MakingCommunityObvious is the working title for a desktop feature that will expose one's local community (in the geographical sense)

"Inspired by the MeMenu (now defunct) and the WeMenu (conceptual, never implemented). Designed with the community in mind."

A Blueprint for UDS-R is here:

Short Statement of Goal

Attention is scarce and what limited attention we have left is under attack. What are the chances that a person new to Ubuntu will discover that Ubuntu is a project full of people rather than just another product? We should make the discovery of one's community a central focus of attention in the Ubuntu Unity desktop experience.

Let's create a prominent place on the Ubuntu desktop. Connect it to one's local community, beginning with those who use and enjoy Ubuntu. Expand it to include additional nearby social connections: family, friends, neighbourhood, city...


The feature is a great way to discover community right from the Ubuntu desktop. In Unity, it is a highly visible element containing persons and groups that are central to the Ubuntu experience and ethos of "Our Shared Humanity". It is outward looking, but human-centric. It focuses our attention on real people, beginning with those closest to us.


This is purely a proposal for discussion and refinement. None of this specification has been implemented. UDS-R is our opportunity to begin working on this.


The modern computer desktop lacks a focus on community. As a result users of most (maybe all) systems (free or not) are swept away into an endless sea of of data, trivia, and distractive content from the instant their computer is connected to the net. One might argue (and I do) that the net has become a solvent for true community, flooding us instead with loose affiliations and data smog.

I've seen this first hand. Perhaps you have too. Walk into any major public library or community centre and observe what most users of public computers are doing: Facebook, YouTube, Farmville, some free web mail, and maybe a few other "amusements". Is the the net sum of all the work that we've done to build the internet and associated infrastructure an advertising/entertainment delivery platform? If so, then shame on us.

Ubuntu is a human-centric project and system. Its Unity desktop should provide a richer experience than that offered by the competition. It should endeavor to strengthen the ties between a user, her family, her close friends, and her true community. Ubuntu's desktop should not only be an expression of self ("Me"), but also an expression of our connectedness and our humanity ("We"). It should allow us to find and connect easily with others nearby in meaningful and sustainable ways. Ubuntu should help ensure that local community is built by default and that it can flourish.


<To be determined> We need mockups/wireframes

Install By Default?

Although the most powerful scenario is the one where the feature is included by default and installed on the standard Unity desktop, it could also begin as an optional item available from the Ubuntu Software Centre (, to allow us more time to add functionality and polish, without the immediate spotlight. Also, due to the transient nature of many web services that we might rely upon, inclusion in extras affords us the opportunity to revise more frequently.


<To be determined>

Leveraging Other Services

Diaspora might be a good starting point. Needs investigation.

Original design and specification: RandallRoss
This specification is incomplete. Want to help?
Your feedback is welcome at CommunityLens/Comments.

MakingCommunityObvious (last edited 2012-11-01 08:45:41 by randall)