Community Leadership Summit Wiki
  • For people who tend to dominate meetings: How to identify yourself as an Alpha Dog, and tips to change.
  • For meeting moderators with Alpha Dogs participating: Tips to running successful meetings, ensuring that everyone gets to say what they would like to. How do you handle phone meetings? IRC meetings?
  • What is it's an Alpha Dog moderating the meeting? How can you encourage someone who wants to speak to be a good moderator?
  • You know an Alpha Dog, who is unaware of his condition: How can you tell him, and help him reform his ways?

Add notes here!


Taming the Alpha Dog

Session Leader: Dave Neary,

Table 4, 3pm

Note taker: Jane Wells,


Dave Neary

Michael Durney OpenMKS

nxcamp Richard Meinsen CDG Berlin

Tierry Carrez

Lance Albertson OSU OSL

Ross Turk inctank

Dawn Foster - Intel

Jane Wells

Amy Scaravada

Rich Claussen

Langdon White

Stefano Maffull - Openstack

Dan Allen - Red Hat

Leslie Hawthorne - Red Hat

Amy Samarna


Sarah White - Fedora

Jacob Redding

PaulI -M

Stephanie Taylor

Raise hand to speak

Know when you are dominating

cultural bias in school to raise hand

What can you do in a meeting to stop someone from dominating

Amy: Abolish handraising

Jane: shut up!

Raise hand stays

facilitator calls on raised hands, but if someone is dominating...

Amy uses peer pressure in group to decide if need to stop

Steffano: slow down conversation if online so others can jump in

Jane: nacin trac tickets throttle yourself

Jane: if someone won't let go of the couch, what do you do?

Leslie: Is this what you're saying? Great! next?

Stefano: tweet this :)

Blonde Jane: What if it's just a chat that's gone way off base?

Dave: Natural alpha takes mantle of leader, s/he takes 1/2 the airtime

Langdon: taught it helps to just shut up when you want to talk, 9/10 times it will build better vibe around table

Amy: stack the list/handraises to keep track of who will speak next (like conference calls)

[page 2]

Jacob: How do you stack online? Like in comments? Huge longwinded arguments etc?

Leslie: contact directly - praise passion, ask to chill out to help discussion broaden

Ross: Talk radio: turn off the mic, not friendly but works

Stefano: direct their enegry to something else they can do

BUT->AND->can you do something

Michael: Bozo in forums (Jane confirms)

Langdon: group calls, pre-meeting, goal, point person to tell people to move on etc. if not sticking to team goal

Dawn: 1 on 1 coaching when epople don't realize that they're being too long winded & no one is reading it

Dave: keep looking around

Ross: want to be vacilitators? Nope

Leslie: taking notes means taking control of the conversation in the end

- meetings - use red card, yellow card, etc

ground rules - how much time each person gets

Richard: see yourself as a leader or an organizer, coordination

Ross: my job is not to lead but to identify & grow other leaders

Dawn: problem if I'm too frequently posting b/c I shouldn't be the loudest voice

Jane: having lots of knowledge & being asked a lot of stuff? ask a lot of questions yourself to invite others to share instead of just being the answer person

Dan Allen: What can they tell me, rather than me just giving them info on mailing list, feel lazy b/c not participating sometimes, fight feeling of letting people down

Dave: should we call ourselves community *manager*? what is right level of activity on our part? leading by example is important, but if you'r eleading and you need followers - otherwise just a man taking a walk

Stefano: How do you train yourself? leading, nurturing, etc.

Russ: Make mistakes

Lance: observe others

Dave: How are you self-aware - do you know when mistakes made

[page 3]

Leslie: hashmarks when I talk. If page too covered, I need to shut up

Dave: telling someone to slow down might make them leave

blue hair: make them understand, don't manipulate

Russ: Sometimes I don't feel other people stepping up like I want to, so go alpha

Dawn: Fine to have convo on how intensive it is (ref: Paula's book) give people a few chances & tell how can do better

Langdon: 'dead air' anxiety is cultural to north eastern US. half second of ?? is space that needs filling. Other places don't have that.

Dave: negotiating tactic - dead air

Thierry: someone pops up @ middle as alpha

Dave: how do you involve people who are quiet? don't want to call out or put on spot

Jane: we ask them if they want to tal, still agree

-: back channel in IRC or etherpad

amy: how does that fit into the real meeting

-: depends on the format, but might get brought up in real channel

Dan: can see what people thinking in the channel

Langdon: jump in to raise the channel issues/comments

Dave: Jane, how doe calling people out

Jane: We try to keep it supportive

Michael: in opopsite - what about elephant in room

Leslie: "I know we don't want to talk about 'awful thing' but it's hampering project, I feel this way"

Ross: use humor

Jacob: Same as Lesli4e, be blunt or funny, don't inore. but when shy people not willing to be in line of fire w/target on chest

Dawn: helps to express frustration - get it out in open & be honest

[page 4]

Langdon Changing channels of communication can help (delayed response vs. IRC etc)

Jane: some comment on blog more than IRC but not that big deal

Jacob: why do people complain after instead of participating at the time of meeting (like D8)

Paul M: back to different channels having different effects

Jacob: Do you force complainers to use official channels

Dawn: depends on motivations. Being passive aggressive = bad, but some people just take time to process their opinion = good because they are really thinking about it.

Leslie: encourage back channelers to join real channel to affect decision & take responsibility that to have impact on decision you have to shut up "don't hide behind introverted label"

Stefano: disruptive people -> attacking decision or decision making process?

Jane?: If immed. after meeting, probably passive aggressive. get them into real meeting. if thoguhtful, post later

Dave: you have to manage confrontational person based on behavior

Michael Dexter: Aspergers or assholes?

Rich Michaels Smaller groups instead of larger groups & more likely for more feedback/participation. backchannels in IRC = safer space

Dawn: We push for decisions too soon, when there are dominators people need more time to think

Langdon: if a thread is going too far afield, bringthem back & set up a new meeting for new thing

Dave: People remember different things from meeting after the fact

Stefano: How o we make devs not hate meetings

[page 5]

Amy: love facilitation because people can be more creative when they know the boundaries

Dave: how to have better meetings?

Jane?: Agenda - what decisions should be made by end

Langdon: too many people/broad/width takes too long to get to the part that applies to you

Dave: how od you avoid meetings with too wide scope

Dan: if agenda, can speak up in advance

Dawn: have purpose of meeting set in advnace. "general communication" is not a purpose

Rich: take page from standups. have a moment for each person quickly

Ross: do email in meeting if purpose not clearly defined

Dave: on phone calls, we do email, etc. if not relevant meeting context

"human retweet" = Leslie hand gestures