Community Management Wiki

Antipattern: The Black Hole[]


A prominent community developer gets hired to work on a project he has previously volunteered on, and overnight becomes less visible in the community. Patch review time goes up, reactivity and participation on mailing lists goes down. The root cause is typically an increased expectation of "productivity", where that is measured in terms of features written and number of commits.


"Ironically, since I started working on SyncEvolution full-time beginning of this year, I seem to have *less* time left compared to the previous years when I did it in my spare time ;-) " - Patrick Ohly, 2009

"I have too much work to do to spend time answering questions on mailing lists" - OpenWengo developer, 2007


A hard one to cure, since it requires the developer's employer to understand the value of community participation as a catalyst, or the recruitment of new (unpaid) maintainers to fill the vacuum left by the busy developer. The use of community metrics which show that overall productivity (mailing list posts, total number of patches or bugs reported/fixed) has decreased on the project since the hiring are useful to back this argument up.

Related patterns[]