The holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving has come and gone but it is still a good time to reflect on the things we are thankful for. I am thankful for so many things, good health, good friends, and being blessed to have a career that is also a creative outlet for me such that I look forward to each day working on mojoPortal which is truly a labor of love for me. While my work has certinly not made me rich (yet), I feel like one of the luckiest people because I know that so many people go to work everyday dreading their job and the time they spend there. I've had a long and diverse work history and have also spent many years doing work that did not make me happy and was not enjoyable, so I know how difficult it is to find one's niche in the world and how lucky I am at this point in my life.
Today I would like to express how thankful I am for the mojoPortal Community and especially those community members who give back to the community by helping others. Throughout the history of the project I have always tried to make sure that we have good support in our forums and over the years I have personally answered many many questions posted in our forums and tried to have short response times especially for people having any difficulty with installation or reporting bugs because I know that first imporessions are very important. As the popularity of mojoPortal has grown over the years it has become more and more challenging to keep up with the volume of questions and I began to worry whether it would just become unmanageable. I think that to some degree, my fast response times in the forums hindered the development of the community itself because others who might have been willing to answer some questions did not get a chance because I answered right away and this discouraged helpful participation to some extent. The bottom line was that people did recieve help so they were happy and more and more people continued to use mojoPortal but it did not encourage others to help and therefore did not contribute to building a community that could sustain itself. There were always a few people who helped in the forums now and then but mostly in the early days it was people asking questions and me answering them and this continued for years.
Then in February 2009, Joe Davis joined the community and soon began helping lots of people in the forums and I was elated because this helped reduce the work load for me in answering questions, but the volume of questions continued to grow. We both worked to improve the documentation and make it easier for people to find the information they were looking for to help reduce the questions but it was becoming obvious that we needed to do more to get other community members involved. Joe Davis agreed to help with that so I appointed him Community Manager. We discussed ideas to help foster the community. One of the things we talked about was making forum improvements so that questions and answers could be identified more easily and users could earn points for answering questions. I think StackOverflow has set the bar on what good forums should be like and ultimately I would still like to evolve our forums to be more like StackOverflow, but it will take a good deal of work to improve our forums that much and there are so many other things to work on it still may be a while before we get there. We did a little work to make it more obvious that people could subscribe to forum notification emails and we changed the notifications to include the text of the post so that people could see right away in their inbox if it was a question they knew the answer to and this has helped quite a bit.
Gradually, it just seemed to happen that we reached a critical mass of active helpful community members and in the last few months I've been very happy because of the number of helpful people and the quality of help they have been providing. So, Joe Davis and I decided we should provide some recognition for these helpful people by giving them a badge for their forum signature that identifies them as a "Community Expert". While we still plan to someday build a point system into the forums to encourage helpful people, for now we know who is helping and we want to give them some recognition for their expertise in working with mojoPortal and their willingness to share their knowledge and help others.
So please join us in thanking the following community members who are true mojoPortal experts and have earned the designation of "Community Expert":
Jamie Eubanks who is both a "Community Expert" and a new member of our Documentation Team.
Rick Hubka who is both a Community Expert and our Community Liaison from Arvixe Web Hosting
Asad Samarian who is a long time community member and also manages our Persian Language Community
and maintains documentation in Persian, has also become more and more helpful in our English forums over the years as his English has improved.
German Barbosa who is our newest Community Expert.
If you've asked questions in our forums lately, chances are that one of these kind folks or Joe Davis or myself have helped you.
If you've become an expert with mojoPortal, why not subscribe to our forums
and help out when you can? We'll be on the lookout for more helpful people that deserve recognition as a mojoPortal Community Expert. Maybe you will be our next Community Expert!