The Airbyte Community Assistance Team – We’re Changing Things Up

Hi there. I’m Jerri Comeau and I lead the Community Assistance Team. We provide explicit technical assistance and responses to questions from the community on a wide range of topics specifically related to Airbyte Open Source. After listening to feedback, we’re excited to be making some changes to the Community Slack, our Community Forum (powered by Discourse), and some of the processes by which we engage with folks. I wanted to talk about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what our goals are for the coming months. 

Our Core Mission

The Community Assistance Team’s mission is to support and assist the community in finding solutions and creating connections with each other and with Airbyte. That means that we try to be responsive and helpful to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. That has always been our motivating factor for the choices we make.

The Last Six Months

In April, in conjunction with Airbyte’s Series B announcement and Cloud kickoff, we decided to experiment with moving our Community (and Community Assistance) from Slack to the Airbyte Forum to provide better, more scalable responses, as well as focusing on a medium that could be searched easily and without needing to log in – even non-Community members could find answers to their questions via search terms in Google or other search engines. We were successful in fostering an active and engaged community on our Forum, and we saw an increase in inbound search traffic to our Forum topics. Unfortunately we also discovered that a significant portion of our community preferred interacting with us and asking questions in Slack, and we had been unresponsive to those community members — an issue for which we apologize, and we are actively committing time and resources to correct. The Airbyte community is the backbone of what we do, and it’s our intent to better serve and collaborate with you starting immediately. 

The Next Six Months

So what happens next? Well, as of today (Friday the 30th of September, 2022) you’ll see significant changes being made that we think you’ll like! The stuff that you’ll notice:

  • Renaming #airbyte-for-beginners: We discovered that the “Airbyte for Beginners” channel had become the de-facto support channel, where most of the questions were being asked (and not being answered by anyone, including the Community Assistance Team). So we’ve renamed the channel to “Airbyte-Help” and have actively re-engaged on our side to follow up and answer questions. We’ve also developed a back-end integration to make sure the answers we (or other community members) provide are recorded on the Forum, which will make them much more findable via Google or other search methods.
  • Doubling down on #airbyte-help: We determined that the various “Advice” channels weren’t working to let community members provide hints and tips to one another; instead, there were many questions and few answers. So we’ve collapsed those into the Airbyte-Help channel as well. With the automations we have in place, the questions asked in the Airbyte-Help will get answered by the Community Assistance Team rapidly and comprehensively, and shared with the whole world via our Forum (invisibly to the person who asked the question). 
  • Dedicated Office Hours Thread: We’ve created a specific thread for Office Hours questions, that we’ll be addressing during our newly-expanded Office Hours Hour on Wednesdays at 11AM Pacific. Rules and Restrictions apply; check the Office-Hours channel for more information.
  • Better support for #airbyte-cloud: We’ve worked with the Technical Cloud Support team to make sure that questions and comments in the Airbyte-Cloud channel get forwarded along to TCS, and will actively monitor that channel to ensure prompt responses from the appropriate team. 
  • Spring Cleaning (in fall!): We’ve identified a number of channels that were time- or event-dependent, and will be closing and clearing those channels out to prevent confusion. We’ll also be instituting more strict permissions around who can create a channel, as well as establishing a process by which a community member can request a channel.
  • We :octavia-heart: feedback:We’ll be listening to the feedback from the community around what y’all would like to see happen with our community, including your responses to surveys and your individual commentary, and will work to enhance the experience for all community members. 

We also have a significant number of non-Slack improvements, but those we’ll talk more about in the coming weeks. Thanks to everyone who helped with feedback, including our community members. We will continue to iterate on our community assistance strategy to make sure we are providing unparalleled open-source support and engagement. We couldn’t do it without you; come to our next Office Hours on Wednesdays at 11AM Pacific and let us know what you think!

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