change is hard. Let’s take all the energy we have over the frustration and point it at this evolution. Let’s embrace that we are a community that welcomes change and we are able to overcome the growing pains. I have put a lot of my own energy into this proposal, and had a couple folks give some bits of first feedback so I don’t eat dirt after publishing it. Please read it with an open mind, and hopefully you will be as excited as I am about the future!
All my best,
Historically, the Fedora Ambassadors program has been very successful. Other initiatives have even modeled their own programs on it. As the program has grown, however, a variety of issues have cropped up. These issues have caused participation in the Ambassador program to decrease. As a result, the Ambassador team has felt disheartened, unappreciated, and discouraged. While several groups and individuals continue representing Fedora locally, many do not participate in the Ambassadors program specifically. Beyond the history of Ambassadors, Covid-19 is changing how the world works and we want to embrace and potentially lead on what digital advocacy will look like moving forward.
What is the goal of the Fedora Ambassadors program?
The goal of the Fedora Ambassadors program is to promote Fedora through community-driven education and outreach. The program should empower community advocates to connect with users in their localities, teach them about Fedora's principles, and help them understand the benefits of using free and open source software (FOSS). Ambassadors help to grow the community of Fedora contributors, talk about the Fedora Four Foundations, and demonstrate FOSS technologies to the public.
How is the program not fulfilling its goal?
The program has lost momentum in recent years. Some Ambassadors are active, but have no easy way to report their activity. Some of the most effective ways to promote Fedora locally today are different from the traditional practices of the Fedora ambassadors program. We propose evolving the activities we use for grass roots promotion of Fedora, and the ways in which we engage people at a local level to empower and enable them to promote Fedora effectively.
How much work does operating the Ambassadors program take?
Because visible program activity is currently minimal, maintaining the program does not require much work. Updates to the program may require new levels of investment.
Why make a change?
We want the Fedora community's most enthusiastic contributors to feel empowered to represent the Fedora project in their local communities and online, proactively recruit new members to the Fedora project, and enjoy a sense of camaraderie with similarly enthusiastic contributors. We hope to reinvigorate the program in a modern way and inspire new forms of ambassadorship in the larger FOSS community.
Plan of Action
Gather Community Input
Owned by FCAIC
- Publish the proposal on June 3rd in a Mindshare Ticket and then send it out to various mailing lists.
- Gather community feedback over the period of two weeks until June 17th.
- Make adjustments to the plan for a week and shoot for a start day of work for the new program on June 24th.
- Related Issue: #218
Organize a Temporary Task Force
Owned by Mindshare Committee
- Organize a temporary task force with motivated individuals who will have time to commit to this effort in the next 6 months to a year. These individuals should have a shared vision for the future and an excitement to revitalize.
- Ideally, the team would be made of 6-10 folks who can dedicate 2-3 hours a week. 1 hour for a meeting, 1-2 hours for work, organizing, documentation etc.
- Related issues: #226, #227
Update and Finalize CommOps Structure
Owned by Task Force
- Identify active and inactive Ambassadors by following the process outlined below. Clean up membership by moving inactive members to Ambassador Emeritus so we have an understanding of the state of Ambassadors currently.
- Create role handbooks for each title within CommOps. These should be easy to update for future years.
- Update, formalize, and document process for the 3 seats on the Mindshare Committee.
Survey and Organize Findings
Owned by Diversity & Inclusion
- Do a call to “Fedora Ambassadors/CommOps/Advocates/Join, past, present, and future” and organize a survey for those folks to complete. The focus of the survey should be on finding “bright spots” (what is working for people?) gathering ideas, trends, areas of focus, and directions current members want to go. It should avoid rehashing “what went wrong”, we know that already!
- What attracted you to become an Ambassadors/CommOps/Advocates/Join?
- What are your current Ambassadors/CommOps/Advocates/Join responsibilities?
- How many events did you attend this year and talk/discuss about Fedora?
- What is the process you are using to complete these?
- What would you like to be doing as an Ambassadors/CommOps/Advocates/Join?
- What lessons do you think we need to learn from the evolution of the Ambassadors/CommOps/Advocates/Join programs?
- What functions do you think are outdated?
- What do you see other organizations doing that you think works well?
- What kind of things do you want to see CommOps focusing on?
- What could you be doing even more of if you had the resources?
- What has kept you from joining Ambassadors/CommOps/Join SIG?
Owned by CommOps
- Develop interview questions and conduct research interviews with teams/active members of each Mindshare team and document their current responsibilities as well as any goals/ideas they may have for the future. Ensure there is one point of reference online for each team.
Branding & Design
Owned by Design Team
- Shape a brand identity for the new CommOps teams and its vision. Consult and strategize on where design efforts should be directed in 2020.
- Create a set of logos for the new community outreach program. These logos should be modern and representative of community outreach in some way.
- Assist in creating various assets once the copy has been solidified. These assets would ideally align with the new logo and help build an identity for the CommOps team.
Owned by Docs Team
- Assist in pointing to, editing, and creating various pieces of content needed to complete this change. Items such as: survey, points of reference for Mindshare teams, rollout plan, etc. Ensure we aren’t reinventing the wheel with docs.
Owned by Mindshare Committee and Marketing Team
- Assist in creating an angle for the new program and create a strategy for a successful rollout. We need to hype this up for the entirety of the Fedora community. There could be folks who have always wanted to join, and now would be a great opportunity to catch them. Once things get rolling it would be great to broaden visibility to the greater FOSS community.
- Assist design team with branding project.
- Timeline: June 2021 - December 2021
Owned by Translation Team
- Review the plan to ensure the English text is understandable by non-native speakers, and give feedback on any potential cultural issues surrounding translation.
- Translate plan into key languages to ensure the change is communicated and available to a broad audience to get involved. Translations will be needed for the Mindshare teams description of roles and responsibilities as well.
Owned by all teams
- Monthly updates come from the Task Force. The other teams involved should provide updates when they are in process with their work.
- Need to create an email template so that updates are easy for anyone to complete.
Owned by FCAIC & potentially more folks
- A video (or series of videos) describing the situation and the new plan at a high level. Acknowledgement of feelings, inspirational words, and charge up for the change. Helping to put a face on the change that speaks directly to the community.
The CommOps Team
The Fedora community consists of members from a wide variety of backgrounds, people from any number of different domains who possess varying levels of experience and technical proficiencies. We need to be aligned with how technology, rights, equality, diversity and freedom advocacy is being undertaken across projects and communities. Fedora CommOps will be an umbrella organization to unite our community outreach efforts. Fedora Join, Advocates, Ambassadors, Ambassador Emeritus will all fall under the umbrella.
The Fedora CommOps pledge is at the heart of creating this change successfully. These ideas are meant to be revisited to keep what we all care so much about at the forefront of our mind: the health and success of the Fedora Project and it’s community.
Fedora CommOps Team Members: Can recognize when something isn’t working and want to change it Are willing to grow and try new things Believe they are in control of their own ability, and can learn and improve Are excited to learn new skills Take action Encourage their teammates and try to understand their ideas Understand that failure is an expected part of change and are willing to adjust
These are the main structural changes this proposal outlines.
Join SIG -> Join SIG changes to Join Team to improve branding
- Join SIG should approve this
Advocates -> Moves under the CommOps umbrella
Ambassadors -> Moves under the CommOps umbrella
Ambassadors Emeritus -> Moves under the CommOps umbrella
This is what the new structure would look like under this proposal.
- Will function as usual. They are welcome to attend CommOps meetings if desired.
- Receive a Fedora Badge.
- Will function as usual with attendance at CommOps meetings as needed.
- Receive a Fedora Badge.
- Will function with new defined responsibilities (below) with attendance at CommOps meetings.
- Receive a Fedora Badge.
- Will exist with our utmost respect and honor for their time and contributions.
- Receive a Fedora Badge.
- Receive a (what should this be?) as a token of Fedora’s appreciation.
- One Ambassador seat.
- One CommOps seat.
Two meetings a month scheduled for time zone efficiency for *ALL* roles within CommOps attend.
- Times to be decided.
These tasks are things that all roles within the CommOps team should exercise as it seems fit.
- Act as a conduit for interested people to become involved in the Fedora Community
- Recruit new contributors
- Promote Fedora and cross-community interaction
- Mentor and foster current Fedora contributors
- Communicate and represent Fedora within local spheres of influence
- Write blog posts specific to the goals of CommOps
- Write blog posts highlighting the accomplishments of CommOps
- Enjoy working with others who are passionate about community outreach
- Promote Fedora online and increase presence on online forums
Fedora Join aims to set up and maintain channels that let prospective contributors engage with the community. The idea here is to enable people looking to join the Fedora community to converse with existing members, make friends, find mentors, and get a feeling of what and how the community does in general, with a view to reducing the learning curve that joining a new community entails - and make it more enjoyable!
Roles and responsibility
- Set up a communication channel between the existing contributors and prospective contributors. Speaking to current team members is always encouraging. We could even set up a system to send "easyfix" tasks to this mailing list giving folks a chance to work on them and learn in the process.
- Guide/aid prospective contributors to turn into solid contributors. Rather than just pointing them to join.fedoraproject.org, talk to them, see what issues they face, help them decide where they want to get started.
As a member of Join, it is suggested that you:
- Attend CommOps meetings as needed or requested
- Subscribe to the Join and CommOps mailing lists
Advocates are people who organize or help organize small events. You do not need to be an advocate previously to do these tasks, you receive the status after completing your work on an event. These are community members who want help with community outreach efforts with low commitment tasks. They are users of Fedora and are usually involved in one other aspect of the project.
Roles and responsibility
Hold calendar events like release parties, Fedora women’s day
Promote Fedora technology at local user groups with talks etc.
Attend conferences to present work being done with Fedora
As an advocate, you can:
- Organize virtual social hours
- Request budget for small events from Mindshare
- Request swag for events from Mindshare
- Request assistance from an Ambassador
- Apply to become an Ambassador
- Collect local knowledge from Fedora communities to inform and inspire CommOp’s strategy, activities and priorities.
As an advocate, it is suggested that you:
- Attend CommOps meetings in your timezone if necessary or requested
- Attend (or watch the recordings of) Fedora Council Video meetings
- Subscribe to Ambassadors and Mindshare mailing lists
Ambassadors are people who can organize medium and large events. These are people with experience in the community and often a contributor in another part of the Fedora Project. Ambassadors also have experience with organizing and coordination of events as well as a broad knowledge of the entirety of the Fedora Project.
Roles and responsibility
- Understand what the teams within Fedora do and be able to explain their functions
- Assist Advocates with their endeavors
- Mentor new Ambassadors
- Go to digital events representing Fedora
- Represent Fedora to outside organizations
- Promote specific items (initiatives, products, events) to the local Fedora users and outside groups.
- Consider themselves champions of open values and principles and care about the ways those values can help create better organizational experiences for everyone.
- Develop Fedora communities in their local regions and support local FLOSS communities to have an effective and decentralized environment for contribution.
- Create opportunities with adjacent communities to spread Fedora’s mission and expand Fedora's outreach in the open source ecosystem.
As an Ambassador you can:
- Request event budget from Mindshare Committee
- Propose event/conference sponsorships to Mindshare Committee
- Request swag for events from Mindshare Committee
- Reach out to other Ambassadors/mindshare in need of help
- Help shape the focus of community outreach for the Fedora Project
- Receive a Fedora Badge
- Receive an Ambassador Polo with the new logo
As an Ambassador, it is suggested that you:
- Attend CommOps meetings in your timezone
- Attend Fedora Council Video meetings
- Subscribe to Council, Devel-announce, Ambassadors and Mindshare mailing lists
How to Apply to become an Ambassador
To apply to become an Ambassador open a Ambassador Application ticket on CommOps pagure. Generally, it is advised that you have been involved with the Fedora community for at least a year to get a feel and understanding for our culture. During that time your participation can be in any part of the Fedora Project, we welcome diverse backgrounds.
- Open an Ambassador Application ticket
- Be paired with a sponsor/mentor
- Attend CommOps meetings X amount of times within the span of X time
- Triage/comment on X number of open CommOps tickets within the span of X time
- Work with your sponsor/mentor to ensure you have the proper knowledge
- Once your sponsor/mentor gives approval, graduate to ambassador!
Ambassadors Emeritus are people who held ambassador's positions for at least one full year and leave the Ambassador role in good standing. The Emeritus title is to publicly recognize them as a former Ambassador and to thank them for contributing to the Fedora Project. These can also be ambassadors who want to take a step back from the ambassador's responsibility for a while to focus on their personal lives, work or to avoid burnout.
How to become an Ambassador Emeritus
- Inactive (see below) Ambassadors will be contacted to ask if they want to continue being an Ambassador. If we do not receive a response, we will add them to the Emeritus group after a month.
- Create a ticket in CommOps pagure with Emeritus template and fill out a survey so we can improve the Ambassador experience. Once complete we will move your membership to Ambassador Emeritus and award you a badge for all the great work!
Roles and responsibility
Ambassadors Emeriti have no specific obligations.
They are encouraged to participate in any of the above ways as time and interest permit.
Emeritus Ambassadors have a standing invitation to CommOps meetings.
How to get back?
Emeritus ambassadors can step back into the Ambassador role by opening a CommOps ticket with the Ambassador Join template.
What is “active”?
Sometimes we have inactive and unresponsive people who may be in the CommOps Team. In an order to maintain some understanding of the status of the group, we will routinely work to check in with folks who look as if they are inactive.
Run a script that measures fedmsg activity for 1 years that measures the following.
- Participation on pagure tickets
- Packaging/QA/design/documentation/badges/websites repo etc tangible work (which can be tracked)
- Fedora meetings participation
- CommunityBlog/Fedora Magazine posts
(The group is populated against certain validation rules. If you have been mistakenly added, please open an issue at CommOps.)
How did we get here?
This is a list of issues surrounding Ambassadors that has been gleaned from ticket #145 in Mindshare, and the latest Ambassador mailing list thread. It has been included in this proposal to ensure Fedora Ambassadors and the community know they are being listened to and that their voices count. The proposal was written thoughtfully with these issues in mind.
Current & historical issues
- The Ambassador title has different meanings for different people
- A shortage of mentors for newcomers, and some unresponsive mentors
- Old Ambassadors are becoming inactive at a faster rate than new Ambassadors are being added
- Fast changes in leadership
- Current Ambassadors feel unwanted, newcomers feel similarly
- Lack of defined responsibilities
- Lack of new purpose
- Grown, not scaled
- Tired of repetitive tasks
- No visibility
- No recognition
- No easy way to report event attendance
- No clear way to measure import of work
- Feeling like there are too many bodies of governance
- Frustration of how to receive swag
- Comparing uses of money, not feeling like money is being used well
- Reimbursement process too long and complicated
- Feel like unpaid Red Hat employees
- Feels hard to contribute
- Feels hard to get started
- Conflicting information about new Mindshare processes and old Ambassador processes
- Not enough user facing information about how to get involved with Ambassadors, or any of the other teams within Fedora
- The “Fedora Ambassador” identity has fragmented with the advent of the Mindshare Committee Personal differences between individuals have caused some ambassadors to leave, and some local communities to stagnate
- No clear guidance from Fedora leadership, no guidance on what to say or do at events
- Outdated ideas of how to promote Fedora
- The Fedora Ambassadors lost financial autonomy and did not adopt the new process
- The technology world has evolved, and the way people learn about technology locally has evolved away from focused meet-ups and booths at local LUG events