LoCo's are not "Lo" Enough

Bug #392986 reported by Randall Ross on 2009-06-27
28
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubuntu-community
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

By definition, a "Local Community" is a tightly-knit group of people that share common issues within a constrained geography, or locality.

When Ubuntu started, its user base was small and widely dispersed . As a result the "communities" that formed around it were geographically large and separated. This resulted in the natural growth of country and state "LoCo" teams.

As Ubuntu has grown in popularity, the need for truly local teams is acute. True change begins locally and truly local change agents have the ability to reach out to the "non techie" community, one user at a time.

Steps to reproduce this bug:
1) Visit the authoritative LoCo team list at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoTeamList
2) Count the number of teams that are local in a true geographical sense.

Desired outcome:
There should be a truly local Ubuntu LoCo in every major city and town.

Nathan Handler (nhandler) wrote :

In a perfect world, we would have a LoCo in every city (or at least every major city). However, unless there is a known group of Ubuntu users in a certain location, it can be difficult to create a LoCo. If you live in or near a city that has a fair number of Ubuntu users, there is nothing stopping you from creating a new LoCo. For information about how to do that, please see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoTeamHowto. There are already LoCos for certain cities. For example, we have Ubuntu-Chicago.

Nick Ali (nali) wrote :

There is no need to start a new LoCo. Any work you do will part of whatever LoCo already covers your region. Just coordinate.

The city LoCos in the US pre-dated the decisions to formally support the creation of state-level LoCos. Cities are no longer encouraged to create their own LoCos if there is an existing LoCo at the state level.

IMO, this shouldn't even be filed as a bug. Its not that its really broken, it just hasn't happened yet, because like Nathan said, there maybe not be enough Ubuntu users, or Ubuntu users who care to start a LoCo.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

@Nathan Handler:
Ubuntu adoption numbers are high enough that every major city, and most major towns already have uncoordinated groups of Ubuntu users. We (Ubuntu) are no longer a small and widely dispersed group. My guess is that this has been the case for at least a year or two. We are huge!

I agree in principle that there is nothing stopping anyone from creating a new LoCo. (Specific example: Vancouver BC). However, it hasn't happened. There's an awareness issue and a structural issue especially with how LoCo's are described on the official page and also due to the lack of integration with the OS itself.

@Nick Ali:
I respectfully re-state that this is indeed a bug, and a likely a severe one.

I'll use a specific test case to illustrate the bug more clearly. I moved to Vancouver BC and wanted to become involved with a LoCo. The only LoCo that realistically covered my area was Ubuntu Canada. However, this LoCo was largely inactive, and given the size and cultural and linguistic diversity of Canada it is unreasonable to assume that it would be effective. Vancouver is in the province of BC, but no LoCo exists on the provincial level either. By my estimate Vancouver had at least a few thousand Ubuntu users. So, I decided to energize this city and devote all of my energy locally by working with a few folks that had started a user group (not an official LoCo) to make it avery active LoCo and to get the word out to others.

I have ignored the "discouragement" of city level LoCo's as I do not agree that healthy community can thrive on the regional or national level once a certain critical mass has been reached. We have reached and passed that point.

Jono Bacon (jonobacon) on 2009-06-29
Changed in ubuntu-community:
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu LoCo Council (ubuntu-lococouncil)
Efrain Valles (effie-jayx) wrote :

There is no need to start new teams to start contributing. Starting a team requires a great effort of promotion to stablish it. the creation of more Local teams happens spontaneously as they are needed.

Perhaps there is a specific case where the team has grown so much that it needs to branch and start new teams to accomodate certain needs. but in the case of a teams with few contributors it is best to act locally under that one team`s name and not divide it in subteams. Creating more local teams does not mean more promotion. Many new teams need time to grow and advocacy and other contributions happen faster through already stablished teams

I think it definetely goes down to what teams come up as the region needs. Having a more fragmented effort in more "Local" teams would mean division of services, efforts in advocacy and at some point overlap.

Again this bug is dificult to triage because it is difficult to reproduce depending on what part of the world you are in. maybe if applied to a certain case it would make sense.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

To triage this bug, I suggest that we pick a state or province (maybe a small one to keep it simple) and list the cities and towns in that state. Contact the corresponding state/province team and ask them to indicate which of those locations have an Ubuntu presence, regardless of size.

Another way to triage the bug would be to gather information on where our competition has a presence, and compare ours.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Additional bug information:
A survey to the Ubuntu Canada mailing list resulted in 20 survey responses indicating 3 Ubuntu LoCo's: Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto responded. There is also a known LoCo in Nelson (Kootenay Region), BC.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

@Efrain Valles
I respectfully disagree with your statement that "Starting a team requires a great effort of promotion to stablish it." In the Vancouver BC case, it began with one lone voice in the forest saying "Hey would anyone like to get together and start and Ubuntu group?". We should make and maintain the barrier to LoCo creation as low as we can.

@All
If we can acknowledge this bug and get an action plan behind fixing it, then Ubuntu can take the next step to greatness. I am sensing resistance to breaking through the current structural barriers. Let's plant thousands of seeds and let them grow.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Further refinement of thinking follows:

ReCo = Regional Community (for States and Provinces)
CoCo = Country Community (for Countries)
LoCo = Local Community (for Towns and Cities)

@Randall
There are also language centered LoCos (LaCo?)

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

One easy step to take would be to re-badge the existing non-local teams with the more meaningful names. (CoCo, ReCo). This act alone should catalyze a bunch of people to realize there really is no LoCo in their city/town/village, with the desired result of starting them.

Daniel Holbach (dholbach) wrote :

I personally don't think that just renaming teams will have much effect. As I said in bug 497051, I believe that having better documentation on how to start a team and maybe better cooperation among LoCos will help more.

Andrew Gaydon (andrew-gaydon) wrote :

I Agree that there may be merit in:

ReCo = Regional Community (for States and Provinces)
CoCo = Country Community (for Countries)
LoCo = Local Community (for Towns and Cities)

I'm in Australia and we have one LoCo, to cover 8 States & Territories, with numerous towns & cities in each region.
It is mightily difficult to get together (physically) for a release party, when you have members 5hrs away (by plane).

IMHO, communities are build at the grass roots level, at a Town or City.

Some questions could be:
What would be the role of a CoCo? How would it be structured (Governed) ?

I'm sure that a lot of the current LoCo's struggle with these questions (Australia being no exception), and there seams to be no clear guidance on how to resolve the issues.

I also agree that it is not an easy thing to start a Loco, so maybe this could be something that a CoCo or ReCo could advise interested Ubuntu users on how to do so.

Just a few thoughts.

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

If we do create a pattern of regional, country and local communities, we
should also establish that larger-foot-print representatives should be
appointed in consultation with the folks who run communities that will
be part of their footprint.

Mark

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

@sabdfl
One way to do this is to borrow from the geopolitical approach: We could have country and state(province) "capitals". "Capitals" would have the consultative role that you outlined above.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Updating steps to reproduce this bug for new loco directory and revised team list:

Steps to reproduce this bug:
1) Visit the authoritative LoCo team list at http://loco.ubuntu.com/teams.
2) Count the number of teams that are local in a true geographical sense.
3) Observe the count to be 7 out of a total of 154 teams (4.5%).
(Bangalore, Chicago, Dallas, Delhi, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Vancouver).

Conclusion: 95.6% of all LoCo's are not local.

Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) wrote :

I'm tempted to mark this invalid, but I'm afraid people would whine about it. Here's why I will mark it invalid in a few days if no one gives a good defense --

The way I have Ohio running is as follows:

Ohio Team Contact
  |--> Administrative Board ( Governs Day-to-day )
            |----> City 1
            |----> City 2
            |----> City 3
            |----> City 4
             ...
            |----> City n

Each city has it's own "contact", and it's own events. It's all the same LoCo. LoCos should be a top-level group. This also allows us to approve a large area with shared membership, without having to deal with a city-by-city level.

The council really can't deal with approving every city. At that point, might as well handle all membership and get rid of a contact, right?

Changed in ubuntu-community:
status: New → Incomplete
Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) wrote :

FYI this post was a solution to this "bug" that is already implemented. This would be valid if there was only one loco in a city in every state or country.

Laura Czajkowski (czajkowski) wrote :

An example in Ireland what we do is we have the majority of people active in Dublin, that's just the way it is. We only have 1-2 others who aren't that active elsewhere in the country. Majority of our events are Dublin based but everyone is welcome and many do travel, (small country I know but some do come over 4hrs away).

We've started to hold Ubuntu hours outside of Dublin, this is working but it all falls under Ubuntu Ireland and many like it this way. If we were to break it down into cities our loco would in fact die. Many teams we're reviewing are similar. A lot of teams do not have enough people to break down the structure this way. Forcing it to happen now would not be what I'd like to see happen.

Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) wrote :

Aye, I think implementing this as a framework for best practices ( run a city ( what I call in Ohio as a "ReLoCo" or REALLY LoCo ) ) could be quite useful.

I think that we can do this without changing what we consider a "LoCo"

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Paul, Thank you for noticing and for chiming in. Your case is an excellent example of what I am calling a ReCo (Regional Community), with apparent LoCo's in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland (ReCo capital), Columbus, Dayton, Lima, and Toledo (which you call ReLoCo's according to http://ohio.ubuntu-us.org/reloco)

As far as I know Ohio is a corner-case, though I'd love to see/hear the other ReCo's chime in with which teams they consider subordinate.

Let's assume though (as a thought experiment) that Ohio is not a corner-case, and that every sizable ReCo in the world has (truly) LoCo's already in place and that this represents a template of sorts. This would mean that the burden of LoCo approval does indeed rest with the ReCo in question and not with the Community Council, that has conceivably already delegated this responsibility. (i.e. in Ohio's case, Cleveland has approved the LoCo's?). This would also mean that a CoCo (Country Community) would be the top-level entity and would approve (or periodically evaluate) state/provincial teams such as Ohio. I don't think this is the case. Should it be the case?

Thought experiments and org structures aside though, can we at least come to consensus that with our current statistics and reality the term "LoCo" is inaccurate and potentially misleading? It would be a fairly simple matter to re-badge the list of teams with their appropriate monikers: CoCo, ReCo, LoCo and sort out the governance over time and with due process, if that is a priority. If the burden of approval is still too high at that future time, then perhaps the approval team needs to expand, restructure, or delegate... That's likely a different bug though, possibly related to the prioritization bug that I've filed separately, https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-community/+bug/497051, and possibly related to your scaling comment.

Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) wrote :

> Paul, Thank you for noticing and for chiming in. Your case is an
> excellent example of what I am calling a ReCo (Regional Community), with
> apparent LoCo's in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland (ReCo capital),
> Columbus, Dayton, Lima, and Toledo (which you call ReLoCo's according to
> http://ohio.ubuntu-us.org/reloco)

Yup. That's it.

> Let's assume though (as a thought experiment) that Ohio is not a corner-
> case, and that every sizable ReCo in the world has (truly) LoCo's
> already in place and that this represents a template of sorts. This
> would mean that the burden of LoCo approval does indeed rest with the
> ReCo in question and not with the Community Council, that has

LoCo Council *

> conceivably already delegated this responsibility. (i.e. in Ohio's
> case, Cleveland has approved the LoCo's?). This would also mean that a
> CoCo (Country Community) would be the top-level entity and would approve
> (or periodically evaluate) state/provincial teams such as Ohio. I don't
> think this is the case. Should it be the case?

Our ReLoCos have shared events, and we have state-wide events. Since we are so close we have shared membership. As such, we went for membership together, don't think of it as a city winning over a state.

> Thought experiments and org structures aside though, can we at least
> come to consensus that with our current statistics and reality the term
> "LoCo" is inaccurate and potentially misleading? It would be a fairly

Nosir. I think it's fitting, and a change of terms could be pretty bad.

> simple matter to re-badge the list of teams with their appropriate
> monikers: CoCo, ReCo, LoCo and sort out the governance over time and

I don't like this. I think teams should be able to call them what they want. LoCo is really a funny poke ( loco = crazy in Spanish ). There is no reason to ruin a good joke

> with due process, if that is a priority. If the burden of approval is
> still too high at that future time, then perhaps the approval team needs
> to expand, restructure, or delegate... That's likely a different bug

A state level leader is able to better figure out where the lines should be drawn. A global rule would not fit well. There is no reason us-ri needs city level locos ( it's smaller then most counties ).

I think the current is system is fine, and all we need is a review of best practices. As such, I say we mark this invalid, and we ask that you help us work forward. I don't think posting on a bug is the best way to get this stuff done.

> though, possibly related to the prioritization bug that I've filed
> separately, https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-community/+bug/497051, and
> possibly related to your scaling comment.

Not sure. I'll take a look at it soon

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Adding data point from official Ubuntu site:
http://www.ubuntu.com/community
"Local Ubuntu teams
Find and join an official local community (LoCo) team near you, or get advice on how to create a team in your local community."

Note the specific terms "local community" and "near". Countries, regions, states, provinces are by definition not local in this sense.
See attachment for screenshot.

Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) wrote :

I looked at this again, and gave it a lot of thought.

I've tried not to be rash, or brash.

As far as I can tell, this is just a naming issue. I'm not sure re-naming teams is the best move right now, there has been a lot of really hard work historically on getting name recognition. This could also become an issue for stuff produced ( such as banners, posters, fliers )

I see your point, and I don't disagree. I just think it's a problem with a solution that's already been in place.

The only "critical" part of this is if teams are not being active on a low level. If a team is not active across more then one city, we'll ( LoCo Council ) will notice.

Now, for the forward looking part ( I hate looking to the past )

You do bring up something we've not addressed in a strict sense. I think a fair and equitable solution would be to write up guidelines on maintaining a city-level presence ( of course, depending on state / country -- Rhode Island in the USA hardly needs more then one group ;) ).

As for this bug, I think it's time to close it. I don't think we need this going forward, and I think it's just a terminology thing.

Please do email me, or the loco council, though. I would like for you to be involved with how you would like to see standards implemented.

Thanks for helping to make Ubuntu and the Ubuntu community a success

Changed in ubuntu-community:
status: Incomplete → Opinion
assignee: Ubuntu LoCo Council (ubuntu-lococouncil) → nobody
Randall Ross (randall) wrote :
Download full text (3.8 KiB)

@Paul

Thanks for carefully considering this issue. It's a bit more than a
terminology issue in my mind. It's an important factor in Ubuntu's
growth in popularity if we can do this right. And if we do it wrong,
we'll not have that super-energetic true community-level advocacy that
is so important.

To me it boils down to this: The confusion/imprecision around the
nomenclature is a distinct factor in the (lack of) formation of local
(community-based) teams. If I were to look at the current "LoCo" list, I
would get the quick impression that Ubuntu teams are by definition state
or country based. I might see a couple of outliers (Chicago, Bangalore,
etc.), but only if I'm paying attention, and I might get the impression
that they are misfits.) In short, I would feel isolated.

I do not see (and by see I mean observe, not envision) ReCo or CoCo
teams leading or facilitating the formation of truly local teams, nor do
I see them approving city/town level LoCo's. What I do see are people
driving hundreds of miles to occasionally meet other Ubuntu
users/advocates as FOSS conferences, etc because their teams are
registered at the state level. This is hobbling Ubuntu's growth. I also
see cities with over a million person population hosting Ubuntu Hours
and getting only a small handful of people. Is that good enough?

The bug is still a bug. If closing it makes life easier for a few very
busy people, then by all means do so and I will carry this torch forward
in different ways. I personally think that having it here and open is
useful for visibility until the issue is fixed. (Kind of like Bug #1. No
one thinks it's going to be solved easily or without pain, yet we keep
it open to remind everyone of our goal.)

About our friend Rhode Island: Ranked by population, the state's 5
largest municipalities are:
   1. Providence (175,255)
   2. Warwick (85,925)
   3. Cranston (81,479)
   4. Pawtucket (72,998)
   5. East Providence (49,123)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhode_island#Demographics

If Ubuntu has a 1% market share there, then that means there are
potentially over 200 Ubuntu users in even the smallest of these cities,
and the largest one has well over 1000. Rhode Island needs LoCo's too. A
ReCo isn't enough.

On 10-08-23 08:31 AM, Paul Tagliamonte wrote:
> I looked at this again, and gave it a lot of thought.
>
> I've tried not to be rash, or brash.
>
> As far as I can tell, this is just a naming issue. I'm not sure re-
> naming teams is the best move right now, there has been a lot of really
> hard work historically on getting name recognition. This could also
> become an issue for stuff produced ( such as banners, posters, fliers )
>
> I see your point, and I don't disagree. I just think it's a problem with
> a solution that's already been in place.
>
> The only "critical" part of this is if teams are not being active on a
> low level. If a team is not active across more then one city, we'll (
> LoCo Council ) will notice.
>
> Now, for the forward looking part ( I hate looking to the past )
>
> You do bring up something we've not addressed in a strict sense. I think
> a fair and equitable solution would be to write up guidelines on
> m...

Read more...

Hi Paul & Randall,

I'd like to put in my 2 cents worth if I may.

I must agree with Randall, for Ubuntu to really take off it needs to be supported/Advocated at a truly 'Local' level IE. City/Town
We have been having this same issue in Australia, our now Un-official Australian LoCo, was/is ineffective because it just covered too much of a large area. Australia's land mass is that of the USA (nearly)!

Having a 'Country LoCo' is fine, if their 'Mandate' is to support and encourage 'Local LoCo's', otherwise they are restricted to 'on-line' meetings and not much else.

As it currently stands there is no 'encouragement' for truly 'Local LoCo's', or 'guidelines' for setting up structures so a 'Country LoCo' can create & support 'Local LoCo's'.

Then there is the argument that 'There isn't enough people, so creating a 'local LoCo' would be the death of the 'Country LoCo'.
IMO is a fallacy, the whole point is to increase participation!
A 'Country LoCo' should 'aspire' to create 'Local LoCo's' in their large geographical area, this can only increase participation not decrease it. (Some existing LoCo's do this successfully)

So a solution could be 'The creation of guidelines' that encourage 'Country LoCo's' to help in the creation and support of 'Local LoCo's'.

So yes, I come to the same conclusion as Paul.

I eagerly await the 'Guidelines'.
Let me know if I can be of assistance.

Cheers.
Andrew.

Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) wrote :

Thanks for the positive responses, guys.

I've started talk on loco-contacts[1]

Let's get this drafted and implemented as soon as we can.

[1]: http://<email address hidden>/msg04418.html

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