I often hear people characterize the MySQL community as strong and vibrant. In fact I’ve heard people attribute MySQL’s success to the strength of the community. I think SQL Server has a very robust community but that’s just my opinion. So what makes a strong community? I think it boils down to two simple characteristics:

1) How quickly can people get their questions answered. This encapsulates a number of different aspects: how easy it is to find places to ask questions. How many people monitor those places. The experience of the people monitoring. And finally, the quality of the responses.

2) The openness of the community. I’ve seen communities where newbies are not welcomes. Where people berate & insult each other. Where arrogance is king. An open community is the opposite. They have a sign posted: “Newbies Welcome”. They provide support and encouragement of each other. There’s healthy debate on key topics. Where each member has an equal voice.

I think the SQL community epitomizes these two characteristics. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to keep looking for innovative ways to advance the community and make it better.