I’m thrilled to announce the birth of an association dedicated to the DNN Platform: DNN-Connect. You may already have heard of our website. We’re now taking things to a new level with the creation of an association. Why an association, you ask? Allow me to explain.
A brief history of DNN-Connect
About 6 years ago, a group of DNN “professionals” decided they’d prefer meeting up outside of the regular conference cycle. At that time there used to be a conference with a DNN track in the fall in both the US and the Netherlands. They were both costly affairs and the DNN track was only a small part of it. But we’d go all the same as it was the place to meet up and talk DNN. I’d make sure I’d get my entrance paid for by submitting for a presentation. But others were not in that position, so it remained a rather elitist affair. And the feeling was that a group of us could spark a regular event which had a lower threshold and would be targeted at the DNN professional.
Over the years we have now had DNN events all over Europe and slowly we’re settling into a rhythm which seems to work well for the community. At first the umbrella under which we operated was DNN Europe. But as we began to grow, we began to attract attention from outside of Europe as well (notably the US). Things came to a head last year as we found that our DNN-Europe Facebook group was being “invaded” by a whole bunch of non-Europeans and it became obvious we weren’t really interested to keep this solely European. On the contrary, we wanted to welcome others just as much. So the new name DNN Connect was chosen to represent our effort. This is why our recent conference was called DNN Connect 2014. It is open to everyone!
Birth of a website
One of the first things we set about doing was to create a virtual home for our organization. This became dnn-connect.org, which was launched earlier this year. It is a site “for the community, by the community” for the DNN Platform. One of the aims of the site is to provide a platform for the community with a number of dedicated tools to promote the open source aspect. Another is to support and promote our DNN Connect event series. And because we manage this site ourselves, we do not need to ask anyone for permission. We can just do it without being burdened by any commercial interests.
Birth of an association
But any effort by the community is necessarily done by real, physical people. Like you and me. And you may well ask yourself: what if you lose interest one day? Or what if you quit DNN and move elsewhere? And if you’d contribute, how would you know it wouldn’t be for any one of the site’s owners’ commercial interests? These are valid questions that needed to be addressed. And everything pointed in the direction of creating a non-profit entity to encapsulate our effort and hence the creation of the DNN Connect Association. What does this entail? Well, an association is formed by establishing and accepting statutes. Broadly speaking, these statutes describe (1) the aims of the association, (2) the means through which it is able to achieve these goals, (3) how the association works as an organization and (4) what happens to these means if the association is dissolved.
The goals of the DNN Connect Association are:
- To drive/stimulate the adoption of the DNN Platform,
- To support and enlarge the community, and
- To provide continuity for the platform
The first two points are typically what a community organization is all about. There are three components we are currently working on to achieve these two goals: the dnn-connect.org website, the DNN Connect conferences and “DNN-based solutions”. DNN-based solutions are basically groups of platform additions that we feel are useful. So to grow the DNN community we focus on content for our website, organizing conferences and delivering quality open source extensions for DNN.
The last point about continuity is to indicate that we intend to do whatever we can to make sure this platform will be around for a very long time. There is now one more organization that has your back: DNN Connect.
As any association, we accept members. Members pay a yearly fee (currently 30 Euros). This money goes solely to fulfilling the aims of the organization (so not in the pockets of committee members for instance). And every year, the treasurer will publish a report on what was done with the money.
How it works
The association consists of the General Assembly (i.e. the members) and an executive committee chosen from those members. Members have voting rights. Every year we will hold a General Assembly meeting. Because we are spread out across the globe we will try to benefit from our DNN Connect conference series by holding it, there. If we can’t we’ll do this in electronic form (e.g. GoToMeeting). The general idea is that the committee reports on what has happened over the past year and what it intends for the coming year. It is also the moment that we may see changes proposed to the executive committee. Normally any committee member leaving the committee will try to find a successor and propose him/her to the general assembly. But they can also be proposed by the members present. Importantly, this executive committee will have a mandate to work in the association’s interest.
My hope is that this will make our whole endeavour transparent and acceptable to the members and resilient to any outside commercial influences.
What happens if it all crashes?
As we should not be blind to the potential future of DNN, so we have to be realistic about our own efforts. At any moment the members may decide to dissolve the association. And if this happens, chances are there is still some money left in the coffers. The statutes stipulate that if this happens, the remaining funds will be donated to a cause most like our own; i.e. the promotion of open source software.
We (Philipp Becker, Vicenç Masanas and myself) have created this association with the intentions described above. We hope you will find this worthwhile to join and hopefully one day to take part in the work of the committee. The DNN community needs people who believe in this awesome platform and are willing to lend a hand to make it a success. This association, I hope, will make it easier for you to do so.