Community Leadership Glossary

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Please add additional terms and references here. Please be to keep this alphabetical.


Anti-Harassment Policy

A document that outlines a set of guidelines that make it clear that physical, sexual or other forms of harassment and intimidation are not allowed. Often a staple of many conferences and events.




See Contributor License Agreement.


An acronym for the Community Leadership Summit.


A series of smaller, local events, based on the Community Leadership Summit format.

Code Of Conduct

A document that outlines a set of guidelines for expected behavior in a community.

Community Leadership Summit

A face-to-face gathering aimed at helping people who do community work exchange best practices and provide support for each other. The first summit was held in 2009 as an adjunct to the Open Source convention, and is still held in conjunction with that convention each year, but has also spread around the world. CLS is normally free to attend, being supported by sponsors with an interest in community management, and has an “unconference” format where all attendees can suggest session topics.

Commit Privileges

When computer software or other content is created by the community, people who are permitted to make changes without asking others for permission have commit privileges. This doesn't mean they act arbitrarily on their own. It means that other people, usually after some discussion and review, ask a person with commit privileges to actually make the change.

Conflict Resolution

The overall topic of how conflict between individuals or groups is resolved.

Content Management System

A software tool useful for running a community website. Often includes features such as a blog, static web pages, and other content.

Contributor License Agreement

A document that outlines a set of rights and restrictions for community members who participate in a particular project.

Creative Commons

An organization that creates and maintains a set of licenses for easily defining the rights and restrictions behind a piece of content. This makes it easier for creators to define how they want their content used. See for more.




The act of taking an issue, concern, or conflict and raising it with a higher level of authority.

Extrinsic Motivation

Motivation that comes from Outside of the Individual. The opposite of Intrinsic Motivation Read More



An online discussion tool in which people can visit a web page and have conversations together. A good example of this is



The overall topic of how communities should be governed and led. Governance does not always equate to making decisions, and there are multiple governance methods and styles available.



Implementation Plan

A plan that outlines how to implement a particular goal or feature. Often tied with a Strategic Plan.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

An online real-time discussion tool in which communities can form into channels and have discussions about topics of interest. Often used as a real-time addition to other communication channels.

Intrinsic Motivation

Motivation that comes from inside the Individual. The opposite of Extrinsic Motivation Read More





Mailing List

Two definitions:

  • An email list in which people can subscribe to get email updates (also known as a Newsletter).
  • An email subscription in which conversations can occur and all emails sent to the mailing list appear in everyone's email account. A common method of communication in technical communities.

A common model in communities in which reputation defines the capabilities of an individual. The philosophy here is that the color of your skin, gender, car you drive etc don't matter…what matters is doing good work.


Measurements used by managers to assess the health and history of an organization. Examples include how many members join each month, what percentage submits contributions, etc.