Hippo community guidelines
The Hippo Community Google Group and mailing lists are used for various things:
- Q&A about Hippo software,
- "How-do-I" and best-practices discussions,
- Discussing the issues and the future of Hippo CMS, and
- Announcements regarding Hippo CMS.
The group and mailing lists are run by many people from all around the world. Being respectful of the time and culture of others on the group and mailing lists is a key start to making productive participations and contributions.
The community is run by many members, who have deep and lasting experience in helping to build and run long-term successful open source projects and products here at Hippo.
First a few general guidelines to reduce tensions between passionate community members in a distributed environment:
Assume that the other party agrees more than disagrees with you. We tend to leave out agreements and focus on differences. Sometime this is forgotten and escalation becomes absurd for no rational reason.
When in doubt, assume that you are interpreting the message wrongly and kindly ask for verification that you understood a particular topic well.
When writing, assume that every sentence will be misinterpreted. Review and try to reformulate to be as clear as possible.
Use a submissive tone in all writing. Instead of the strong "In my opinion, we must..." or the quite neutral "I think we should...", try to use "Maybe we should consider..." or "Another idea that we could..."
If you disagree strongly with an email sent, tag it Important, then put it aside. Read it half a day later again. Put it aside. Read it again next day, and then it is easier to write a balanced and inviting response, instead of the initial vitriol that flows through us when we get upset. I found that sometimes a response wouldn't be necessary, as the importance was actually much lower than originally perceived, and I would be able to work "with", instead of "against", a given change.
Be forgiving and accept different priorities. The other person is not out to get you or attack your work. More often than not, it is one of the above (1-5) that are failing, or that the other person prioritize some aspect higher than you do. Sometimes, this requires compromises, sometimes not and the different priorities can co-exist.
Face-to-Face is an excellent way to eliminate disagreements, but that is often not practical. Consider Skype or Google Hangout, just for the social aspect of being part of this community. It should not be formal, and the invitation should go out to everyone, perhaps someone wants to make a short presentation of what he/she is doing, to have some "structure", but that might not be needed either. Once we have a face to the words, and a general idea how that person is socially, we are much more capable to interact in the group or by email.
In general, the Group and mailinglists exist to keep the community of Hippo informed, involved and participated in. To help keep things tidy and people happy, the following guidelines are to be observed:
- Be respectful, others are very willing to help and spend time, please be nice.
- Do your homework, try to avoid asking questions that where answered before.
- Keep questions specific; you are unlikely to be helped if you ask "how do I use Hippo to make a site".
- Get to know the Group, browse the archives and see how others interact.
- State your intentions, why are you trying to do what you are doing? The community is very knowledgeable and might know a better way.
- Share what steps you've taken to remedy any issue you might face.
- Help others if you can, the community exists by virtue of its members.
- Take your time when posting a question, the more info you provide and the clearer your message is, the larger the chances of you getting a timely answer.
- Keep in mind that you are mailing a couple hundred people, be worthwhile.
- Did you find an answer? Let everyone know so that others will be helped in the future.
- Do not branch within a conversation, rather start a new topic if needed.
- Do not cross-post, keep it in one place, a fragmented discussion benefits no one.
- Research your topic before beginning to discuss a new issue. Search and browse through the email archives - your issue may have been discussed before. Do not just perceive a problem and then rush out with a question - instead, delve.
- Take the time to clearly explain your issue and write a concise email message. Less confusion facilitates fast and complete resolution. Everyone will benefit from the extra time on your part. The less unnecessary discussion, the better.
- Mention the relevant versions, at the very least the Hippo version you are working on (e.g. 7.8.3).
- Use sensible and concise email subject headings. Search engines, and humans trying to browse a voluminous list, will respond favourably to a descriptive title.
- Keep each topic focused. If some new topic arises then start a new discussion. This leaves the original topic to continue un-cluttered.
- While the people are very happy to help, we can not give you any guarantees to response times, for that we refer you to our commercial support offerings.
- Very advanced questions, questions that need a lot of clarification and investigation might go beyond what the people at Hippo can spend timewise, again, we refer you to our commercial support offerings.