We've spent a good portion of the year trying to build out our teams to handle the increasing load of work here at Stack Exchange. A big part of this has involved bringing on new community managers: with both a larger number of sites and greater numbers of users on those sites, we hadn't exactly been keeping up with the demand for help and guidance across the network. Tim Post signed on in the spring, followed by Jon Ericson, Gabe Koscky and Pops "Kevin" Chang. Community Management at Stack Exchange is primarily a support role: assist folks in learning how to use the software, then help them learn to work together as they work to build something awesome. Our goal is to facilitate more than to dictate: if you've spent some time on a mature site, you know what we're all working toward, but sometimes folks need a bit of help figuring out how to get there. Jon compares the job to the art of bonsai: patient observation, deliberate and judicious intervention and correction, more patient observation. We've been very lucky to attract so many patient, observant gardeners thus far, and I'm excited to announce that we've just hired one more:
Ana was socialized on The Internet as much as in “real life”. She grew to be wildly fascinated with how social norms developed on the web, finding the factors that led people to bond, collaborate or conflict with one another to be endlessly intriguing. She studied theater, then web design and development, eventually dropping out of college to pursue a more self-directed path as a programmer. When Ana attended events and got to know people within the (then rather small) New York tech community, her new friends threw a wrench into her dev career plans by repeatedly asking for help solving PEBKAC problems. She was hired as the first community manager at a 3D printing company, helping designers and engineers share their expertise and sell their work. It was there that Ana was first introduced to Stack Exchange, observing with interest our approach to community development. She gained further experience in community management at a Node.js-focused hosting company, as well as knowledge of running a tech support team and the idiosyncrasies of open source communities. Ana has a keen eye for patterns in social interaction, and delights in finding ways to help folks work together more effectively. When she's not working, she can be found exploring the five boroughs of New York, finding the weirdest and most fun electronic music, hacking on small projects, organizing developer conferences, or digging into a sci-fi novel or a book about behavioral psych. We're still in the process of introducing Ana to all of our communities, so please join me in giving her a warm welcome when she drops in on yours.