In my first post I covered the Why? of community and ended up with this mission statement, "The Danish .NET community is an open platform through which developers meet as equals to share experiences and inspire each other through enthusiasm".
With the Why? in place I followed up with What? and came up with my personal idea for the Danish .NET community, "The Danish .NET community is about face to face meetings where people participate on equal terms and secondarily about online activities to make up for the intervening periods.".
And now for my favorite part of the series: The practical aspect. The how!
How do we go about creating an open platform through which developers meet to share experiences? In many way I already feel we've made good inroads on that one. Naturally I'm a little bit colored here due to my involvement in ANUG but I honestly feel that the the user groups out there are the very best vehicle for getting developers together. Especially with user groups popping up in major cities across Denmark and the possibility of cooperation between them.
That's why I'm taking the initiative to bring the core groups of the Danish .NET User Groups together on a regular basis to knit the enclaves of .NET community better together.
The NUGs will create a nice platform from which to create the informal gatherings which are the geek dinners. I like the idea of geek dinners and I feel that the informal nature of such gatherings help people let their guard down a bit and talk more freely about whatever challenges they're facing day to day.
Microsoft of course is playing their part in this with the TechTalks which I feel are much better than the Meet Microsoft events of yesteryear due to their clearer focus. Although I feel that Jutland is left out in the cold a bit.
Microsoft is very keen to help out and I've wracked my brain to come up with ideas for places where they can help out because basically the .NET community seen with my eyes is better than ever.
One way to help out the NUGs is by helping us put together large scale shared events, maybe full day events with specific themes and who knows, maybe in the long term we can go even bigger and create a yearly .NET conference? Microsoft has experience with this kind of stuff with the Meet Microsoft events and I feel it could work even better with the special sauce that the NUGs bring to the table.
Also I'd like to see large scale events based on the open space principle. Simply bring together a bunch of enthusiastic and opinionated people and have them go at it. We've discussed doing this within ANUG but we feel that the scale is too small to do it without any sort of structure. But imagine gathering people from across the country for a day of open space discussion; I see some magic happening there.
We need to take a long hard look at what's already out there and not try and create new initiatives. Basically what will happen is that we'll water down the community until relevant information is scattered across the ruins of the community useless to all. In that vain I propose that we start using some of the prominent .NET sites out there to share information like DotNetForum.dk. More specifically I'd like Microsoft to not try and invent the wheel by creating their own platform for sharing content. Use what's out there, use DotNetForum.dk, ActiveDeveloper.dk, or whatever else. Please don't try and do something completely new. Just get the content out there and back the existing efforts by doing so.
I was surprised to find that people place an enormous value on web casts and specifically on web casts created here in Denmark. I partially agree that they are a good vehicle for information but only for some information. I've given Daniel a though time in the past but he has proven that web casts are the way to go for personal interviews with people in the community. His unique position with Microsoft along with his outgoing personality makes him perfect to go out there and do just that.
These are some of my opinions and ideas on how we can make the .NET community even better. In short we need to create more opportunities for us to meet face to face and use the existing platforms to promote new content.
I'd like Morten Jokumsen's opinion on where he sees DotNetForum.dk, I'd like to hear from Daniel Mellgaard Frost and Bo Drejer whether we can establish a strategy based on some of this stuff, I'd like to hear from the powers that be at ONUG Jesper Blad Jensen, Joachim Lykke Nielsen, and Kasper Bo Larsen what their opinions on this are, and the same thing goes the KNUG guys Jakob T. Andersen and Mads Kristensen.