Like ~2700 other people, I follow the official NixOS Mastodon account. Currently, the entire account is owned by a single person, as far as I can tell. This may have worked for a long time in the past, but to me it is becoming increasingly clear that the task is getting too large for a single person. There regularly are posts that are subject to criticism. (I’d like to link to them, but Mastodon search is notoriously non-existent, and some posts also have been deleted). Of course mistakes can happen, but I believe that many of them could be caught by having a dedicated team.
Therefore I’d like to start a discussion about the process of who should manage this account, what the content policies are, and generally how to make things more transparent.
Additionally, we should probably discuss the other social media accounts Nix currently has, and maybe create consistent policies for them too. (I haven’t looked into any of them though, since I don’t use any other social media platforms.)
Personally, I’d like to see the following points addressed:
First of all, a content strategy; what should the accounts actually be? What should be posted, and who is the target audience? (only official announcements vs community projects vs jokes and memes; newcomers vs current users)
A content policy for reposting Discourse announcements and NixCon talks. Does everything get posted? If not, what are the criteria, and who decides?
How “official” should the account “feel”? Even if the account itself is official, there is a difference between an account who just bot-reposts community content (with varying amounts of curation) vs one that also posts opinions and adds commentary.
Depending on the answers to the previous points, there probably should be some kind of submissions process for posts. Simply relying on what content the account managers happen too come across will otherwise result in biases. (For example on Mastodon, posts on chaos.social tagged with #nix are guaranteed to come up in a search, but which is not true for other and especially smaller instances.)
Maybe it would also be interesting to take a look at how other communities (e.g. Rust, Gnome) manage their social media
The whole premise of this post is that the current situation is problematic, yet it also fails to give any example of problems with the current way the account(s) are managed.
FWIW I’m very happy that anyone is even willing to spend their time managing NixOS social accounts, and I like the current way things are being done on the account (reboosting interesting content from the Fediverse and republishing announcements from Discourse). This feels a lot like backseating someone else’s work.
Technical issues aside, I’m not even sure if I want to list specific issues or incidents that happened. Especially since I don’t really see a way how this wouldn’t look like I’m shitting on a poor volunteer’s hard work. Moreover though, I don’t think this is necessary in the first place, and the questions I raise further down in my post indirectly hint at the problems I currently see.
Also I don’t buy your argumentation of “somebody is volunteering so stop criticizing and be happy that we have anything at all”. I am trying to constructively improving things.
I do like the idea of having the account boost posts from the Fediverse and post Discourse announcements too, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about things like having more transparency and specific content policies.
I understand from where you are coming from, but I fear this is a bit too confrontational and this is not necessary.
There’s a Matrix channel called “Nix Marketing”, there, you can go, ask slowly your questions and work constructively towards a solution.
I, for one, agree with @delroth in the sense that social media management is very complicated to do properly, I think we have low maturity (in terms of human resources, tooling, etc.) levels to be much better at it and I believe this ought to be solved by having people going there and joining the marketing team.
EDIT: Though the discussion on policies have their right place here, I suppose.
Not quite: the account is ‘owned’ by the marketing team, and several people have access. Posts are scheduled to various social media (Mastodon, LinkedIn and Twitter) from a central tool, who does the scheduling is rotated and ideally subject to review before publication (though the team is small so this might get missed sometimes).
Monitoring mentions and boosting Mastodon content from other accounts is currently indeed a one-person affair, performed by Yours Truly. We typically don’t use the organization account to respond to posts (it is explicitly not a support channel).
Do you mean ‘posts’ or ‘boosts’? I think there has been two boosts that were ill-advised (my bad, sorry) and quickly unboosted. There was one constroversial ‘post’, but AFAIK that one was created in collaboration with multiple people. Smaller issues like unintentional use of link shorteners or linking only to YouTube when a media.ccc.de link is also available do happen, but are typically remedied quickly.
In short, I’m not sure I see there are “regularly” posts/boosts that are subject to criticism, and I’m not convinced adding more heavyweight process to that would help. In the rare cases things went sideways I think we acted quickly and adequately.
Of course, thinking about how to do things better is always a good idea, and some of your suggestions definitely seem worth considering. For some of the points, I think the Marketing team actually does have fairly clear goals/guidelines, but there’s always room for refine- and improvement.
(we prefer the #NixOS hashtag, btw, similar to how the site is nixos.org and the github org is called NixOS - even for things that are not about nixos-the-distro)
Do you have any particular recommendations on how to make sure we also discover posts that might not have made it to chaos.social? In the mean time, feel free to add a mentioned-users-only reply including @email@example.com or @firstname.lastname@example.org to ping for a post to be considered for boosting. To propose a link for posting from the official accounts, create a topic in the ‘Announcements’ discourse subforum).
Being involved in two community teams (and way too many other things) one thing I would wish for being implemented in terms of content policy was what was discussed with @garbas a couple of months back as a mid-term goal for the team (by the way that page should be updated):
Establish a communication workflow to support community teams with outreach
Support appearances in podcasts, interviews, conferences, …
Sometimes we need to reach out to more than our regulars for feedback or simply to make people aware of significant results. More than mechanically reposting some announcement link would be a great boost to talk about work done.