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Atlassian Community voice and tone guide

Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 04, 2019

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A healthy community is propped up by a handful of key components: shared values, a desire to learn, clear guardrails for participation and, perhaps most importantly, an environment where members feel welcome to share their questions and ideas.

Think of voice as a constant, a personality that doesn't change. Tone, however, is a mood, which adapts based on who you're talking to. When interacting with other members, your tone may change based on where someone is at in their journey (novice vs. expert) or what product they're using (Bitbucket vs. Trello).

In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of real examples from the Atlassian Community that exemplify the voice and tone we encourage all members to adopt in order to create a space that keeps folks coming back for more! The goal is to be aligned with Atlassian's own internal rules, which are led by three principles: bold, optimistic, and practical, with a wink.

What the Atlassian Community is

  • Optimistic

    Example thread from @Meg Holbrook:

    • “I love that you all did your own Summit - it looks like it was a great success! This is such an awesome idea.”

  • Inclusive

    Example thread from @Mary Ramirez

    • “Glad to have you back! I think a buddy system is a great idea. Especially if you become friends for life. Makes me think about how beneficial this would be to a newbie. I remember feeling uncomfortable asking my new boss my 100+ questions. But having a senior or native employee to partner with and bounce ideas from sounds more comforting.”

  • Empowering

    Example thread from @Thomas Schlegel:

    • “Hi Michael,

      Pages in your Confluence are sorted alphabetically by default unless you start to sort them manually. Then the latest page is added as the last one in the tree.

      You can restore the default sort order by clicking on the "A-Z-arrow" again:”

      tone screenshot.png

  • Helpful

    Example thread from @Cameron Eldridge:

    • General

      • Make it a habit of clicking the Calculate button every time you navigate back to your plan. Data may have changed while you were away.

      • Create a page template in your Confluence space to capture requirements for each Initiative. This will help ensure everyone has a good grasp on the scope of these big work items.

        • You can link these directly to your Jira issues.

      • Create an Initiative kanban board to track the progress of high level Portfolio items.

        • You can also create an Epic kanban board to show which Initiative each Epic is linked to.

        • Include the Parent Link field on the board's Card Layout to easily see parent Initiatives.

      Committing Plan Changes

      • Try not to leave an abundance of uncommitted changes in your plan. Hundreds of uncommitted changes can make it difficult to remember everything you adjusted if you haven't visited your plan in a couple of days.

      • Ensure changes made in one scenario don't overlap with changes in another scenario. Otherwise, you may end up with conflicts that prevent you from committing changes.

      Issues sources

      • Scrum teams should use boards as their issue sources to take advantage of their sprints and associated history.

        • Portfolio can calculate a suggested velocity for each scrum team based on the story points completed in previous sprints.

      • When using a single issue source in a plan with multiple teams, Portfolio often schedules work for the "incorrect" team. This is especially prevalent when teams don't have any members assigned to them.

        • Leverage the Portfolio Team field in your issues to avoid scheduling conflicts.

          • Share your plan's private teams so that you can designate them in Jira issues.

            • Of course, you'll need to add the Team field to all applicable issue screens.

          • Alleviate scheduling conflicts even further by creating a unique issue source for each team in your plan.

      Multiple Scenario Planning

      • Create at least two scenarios for your plan.

        • Ensure that one of them, such as "Live," always reflects your Jira data in its current state.

      • Title your scenarios based on their purpose.

        • Examples

          • Live

          • Sandbox

          • Grooming

          • Best Case

          • Release Shift

      Plan Permissions

      • Avoid giving too many users edit permissions of your plan. Committing changes back to Jira can be very dangerous.


      • Apply default estimates to unestimated work items to get them to show up on the timeline.

        • This is most helpful when used in Epics and Initiatives that don't contain any child issues.

      • Pay attention to the ranking of stories in your Backlog. Rank holds the most weight in Portfolio's scheduling algorithm.

        • Estimated issues not assigned to sprints will automatically be placed in fake, placeholder sprints (e.g. Sprint 1, Sprint 2, etc.) that only exist in Portfolio, especially when ranked low in the backlog.

          • As a result, the plan may appear to be overbooked. Re-rank those issues higher in the backlog, then assign them to a sprint if the overbooked schedule doesn't revert back to green.

          • If the schedule is still red, overbooking may be present elsewhere in the plan.


  • Solutions-oriented

    Example thread from @Nic Brough _Adaptavist_:

    • “Good plan. But I'm afraid it's not as easy as it should be.

      There are loads of types of field in Jira as far as we humans are concerned:

      • System fields that Jira always has on issues. There are four broad groups of these

        • Structural ones that are not really fields - Project, issue type and status.

        • Non editable fields - created, updated

        • Mandatory system field - summary, resolution (ok, resolution is not mandatory, but you should treat it as a field you always have to think about, whatever your users say about how much they don't want to use it)

        • Optional system fields - assignee, reporter, environment, due date, comments

        • Note that applications and add-ons can add to those - Service Desk, Software and Portfolio will add things like Epic Link, initiative, request, yadayadayada

      • Custom fields

      However, the only system field I would bother analysing is "environment". The others are either too useful to get rid of, or you can't.

      So, to answer question 1: Go to Admin -> Issues -> Custom fields. That's the list of fields you want to look at (and tack "environment" on to the list)

      Question 2:

      For each field, run the JQL "<field> is not empty". This will return a list of all the issues with content for that field.

      This does not tell you a massive amount though. I find it far more useful to save each one as a filter, then go to a new dashboard and add a "filter statistics" gadget, using "project" as the statistic. This way, it tells you the number of issues using the field by project. Far easier to read, and can lead you to "hey, you guys are the only people using this field, how about we rationalise it" conversations.

      Question 3:

      Not hugely, but it can make searches a bit more frustrating for a user, if they assume that a field they see in their project exists in someone else's project.

      You won't get any technical gain from hiding fields, it just simplifies some of the views for users. If you want to make things a bit faster, change the field contexts, so they only belong to a sub-set of projects and/or issue types.”

  • Empathetic

    Example thread from @Jack Brickey

    • “Welcome to the Community. I'm not sure about your deleted post TBH so can't directly comment on that. As you may be aware the Community is largely comprised of users just like yourself, this includes me. I clearly get your frustrated and would like to see if there is anything I, or others in the Community, can do to help. I don't know that I can change your overall perspective on the tool as a whole or the company I would like to think maybe the Community can help w/ specific issues you may be having. If not then certainly reaching out directly to Atlassian Support might resolve the issue. With that said is there a particular issue w/ the product that you seek assistance with?”

What the Atlassian Community is not

  • Condescending

  • Passive agressive

  • Confrontational
  • Promotional

See something important that’s missing from the list? Add it in the comments section below.


Jack Brickey Community Leader Feb 04, 2019

great article Erica! Put this on the "things you need to consume before becoming a member" reading list. :-)

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Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 04, 2019

Thanks, @Jack Brickey! Definitely required reading. 😎

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great and beautiful article

Bridget Community Manager Feb 04, 2019

**sets new home page**

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Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 04, 2019



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LarryBrock Community Leader Feb 04, 2019

Thanks for putting this together @Erica Moss - This is a great guide to help develop a positive environment by instilling a "think before you speak" mentality.  I agree with @Jack Brickey that this should be required reading before diving headfirst into writing, commenting, answering, etc. 😎

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Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 04, 2019

Thanks, @LarryBrock! We have a guide internally that informs pretty much all of the copy we create, so it made a lot of sense to extend some best practices to the Community as well. Glad it's useful. 😄

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A great article @Erica Moss!

You have examples of good answers to use as guidelines, could you also add an example or two of good questions? Often the tone and voice of a reply will mirror the that of the request, and some questions are easier to figure out because they have good information about the issue in them while others can be vague.


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Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 05, 2019

@Scott Theus Great point, Scott! @Thomas Schlegel has actually written about this very topic — if you see anything that's missing, definitely feel free to add it in the comments. 😄

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mattjared Atlassian Team Feb 05, 2019

Great work @Erica Moss!!! 

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Monique vdB Community Manager Feb 05, 2019

This is fabulous! I love the examples you provided! ❤️

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@Erica Moss this is where it’s at. If there was a :queen emoji available, it would be bolded, underlined, and highlighted. Great resource and the examples are fire!

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Pavel Junek Community Leader Jul 22, 2019

Thank’s for your article, great job! 🙂

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Vinod Ramadoss Community Leader Sep 04, 2019

Thanks Erica, this definitely helps.


I recently joined Atlassian community and am really excited not only to connect with great minds but also getting to know lot many things new from articles and discussions happening.

Thank you. 

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Erica Moss Community Manager Sep 09, 2019

@Vinod Ramadoss We're so glad you're here!

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Could anyone give us advise, we would like to install Jira community license on our AWS. Is that possible to use 1 Jira Community license for 2 server AWS with different production project separated?

SriKumar P Atlassian Team Jan 17, 2020

Hi @Erica Moss ,

Great article 👌. And nice Examples too 🙂👍



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Veera Atlassian Team Jan 19, 2020

Awesome work @Erica Moss !!!

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Emily Koch Atlassian Team Jan 30, 2020

Great article @Erica Moss ... and all the community members who are setting a good example!

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Erica Moss Community Manager Jan 30, 2020

@Emily Koch Thank you!

I think we have a really strong, healthy community here at Atlassian. Thanks to @Erica Moss for providing guidance! 

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Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 04, 2020

@Shawn Kessler Thanks, Shawn!

Dave Liao Community Leader Jun 12, 2020

I wish there was a way to star articles and have them appear in your profile... I guess we can always just link to this from our profiles, eh? 😂

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Erica Moss Community Manager Jun 15, 2020

@Dave Liao Pinning things would be great, but alas, for now, it's best to just share it often. 😎

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A few years back, I have landed on Atlassian Community to find answers to my questions. A few months back, I started giving it back from what I have learned. I am still learning each day. Thank you for the post @Erica Moss 

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Erica Moss Community Manager Jun 24, 2020

@Sachin That is so wonderful! Kudos to you for wanting to give back in a meaningful way. We're glad you're here!

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Indeed, happy to be here! 

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Liam Green Community Leader Sep 17, 2020

@Erica Moss This is a really great article.  As others have said, it should be required reading.

With that in mind, I wonder if some sort of 'community reader' badge might be a good idea - have a list of required articles to read, including this one and the one you linked to about asking questions, then when people have read them all they get the badge

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Dave Liao Community Leader Sep 17, 2020

Yes! Required readings should be a prerequisite for those who want to participate in the community. It'd be a form of onboarding, yeah?

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Liam Green Community Leader Sep 17, 2020

Yeah - there are quite a few articles out there discussing these elements, but its not always easy to find them, so a full on-boarding might be much better.

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Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 17, 2020

@Liam Green and @Dave Liao we may have a way to test something like this out soon, stay tuned! 

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elizabeth_jones Community Leader Jan 04, 2021

This is very helpful; thanks so much!

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Great stuff to keep in mind. Thanks @Erica Moss .

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Doesn't get out of time! Needs to be keeped in mind 💙

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Thank You @Erica Moss this is must read information for 'Community Leaders'. I have got this feedback in 2 times in my ACL application and I am working on this. I hope I will do better.

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Alexis Robert Community Leader Jan 20, 2021

Thanks @Erica Moss  for the article !

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John Funk Community Leader Jan 25, 2021

Very extensive and great guidance!

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Alexis Robert Community Leader Feb 11, 2021

Thanks for the article @Erica Moss ! It's great that you included examples, I know that sometimes new member are not sure how to answer questions or where to start - this will be a very helpful guide !

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Great summary @Erica Moss It should be promoted by community leaders!

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