At JavaOne last week, somebody paid me the highest possible compliment as a community manager. He thanked me for being so transparent about major things that were happening in our community and joked that he was surprised that I hadn't been fired yet over it. Compliment? Yes. I think that being transparent and building trust is one of the hardest skills to develop as Community Manager. It's easy when things are going well and the company and community are happy with each other. It's not easy when the community loses faith in the company and the company wants to cut communication because it's feeling vulnerable. The funny thing is that I've never felt that my job is at risk over that - I've been really careful to say exactly what I cannot say and why I cannot say it - sometimes "I'd love to tell you, but I'd get fired if I did because of security issues." is enough. It's honest. It's not really obfuscating anything big, it's laying out a reality that most people who work for companies understand even if they don't love the policy. Much better than just being silent.
Short blog hiatus - I'm on vacation for a week. Back next Wednesday!