Releasing The Carpentries Communications Strategy and Implementation Plan

We are releasing our community communications plan and introducing how-to guides for community-led communications

The efforts of thousands of dedicated and passionate individuals and ally organisations have allowed The Carpentries to extend reach and develop local presence in new regions around the world. This has, in turn, resulted in a huge spike in the size of our community of scientists, librarians, researchers and technologists and in the quantity and quality of resources produced under The Carpentries banner over the years. To every mentor, trainer, maintainer, instructor, regional coordinator, contributor, learner, and team, council, committee and task force member that has worked to make this possible, we thank you.

The Carpentries community stats as of November 2018
Above, The Carpentries community stats as of November 2018, source. Williams, Elizabeth, Becker, Erin, Teal, Tracy, Cranston, Karen, Hertweck, Kate, & Weaver, Belinda. (2018, October 17). The Carpentries Annual Report 2018. Zenodo.

We see ongoing, effective communication as an integral part of everything our community does, and believe it helps us stay true to our collaboration-driven ethos. This is why we spent most of Q1 in 2019 working towards a communications strategy for The Carpentries and made a summary available in this April blog post. It reads in part

Because our community is made up of librarians, researchers, scientists, developers, designers, data scientists, data analysts and more from different domains and geographical locations, fragmentation of discussions by the platforms our community members prefer or are limited to is in fact not a bug, but a feature.

We decided not to publish the communications strategy and implementation plan at the end of March 2019 for three reasons:

  • Pilot First

    Strategy without proof of concept remains largely aspirational. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we preferred to pilot these resources internally first. Q2 projects in The Carpentries presented us with a wide variety of use cases, and we set up the implementation plan as a reference to guide The Carpentries team in communicating about the projects we undertook in that three-month window. Look out for a post detailing what we learnt from these projects soon.

  • How-To Guides

    Given that we are a lean team supporting a global community, we are constantly thinking of ways to empower our community by equipping you with clear and summarised information that supports you adequately in the collaborative work you undertake with others in The Carpentries. We needed to convert learnings from our piloting efforts in Q2 into a handful of how-to guides to accompany the publication of the communications strategy and implementation plan.

  • Consistency

    Having just released The Carpentries Style Guide which Belinda Weaver worked extensively on, we had our work cut out for us. Lots of resources needed to be updated to adhere to the Style Guide, and we wanted to allow ourselves adequate time to do that and to cater to ongoing conversations around this.

Some visible outcomes of these implementation efforts in Q2 include:

  1. We standardised author information on The Carpentries blog.

  2. We reviewed content in The Carpentries Handbook and updated pages to reflect recommendations from our Style Guide

  3. We updated content in The Carpentries blog to match best practices spelled out in our Style Guide

  4. We standardised tags on The Carpentries blog to improve resource discoverability

  5. We reworked the Communications section of The Carpentries Handbook to help our community find information on communications tools, resources and guides more easily.

  6. In this time, many members of our community have also contributed new sections to the Style Guide, opened issues to discuss certain aspects of the Style Guide, and responded to our call for community-authored posts on The Carpentries blog. We value your contributions greatly and thank you all for taking the time to craft them.

A lot more work around this remains unseen, either because it is ongoing work or because it is largely invisible work that glues together these visible outcomes. Our experience it that this planning and strategic efforts take a lot of time, and we remain deeply appreciative of the process, and everyone’s efforts as part of it.

Today, we are releasing our communications strategy and implementation plan for you to read and comment on. The How-To Guides in the Communications section of our Handbook are only a handful at this point, and we welcome you to request for new Communications Guides by opening a GitHub issue in the Handbook repository, or leaving us a message in our #communications channel on The Carpentries Slack.

Dialogue & Discussion

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