COMMUNITY: Community Bulletin
Worthy of MembershipBy Justin Kestelyn
Oracle Technology Network redefines what it means to be a member of the club.
Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”1 Replace club with community, and you have an interesting basis for discussion.
Since its inception, the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) program has tilted toward the passive end of this spectrum. Historically, the bonds of shared interest—as expressed by ticking a checkbox in one’s oracle.com account preferences—have been sufficient for helping the OTN team define what a community member is. But this action of self-identifying as an Oracle Technology Network member had the undesirable side effect of dividing the community between the active and the passive, because a community of interest does not necessarily imply that all its members are actively participating and engaged—even if they consider themselves part of the community. And for the health of the program, counting active members is important—for reasons I will describe in a moment.
Given these factors, the OTN team has decided to make a break with the past. Going forward, our model of community membership will be based on activity, not self-identification. In other words, we will consider you a member based on what you do, not what you call yourself. If you are a technical newsletter subscriber, we will consider you an Oracle Technology Network member. If you have logged in for a download or to post a discussion forum message over a certain time period, we will consider you a member. If you are a subscriber to Oracle Magazine or Java Magazine, we will consider you a member. And so on. (Case in point: nearly half of our newsletter subscribers today do not in fact self-identify as Oracle Technology Network members.)
Circling back to the idea of “what you do,” I have a request. As you read this, you have possibly already received an invitation to take our five-question, one-minute survey. I implore you to participate, because the OTN team truly needs to know more about you before we can create and prioritize new objectives for the program. If you have not received the invitation, you’ll find it at oracle.com/technetwork/goto/survey.
By the way, the team could have gone another direction: requiring self-identification as a gateway to benefits. But this would have added an unnecessary layer of complexity and raised the bar for membership overall. Groucho would not have approved.