The cornerstones of coordination are the events you do with the volunteers. Creating events to coordinate QA activities is the best way to engage volunteers and generate excitement about the project. There are many parallels to creating an online event and an event in “real life,” but there are also some unique challenges to creating and publicizing events on the Net. Just like any event, you have to pick a location and time. The location is usually simple; you just use whatever media you normally use to communicate with your volunteers. In our case, IRC was a natural choice. We made it clear that people were not required to join IRC to participate, but we also marshaled our resources and did not attempt to man several different communication channels on our event days. This helped increase the activity, responsiveness, and focus in the IRC channel and made for a more engaging, exciting event.

Although location is simple, time is anything but. Our volunteers were spread throughout the world, primarily in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. No one time would work for all of these locations, but there are multiple ways to resolve this challenge as your volunteer group develops. If you have the depth of volunteers in each location, you can charge them with taking a “shift” on your event, and allow them the freedom to lead that shift and work with new volunteers in their time zone. This is the best way to address the problem, but of course it assumes you have a volunteer ...

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