Thursday, June 20, 2024 · 8 min read

JSON Schema Ambassadors Are Here!

Ambassadors program?

You may have noticed our new Ambassadors Program! If not, don't worry—we're here to explain what it is and how you can get involved.

I'm personally very excited to see this program come to life. Recognizing our community champions in a meaningful and sustainable way has always been a goal. The Ambassadors Program is our first step in publicly supporting our most experienced and helpful members.

We have many community members who frequently help others, provide feedback, answer questions, and debug schemas and code. They also assist newcomers in avoiding basic misconceptions. JSON Schema wouldn't be where it is today without this support.

The time is right - we are growing

For the past few years, a small team has worked full time on JSON Schema, focusing on ongoing projects. Now, we have the capacity to launch new initiatives, including this Ambassadors Program. We want to better recognize and support those who are giving back to our community.

We are better placed today than we ever have been to support and empower our existing ambassadors, and build a program which recognizes and supports them to further their efforts. It's always encouraging to see others as excited about JSON Schema as you are.

"The new website, and assorted outreach programmes have started to connect the huge JSON Schema user base, and we've really started to see the benefit in terms of the number of people actively participating." - Matthew Adams - Founder at Endjin - Candidate Ambassador.

How we benefit, from today

When thinking about our programs, two aspects we should consider are how they will impact the project overall, and the community. These are not the only aspects, but ones I want to touch on in this context.

As a Project

Having ambassadors not only recognizes individual contributions but also benefits JSON Schema. It will increase visibility and encourage positive community engagement.

Despite JSON Schema's presence, many still see it as part of another standard. By promoting JSON Schema through various channels, we enhance its recognition and usage. This increased visibility can attract more sponsorships, funding further programs like the Ambassadors Program and fostering a better ecosystem. It's a positive cycle; once we start, momentum will help us grow.

As the project thrives, so too does our community. The Ambassadors Program brings several benefits specifically for our community.

"The community is very friendly, welcoming, and extremely smart. I already learnt a LOT by participating in it. I want the JSON Schema ecosystem to grow, as it will likely power my business as a result. The Ambassadors Program is a great opportunity to recognise key contributors and encourage them to continue being involved." - Juan Cruz Viotti - Founder and CTO at Intelligence.AI - Candidate Ambassador

As the Community

The project and the community both benefit from the Ambassadors Program. Ambassadors will contribute valuable content, enhancing learning and engagement. To keep their ambassador status each year, ambassadors will be expected to make a number of contributions that benefit the community, such as articles, videos, podcasts, or even talking or running a workshop at a conference.

Given the prominence of the ambassadors, we will, collectively, check any and all published work they produce, making sure it's accurate. If you work with code, you've probably seen your fair share of poorly documented projects, and you know the impact that can have. High-quality, up-to-date content makes it easier for both newcomers and veterans to learn and stay current.

Further, we don't require or even expect that all the content ambassadors produce will go onto the project's website. No. There's actually improved reach by ambassadors using their existing channels to reach their community, hopefully expanding the JSON Schema community in addition to educating other spaces.

A portrait of an Ambassador

We've long planned the Ambassadors Program and have identified initial candidates. (You can nominate yourself or others!) Here are the qualities we seek in ambassadors.

Firstly, an ambassador has to be with the community. This means in the slack server, on Github, and occasionally on calls or other places representing or being a recognised expert or source of knowledge for JSON Schema.

Critically, we expect ambassadors to be aligned with the JSON Schema project's mission and values, be respectful of our code of conduct, and continue to be active in the community.

Recognising our Ambassadors from the community

We easily identified several community members to invite into the Ambassadors Program. The TSC and the Community Team spend a LOT of time in our community spaces, so even if we don't always reply or comment, we do notice those who are active and helpful.

When I first started the JSON Schema Slack server, the numbers were very few. Gradually, it grew. The core team answered most of the questions. I recall the feeling when I came back in the morning to find other people had answered questions from the community while I'd been asleep. I've previously recognised that saying "thank you" can be a big win, but I also know that we can do several magnitudes better.

We already have several members of our community who have become ambassadors for JSON Schema, just without any sort of formal recognition. Recognising, supporting, and further enabling these individuals, and new ambassadors, is going to have a positive impact, and I can't wait to see what it unlocks for JSON Schema in the future.

There's a swag kit for all accepted into the Ambassadors Program, and I can't wait to meet the individuals excited and proud to be wearing the exclusive swag at events and conferences in the future. We see you, ambassadors!

How to apply today

OK, OK. If you've read all the above, maybe you haven't yet made it to the Ambassador Program documentation file in our community repo. That would be your next stop if you're thinking about applying to become an ambassador.

We will be looking for existing contributions from individuals who have already been in our community for a while. If you're brand new to JSON Schema, becoming an ambassador is probably not something immediately in your reach, and that's OK. If you have some experience with JSON Schema, go write about it, apply to talk at events and conferences, or make videos. Be part of our community, answer questions. Then your application is much more likely to be accepted.

As I mentioned, we have a number of people in mind already, and I'd love to introduce a few of them to you today. If you're in our community spaces, you've probably seen them around.

"As a small team ourselves at Endjin, we live by the mantra 'helping small teams achieve big things'. I believe we can have a disproportionate positive impact by working on JSON Schema as it is so widely adopted, across so many different disciplines and industry verticals." - Matthew Adams

"JSON is the world's most popular data format, and it's impossible to not work with it in some way or another. Once you want to embrace JSON, JSON Schema is the most powerful and expressive schema language for it, elegantly enabling a wide variety of use cases." - Juan Cruz Viotti

You (yes, you!) can help support and expand Ambassadors and other programs

If this program sounds great and you want to support it, you can! Being part of our community is a great first step. Our Slack server may sometimes get busy, but you could mute it and only get notified of announcements, if you wanted. We actively use and monitor GitHub Discussions, so if Slack isn't your thing or you have one too many already, that's going to be a space for you. We're also more active on LinkedIn over this past year, and it seems to be increasing in popularity with professionals; We love to hear how JSON Schema is used in industry.

Sharing content from the JSON Schema project and community promotes growth and enhances your professional credibility. With ambassadors contributing more content, they may even seek ideas from you!

We are sending out swag at our expense, and we have a little money saved in our Open Collective budgeted and set aside for doing so. However, we would love to be able to support ambassadors to cover the expenses involved in getting to the larger conferences, including our own in the future. If your organization supports open source projects, please consider financial donations, especially if you use JSON Schema in production. We also support GitHub Sponsors.

If that's easy, great, but we do appreciate it's not always attainable. What might be more possible is to get your organization added to our Adopters list. You can read all about that in our community repository.

I'm thrilled to see our Ambassadors Program get off the ground, and I'm positive it will have a really impactful effect on the project, the community, and the ambassadors that take part. Join us, get involved, and let's see what we can achieve together!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash