In this episode, Sean and Kelly speak with Leon Sandøy, one of the owners of Python Discord about making connections and community teaching. With the dynamics of teaching changing, how can Python Discord become a space to further educate the Python community?
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Learn more about Python Discord below from Leon.
I’ve been involved since 2017, when we had ~200 users.
We worked hard to grow this community, and leveraged some pretty creative marketing strategies to find that growth. These eventually paid off, and as soon as we hit a certain critical mass, it’s been a runaway success story with win after win.
The past year has been incredible. We’ve quadrupled in size, worked closely with Discord, with the Python Software Foundation, we’ve restructured the entire organisation from the inside out, launched new community features like the Help-channel system, started producing high-quality original content, and started reaching out beyond the Discord platform.
When I was growing up, IRC was a toxic and unwelcoming place where you went to talk to grumpy and jaded old programmers. We want to be the antithesis of this experience, a place of warmth and inclusivity that holds your hand until you find your footing. It’s the wholesomest place on the web.
As a leader, I believe that we should be searching for these magical synergies between personal goals and community growth. I look for situations where I can put someone in a situation that will benefit both them and the community, perhaps teaching them a valuable and relevant skill while building us a valuable system. This has really paid off for us. I believe that managing a voluntary organisation requires a strong willingness to spend resources on cultivating motivation. Yes, this sounds like a TED talk. I’m sorry. It plays better as a conversation than as a long paragraph.
You’d be surprised how much work goes into our community. I have 4 hours of weekly meetings, one-on-ones with staff members, interviews, programming and code review, and sometimes I record silly parody songs for our YouTube. This eats up literally all my free time, and the free time of everyone in admin team. We don’t do this casually, this is like a second job to us - or a second family.
The help channel system
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Topical chat, featuring channels for all the different use cases that are particularly interesting for Python users. Many of these are populated by notable members, like our #async channel has asyncio core devs hanging out, and we people from Kivy, Arcade, Pyglet, Panda3D, and notable PyGame developers hanging out in #game-development. #microcontrollers has a number of Adafruit employees (including some of CircuitPythons key contributors) as frequent guests.
Special Guest: Leon Sandøy.