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Community 101: Be visible and easy to find

Posted by jbob on April 7, 2005 at 1:48 PM PDT

Do you have a people page in the People Wiki?

I do

Do you even know what I'm talking about?

By that, I mean do you know what the people wiki is?!

Does your people page have enough useful information on it to make it valuable to you and others?
Mine doesn't, but I promise I will do as I say after this blog.... ;)

The people wiki is a member maintained wiki for members to create a page for themselves. There are no hard and fast rules about what you should put there, but there is a lot to consider. First let's look as some common situations where a people wiki page could be helpful.

Have you ever gotten a project role request from someone known only as some obscure ID?

Wouldn't it be great if you could easily learn more about the person requesting the role?

Imagine if we held an election for a post on (i.e. the Fairness Board) and the only information you had about the candidates was their user ID?

Wouldn't it be great if you could easily see their bio?

There's over 100k members on, but how many of them have worked on the kind of application that I have questions about? How can I tell if they are open to being contacted.

Wouldn't it be great if you could easily look up peoples skill sets?

I'm sure there are lots and lots of additional scenarios that hopefully you will contribute as comments to this blog entry, but let's get to the point.

All of these scenarios have one thing in common. They are all born from the fact that the only identity that people really have on is their user ID. For a lot of reasons, we do not collect or capture personal information during registration. We don't even require a real name. This can make some decisions tricky.

The people wiki was created to assist in these situations. It certainly cannot solve these problems because, as a wiki, some of the information (i.e. skills) can be subject to the perceptions of the author. But it can help.

Let's consider some types of information that might make the people wiki more valuable:

  • Your full name
  • Your location (city, country, time zone, etc)
  • Your Bio
  • The technical skills you possess (Swing, JDBC, Hibernate, performance tuning, etc)
  • Your technical interests (what kind of projects do you like?)
  • Are you looking for a job? Full Time? Consultant?
  • Do you mind being contacted regarding any of this?

There's lot's of other social things you could add, including a picture (so we can recognize you at Java One!) and what books you're reading. The people wiki page itself also lists a lot of good ideas, but I'm trying to focus on things that might be helpful in getting things done.

Like before, this is by no means an exhaustive list of things you could put on your people page, so please comment on other things or if any of these above are a bad idea.

As more and more members create useful people pages, some of the scenarios become easier to deal with.

  • Having a people wiki page with your skills and background might speed up the role request process.
  • If you're looking for a specific skill set, you can search the people pages for the right skills and/or experience.
  • You can use your people wiki page as an online resume and that might even find you a better job!
  • You could more easily find people local to you with the same interests.

Just remember that it's easier to include you and collaborate with you if we all know who you are and something about you. The people wiki is completely voluntary as is the information that you put there.

I hope this was, if you'll excuse me, I need to update my page.

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