A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

E6 - Onboarding new contributors to the community - @drano


I couldn’t find a post for this topic, so here it is.

One of the issues presented was around wrangling the various online channels to onboard people to the community. e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Randall mentioned that it was not necessary to use all of these channels individually, but rather you can use the channels to funnel people towards the one channel that you want to use and have control over.

I would consider “channel fragmentation” as a bug in your community. It’s not a problem with the technology; it’s a problem with the culture of the people.

As a community manager it is not always necessary to allow people to be totally comfortable. Community has a delicate balance between the power of the head and the inclusion of the body. It becomes a bit dangerous when the body has too much autonomy. If the members of the community are not willing/able to learn and comply with the culture and methods that facilitate vision of the community, then perhaps those are not the type of people you want to be in your community.

Then again, not all communities seem to have the luxury of being selective.


Thanks Joe for getting this thread started. I tried to start it earlier by posting the notes we took but my user rights do not permit me to post more than two links. If someone can post the notes the link is https://pad.riseup.net/p/On-boarding_new_contributors_6E.

Great session everyone, but let’s keep this discussion going!


I’m very very passionate about this topic, I agree with you in relation to “channel fragmentation” and I’m reading #cls notes … very very interesting!
I tried to address this topic here:


Here’s a copy of the notes, slightly cleaned up:

Some types of onboarding we’re interested in: remote instructors, an organization of librarians, developers, not just developers, atypical members, simpler membership agreements, both in-person and online communities, getting people to make their first posts.

Principles of onboarding:

  • Make the ladder obvious
  • Explicitly invite the kinds of people you want
  • List specific tasks, with the skills required for each
  • Personal greeting (in a non-creepy way)
  • Ideally quickly
  • Ideally customised (not canned)
  • Set expectations
  • Documentation (in the form of friendly email) explaining “unwritten rules”/culture



Welcome guide
Keeping them new and up-to-date is an interesting challengeExamples of these: http://www.openstack.org/assets/welcome-guide/OpenStackWelcomeGuide.pdf https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/How_To_Contribute
Ask beginners to update the welcome documentation - explain that the
old guard is oblivious! Very-slightly-less-new newcomers are the best
experts on the newcomer experience.
http://drupalladder.org/ - “drupalladder.org contains (or links to) lessons and materials to help people learn about and contribute to Drupal.” - http://drupalladder.org/ladder/ee503327-50be-1904-8d04-9499098cad64
If people don’t find the welcome documentation, ask people what
keywords/search paths they used, so you can add those keywords/phrases
to help you make it easier to find.

I like the idea of putting the “Weclome Guide” (or overview) into an introductory video.

Perhaps there should be two welcome videos:

  1. Pre-joining video that is used to attract a certain type of community member
  2. Post-joining video that describes the community culture can conduct

Thanks to for being the kind sponsor for this forum!