Why being an approved loco team doesn’t actually matter a jot
I’ve been talking to a few members of Ubuntu Local Community Teams lately and had some thoughts on how the LoCo Council helps and also how we can improve our communication with teams.
Firstly the LoCo Council consists of six volunteers from the community who are spread over multiple timezones. As with other volunteers, they have work commitments and families. We all come from LoCo teams that are active in some way or another. Most of us are online on IRC either in our LoCo team channels, and sometimes also idle in the #ubuntu-locoteams channel. Some of us run our IRC client in a GNU screen session, and when we’re not there we look like we are, and can catch up with the conversation later 🙂
I regularly come back to my screen to find numerous ‘pings’ on IRC about how I can help a team with a query. The medium of IRC communication in Ubuntu is massive but I do wonder how helpful it is at times. If people don’t get an answer they log off or are unhappy they’ve not been helped, when in fact the people they’re addressing probably haven’t seen the problem yet.
I and others do try and answer as many queries as we can on IRC but I am sure we miss some and also people don’t know which channels to find the relevant information. One of the most useful channels to idle in to help locoteams is #ubuntu-locoteams many people idle in there from different teams and their experience in day to day running of their team may help you if you’re stuck.
I do notice there is a massive focus from teams on the status of being approved loco. Teams seem to perceive this as a elitist status and I’m not sure I’m happy about this. A LoCo team should be a team who is community based and who want to help to promote Ubuntu, be that installing it for someone, helping trouble shoot a bug or an issue, giving talks or organising conferences, there are numerous ways to be a LoCo, being approved or unapproved doesn’t change this one bit.
I am a firm believer being a LoCo is just as much about being friends with your team mates as installing Ubuntu on numerous machines or explaining what OSS/FOSS is all about. At the end of the day we are a community and sometimes that means doing casual non Ubuntu events, these can be added to the LoCo Directory (LD) also. Not every event has to always be about Ubuntu.
For example two weeks ago, the Ubuntu UK team went to the pub to watch a rugby game, people turned up who had no interest in rugby but they got to catch up with people who do over a few beers and just chat. I’ve found the best conversations happen outside of the formal conference environment.
I would love to see teams focus less on the ticking the box approach to getting approved and more on being a community who all work together for a common goal, to help people more understand how Ubuntu could possibly help them or at least show them there are alternatives out there for them to chose from. Less focus on the status of your team and more on the fun community interacting.
There are over 140 teams in the LD, I love to read the monthly reports and see how teams are doing, and I would love to see less technical events and more unconventional ways to interact with one another.