Subject: Re: Nessus 3.0's failed community
From: Michael Bernstein <>
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 10:35:38 -0800

On Tue, 2005-11-29 at 16:34 -0800, DV Henkel-Wallace wrote:
> On Nov 29, 2005, at 12:22 , Michael Bernstein wrote:
> > On Tue, 2005-11-29 at 12:23 -0500, Marshall W. Van Alstyne wrote:
> >>
> >> So, it raises a great question: What inducements, credit, benefits,
> >> licensing terms etc. should firms provide to the broader developer
> >> community to encourage their participation?  Beyond openness, what  
> >> levers
> >> do firms really have?
> >
> > Three that I can think of: Visibility, Engagement, and Responsiveness.
> >
> > Visibility: Is it obvious how the community is expected to  
> > participate?
> > Is there a bug/issue tracker? Mailing list? IRC channel? A wiki? A
> > weblog? Version control? Are these community venues easily  
> > discoverable?
> > Can a technical user easily do an anonymous checkout of the code?
> By the way these should be practically XOR.  That is, sometimes it's  
> just too damned complicated coming up to speed on something with too  
> many contact points or way too high a volume on the only mailing list.

Two should be required (for all non-trivial projects): An issue tracker
and version control.

Mailing lists, wikis, weblogs, and IRC channels are only partial
substitutions for each other. In particular, Wikis are good at
collaborative document writing, but terrible as a conversational medium.
Weblogs can be made to substitute for most of the others, if you set
them up right, but that's rather unusual.

I agree however that few projects need *all* of the communication venues
I've listed, and even if they all exist, not all of them need to be
promoted to new users from the project's homepage.

- Michael Bernstein