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Peter Donker now a DotNetNuke Trustee

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It was not a complete surprise as I was doing a number of "trustee things" already in the core team, but I am flattered and grateful all the same. Trustee is the "highest rank" if you will that one can attain as member in the DotNetNuke community.

So what does it mean to be a "DotNetNuke Trustee"? I mean ... I get a new badge in the forums and get listed on the trustee page and all. But what does it mean to others in the DNN community? Interestingly enough this exact question is something that is being debated internally in the health team. It seems everyone has a rough idea of what it means, but it lacks a clear definition. On top of that, things have changed with the revision of how the core team works so this is something that needs clarification. A purely technical approach to defining what makes a trustee had been "those with access to make changes to the code of DNN" (i.e. trusted with the core code). Wow. Now that is not trivial if you come to think of the impact this has. I'd be able to change the code that is used on God knows how many sites around the planet. Cool. But besides that being a geek's aphrodisiac, is that still of this time? No. The code access stems back to the time of DNN as just another open source project with a bunch of volunteers hammering away. Now there's DNN Corp that does this with a team of hired engineers.

So as time progressed this has become an inaccurate description of a trustee. In fact, DNN's long term vision is that we're all able to "check in" code for review and possible inclusion. Or at least those that signed the agreement about code contribution with them. A trustee is therefore no longer someone who has the right to edit the DNN codebase. So what else? I'd come back to the word "trust" and apply it more universally to the project as a whole and not just the code. A trustee is someone you trust to be a good citizen in the DNN community for instance. Or someone one can trust to bounce ideas off or share inside information with. I once heard "someone that DNN can rely on to represent the project and accurately portray its vision". That is not trivial as the DNN leadership has always been very determined in its direction and some of its intentions have caused controversy. So a trustee must understand the reasoning behind those directions. This requires a certain maturity within the DNN eco-system. It's hard to understand the direction we're going without knowing what lies behind us. This is what I feel it should mean to the community. But I realize this does not cover all aspects of what makes a trustee and we'll see what comes out of our discussions as time goes on.

With some DNN friends at OpenForce EU 2010

Picture: With some DNN friends at OpenForce EU 2010

And what does it mean to me? From the moment I got involved with DNN I have felt fortunate to be part of a large group of enthusiasts. People that were there because they believed in the potential of this platform. And this turned out to be very addictive. And the fact that most of those in the community were there to make a living leveraging this product seemed to me to be a positive thing, too. It wasn't an effort to build the most geeky CMS that had seen the light of day, but about creating a platform that allowed all of us to make a buck. I settled in the document management corner and others set up shop in other corners. At first giving back to the community was largely through the forums. Answering questions others have about the platform. At the same time I released a couple of free modules. This is something I'd still urge you to do if you want to get into this trade. On the one hand you sharpen your skills and advertise your brand (providing the module's any good of course) and on the other hand you help out broaden the amount of free modules available to DNN. Later I began helping out with the core modules. And finally with the core team effort itself. Currently I mostly focus on internationalization issues in DNN. Broadly speaking this means trying to remove barriers in DNN's adoption in non-English speaking regions. And there are still many. So my work is far from over here. My work on the health team (a team devoted to monitoring and improving the DNN community's "health") is an indirect result of this as I am very interested in making sure this has a global reach.

But most of all I have come to enjoy working with the bright people that make up our community. The various team meetings are anchor points in my week's schedule and reaffirm that there is real flesh and blood behind all those banners, email addresses, IMs etc. Think of the platform what you may, the people I have come to know here are hard working, inspiring and often witty individuals. From all corners of the planet and all trades. These people are my colleagues for lack of a better word. Without them my corner in cyberspace would be awfully lonely. So it is with joy that I look forward to fulfilling my role as trustee of this platform.