A little while back I blogged about wanting to reconnect with our ethos. In a continuation of that theme I am keen to talk about stories.

I have talked about stories quite a bit in my writings on community management (particularly so in my book The Art of Community). Stories are important entities in communities – they are vessels in which we share ideas, lessons we have learned, our experience and more. Many stories come laced with these underlining nuggets of wisdom that we then take aware and help us to refine and improve how we interface with the world and the people around us.

Stories though encompass another significant benefit: they allow us to inspire and encourage others via real-world practical examples of our ethos being put into practice.

A story I share at every Ubuntu Developer Summit is that when I started working as the Ubuntu Community Manager I got a lovely email from a kid in Africa who would walk two hours to his local town where he would spend his own money to buy Internet time in an Internet cafe to contribute to Ubuntu and then walk two hours back home. This story was powerful to me. It told me that my job is to help that guy get the most out of his hour, to justify his investment of energy and expense to just get involved in the first place. His story was inspiring, encouraging, and an impressive example of commitment. I always share this story at UDS as an inspiration for us to get the most out of each one-hour session.

These stories benefit us all, and in the continued theme of reconnecting with our ethos, I wanted to ask you folks what are the most inspiring and encouraging stories of Free Software and community that you have heard? Which story have made those little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end?

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