"The Five Habits of Highly Successful Community Managers" (by Roland Legrand) is a great article that discusses tactics for successful online community managers. These include "Speak up", "Focus on Concrete Issues", "Be Honest", "Be Firm", "Be Grateful". These "people skills" are as equally applicable to a social community (online or offline) as they are to a developer community.
This got me thinking, should API service providers have a visible "community manager" (and not just "maintainer" or "evangelist") for their users and outside developers? I'd say yes. The issues and tactics highlighted in the article seem to me to be just as applicable to a technical user community as any other. But its not something I see very often - maybe its because developers don't see themselves as a community? Are there some types of API services that more naturally grow an ecosystem of users/developers around them?
What do you think? Do you know of API service providers that have someone with this responsibility and title?
[Thanks to Chia Hwu for pointing it out this article.]