Community Response Policy

This page outlines the process for escalating sensitive topics within Mattermost.

Why do we need a policy?

There are several sensitive topics raised by the community that we want to address appropriately and consistently at all times.

However, currently the struggles we have as a team is the unclarity on where Mattermost stands on each of the sensitive topics listed below. This unclarity often results in inconsistent responses that lead to confusion for our users, or ingenuine responses that breaks the trust from our community. We want to stop both of these from happening.

This policy is put in place to compel us as a team to have a clear official point of view for each of the listed topics below, with standard responses that can be used by a broader team. Until a clear point of view is reached, a person or a group of people are assigned as the approved responders to avoid unnecessary confusion and broken trust with our users and our community.

Therefore, if you see a question on a sensitive topic, the ask is to follow the escalation process below, and escalate sensitive topics to the approved responders until an official point of view is clearly documented. Once documented, this process will be revisited.

This policy is intended to be an iterative process, and feedback is encouraged and welcome. If there are any questions about this policy, please reach out in the Community Escalations channel in Mattermost, or message @jason.blais directly.

Escalation process

Sensitive topics listed below are escalated to a Community Escalations channel in the Private Staff team, which includes all members of the Mattermost Leadership Team (MLT) plus any approved responders. This channel is public, so anyone in the company can escalate an issue.

When an issue relating to a sensitive topic is raised (for example, on GitHub issues, Twitter, or elsewhere), it should be posted in the Community Escalations channel with an @-mention to the list of approved responders related to that particular issue.

Raising an issue is the responsibility of whoever is managing community responses in a given forum. However, it is also open for anyone at the company to escalate an issue that they see. It is then the responsibility of the approved responders to review the issue and choose an owner for responding (if a response is appropriate). By default, ownership is delegated to the first person on the list of approved responders.

Sensitive topics

While anyone can escalate a sensitive topic, only approved responders listed below can engage. If you’d like to be an approved responder for one or more of the topics, we welcome the help! Reach out to @jason.blais on community.mattermost.com, and you will be added to the next training session.

  1. Non-regulatory Privacy/Telemetry where opinions are at play more than legal or regulatory issues:

    • Approved Responders: Head of Community, Lead PM, CPO, CEO

    • Loop in: CEO

    • Template Response: To be added

  2. Product-related Regulations/GDPR, and other legal issues:

    • Approved Responders: Head of Community, Lead PM, Head of Legal, CPO, CEO

    • Loop in: Head of Legal, Lead PM

    • Template Response: To be added

  3. Licensing, including open source and commercial license inquiries:

    • Approved Responders: Head of Community, Lead PM, CEO

    • Template Response: To be added

  4. Packaging, including requests for making an Enterprise feature free:

    • Approved Responders: Lead PM, CPO

    • Template Response: To be added

  5. Workplace policies, including hiring locations:

    • Approved Responders: Director of HR, Head of Legal

    • Template Response: To be added

  6. Security vulnerabilities

    • Approved Responders: Head of Community, Head of Security, Security PM, VP Eng

    • Loop in: Head of Security, Security PM, VP Eng

    • Template Response: To be added

  7. Illicit use

    • Approved Responders: Head of Community, VP Marketing, CEO

    • Loop in: Head of Legal, VP Marketing

    • Template Response: To be added

  8. Marketing-related Regulations/GDPR, and other legal issues:

    • Approved Responders: Head of Community, VP Marketing, Head of Legal, CEO

    • Loop in: VP Marketing, Head of Legal

    • Template Response: To be added

  9. Governmental data request, e.g. US government requesting user/customer data under US jurisdiction:

    • Approved Responders: Head of Legal, CEO

    • Loop in: Head of Legal

    • Template Response: To be added

Non-sensitive topics

Non-sensitive topics include feature requests, troubleshooting questions, bug reports, and other user feedback.

Anyone in the company is welcome and encouraged to respond, regardless of the medium. If it is your first time responding to the community, please read principles, tips, and sample responses for help on various inquiries.

Response writing tips

  • Don't make false promises or assumptions

    • If you are unsure of the answer, ask someone for help. Do not reply with an assumption or incomplete understanding.

    • Don’t say "we’ll work on feature X" that sets expectations we cannot meet (e.g. after presenting to core team it turns out you can’t implement the feature).

  • Choose positivity over negativity

    • Avoid excuses like “we’re busy”, or “our team is small” and turn a missing feature into an invitation to share a feature idea to be upvoted.

  • Do your best to link documentation as answers

    • Allow answers to be easily updated dynamically, as documentation is updated.

    • Turn questions that are not answered in docs, but should be, into tickets to create that documentation (and include ticket link in your response).

  • Keep community end user information secure

    • If you come across a post that includes the person's IP address, domain name, or other information you think should not be disclosed publicly, edit the post to remove this information. Then click the hide revision button so that your edits won't be visible to others on the forum.

  • Be thankful

    • Communities really respond well to being praised and thanked for their work.

  • Do not focus on opinions

    • Try to understand each person's emotions, assumptions and priorities and shift the conversation away from opinions.

    • Turn product discussions into conversations of specific audiences and use cases that each product edition serves.

For more guidelines on Mattermost forums and the public GitHub repositories, see the Mattermost Community Playbook.

Roles

Below is the list of members mapped to each role mentioned as an approved responder:

  • CEO: Ian Tien

  • CTO: Corey Hulen

  • VP Eng: Chris Overton

  • VP Finance: Tim Quock

  • VP Marketing: Matt Harper

  • Director of HR: Natalie Jew

  • Lead PM: Katie Wiersgalla

  • Head of Legal: Jamie Hurewitz

  • Head of Security: Daniel Schalla

  • Head of Community: Jason Blais

  • Security PM: Katie Wiersgalla