Building a better community: The Unsung Heroes collection

For every Robert Haas, Bruce Momjian, Dave Page, Tom Lane, and Peter Eisentraut there are dozens of Jonathan Katz, Jim Mlgodenski and Denish Patels. Beyond that there are hundreds of Lloyd Albin, Boyan Botev, Eric Worden, David G. Johnston, and Debra Cerdas. They are all valuable community members and they all play their part in helping the community continue to succeed.

There are a lot of ways to build community but few are as powerful as making sure that people feel it is worth the time they are investing with the community. This applies to submitting code patches, documentation patches, volunteering at conferences, organizing community conferences, as well as a host of other items such as running monthly user group meetings or hanging out on the official IRC channel. If the community isn’t appreciative, they will move on to greener pastures where their efforts are acknowledged.

With all that in mind, this is a start of a new blog chapter within my wider ‘Building a Better Community’ series. A series on the unsung heroes of PostgreSQL; the people who are supporting the foundations of this awesome community.

Our first Unsung Hero is: David G. Johnston

David is a long time active contributor to the PostgreSQL mailing lists, providing support and collaboration to our community. Of course at no cost and a considerable personal time investment.

David has graciously offered more of his time to contribute on a personal level. Below you will find a QA session digging into his reasoning as to why he is a contributor and why he continues through the years.

  • How do you use PostgreSQL?
  • Extensive data manipulation. While I have familiarity with typically DBA assigned tasks my focus is in understanding and using the capabilities exposed via SQL.

  • Why do you participate in the PostgreSQL community?
  • I get the satisfaction of helping others: both those whose questions I answer as well as taking away some of that volume from others so that they can focus more of their attention on aspects of PostgreSQL that I am less able to contribute to. The adage that the best way to really learn/understand something is to teach it to others is something that my experience tells me is true.

  • What was your first version of PostgreSQL in production?
  • ​8.2​

  • What is the *one* thing you wish the PostgreSQL community did better?
  • I think having more, or more obvious, "how you can contribute" and "welcome to the team" type of webpages, readily navigable from the main site, would reduce the intimidation factor. For both potential contributors and plain-ol'-users having some kind of picture and narrative of the community structure would probably be a helpful inclusion in said "welcome packet"..

  • What is the thing you do, that isn’t PostgreSQL?
  • ​Recreational driving & travelling

  • What is your favorite hack to make your PostgreSQL installation solve that unsolved problem?
  • (Example: Looping through a list of database names to get a proper logical backup)

    ​Got nothing here that comes to mind - I tend to be too much by-the-book. I do lots of stuff with shell scripts and the like but much more broadly than the DBA-oriented example you give.

    Thanks to David for taking the time to answer a few questions about his involvement with our great community.

    Opinions are my own,
    Joshua D. Drake
    Founder and Director