When the OpenStack community was small, it was easy to share the baby steps and Herculean labors that come with developing open-source software. Five years later, with thousands of people all over the world chipping away at each release, flagging that progress is harder.
Thierry Carrez, OpenStack Technical Committee chair and release management project team lead (PTL), wanted to change that. So he came up with the idea of a #success IRC bot making it dead simple to record "little moments of joy and progress" and share them.
Using any OpenStack IRC channel, just type:
success [Your message here]
And the openstackstatus bot will take your message and record it on this wiki page: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Successes
"It’s really easy to feel lost in our mostly-virtual community. In your small corner, you can easily get the impression that we are not making progress every day, like we were doing in the early days of OpenStack when we were all in the same IRC channel," Carrez told Superuser.
— Thierry Carrez (@tcarrez) October 9, 2015
Carrez has been thinking about ways to rebuild what he calls this "single community spirit" across OpenStack since the fifth birthday celebrations this summer. His goal is to make sure that people communicate everyday successes and progress, to "restore the fun and the busy hive impression that we lost when we grew and split then communication channels."
As of this writing, on the Success page shows the hardworking — and yes — fun spirit of the community, whether it’s getting about getting a "cool OVS demo working" or just getting out of bed.
Carrez shies away from saying the effort is to counterbalance inevitable naysaying and flame wars, emphasizing that it was more a way of accentuating the positive.
"It is definitely part of a general effort to bring the fun back into OpenStack development: make it such a pleasurable experience that you want to stay in this community even if you change focus or
employers," he says. "That said, bikeshedding and the flame wars threads are indeed very noisy and visible. Small bits of progress, on the other hand, don’t warrant a long mailing-list thread or a zillon-comment blogpost, and therefore get lost in the noise. The goal of the #success bot is to surface those things and remind us all that we are actually making progress and having success every day."
Carrez says he was unsure whether people would like the idea, but the reaction so far has
been overwhelmingly positive. "[It] reminds me every day how much we actually achieve as a group. Now we’ll see if people keep using it and if it becomes a tradition over the long run."