In a biohacker space such as Hackuarium, the main force is the group of people. Their competencies and their motivation will drastically impact the success of their projects. The board of the association usually takes care of some operational considerations such as event planning, infrastructure improvements or treasury. One central role is the social community manager. His purpose is to introduce new members and to find the needed human resources for each project. He follows the progress, and he encourages members to publish their results and populate the wiki with their findings. He is as well responsible for giving physical and digital access to the community, and he helps to shape the external communication of the association. All these tasks are crucial to attract new members and projects. Also, this role is of paramount importance for the sustainability of the community. This role may be the first to require a professional person and therefore a salary that ensures the motivation of the social community manager. If the community manager fails in his tasks, the image of the community in its whole is impacted.
In an old project called “Quantitative Anthropology”, we performed a community analysis of our Slack team. This analysis has been done during the first year of Hackuarium and demonstrated the volume of exchanges between the community members.
This network visualized with Cytoscape, show the most active members as well as the central role of the community manager, at that time our friend Shalf. The nodes represent the people, and the purple edges show the volume of exchange.
Depending on the size of the association, the treasury, and the amount of work, the board might include more professionals. But before reaching this stage, the association’s size should reach a critical mass of about 200 members. Today hackuarium has about 110 members with around 15 active projects. Our ability to grow our community and our capacity to fulfill each role needed on the board will determine the sustainability of Hackuarium in the following years.