History of iFixit’s Community

History of iFixit’s Community

2003-2023 (and beyond!)

As we continue to celebrate iFixit’s 20th Anniversary, we want to share with you the history of the Community: exploring its roots, growth, and its continued commitment to promoting repairability. 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Just kidding. Actually, it was more like the early 2000s and it happened in Yosemite Hall Tower 1 at Cal Poly

Kyle and Luke were frustrated by the lack of repair information available online.

Kyle’s Apple G3 iBook was broken and they had no idea how to even diagnose the problem because Apple didn’t include repair documentation with the device. Even when they were able to get some information on how to fix the laptop, Apple was already one step ahead issuing take-down notices. 

So even if you could get your hands on the information, chances were, it wouldn’t be available for long. So fixing your stuff could leave you in big trouble. 

Can you imagine starting a repair and only being able to get part way through because you lost access to the remaining steps?

Although they pushed through and figured out how to fix it without any official documentation, they found themselves thinking about all the other people who had ever found themselves in a similar situation. 

They also grew concerned over the idea that paying for something didn’t mean that you actually owned it. 

At $1,600 a pop (not including taxes) and now worth $2,637.94 in today’s market, the G3 was quite an investment, you’d think you’d be able to crack it open and fix it if something went wrong.

And while the G3 is discontinued, the regular practice of restricting access to repair documentation has not.

This spurred an internal drive for Kyle and Luke to share their experience and encourage others to fix their own stuff. 

DeLorean Time Travel GIF

Back to twenty years in the future, the iFixit we know today is helping folks fix their stuff while also influencing lawmakers to pass right-to-repair legislation. 

Thanks to these efforts and our collaborative partnership with Repair.org, many states have passed significant self-repair rights that require manufacturers to provide access to repair information for devices that we buy.  

But, of course, Kyle and Luke couldn’t do this on their own. 

They needed help. 

They needed Community.

On November 3, 2009 the iFixit Answers Forum was born. We’ve combed our archives for the first question ever asked (and answered) and it does not disappoint! In its infancy, the forum looked a bit dated but trust us when we say it was cutting edge.

This was the very first question asked on the Answers Forum. November 3, 2009.

Today, the Community site attracts hundreds of thousands of unique daily visitors from all walks of life. Everyone from a farmer in landlocked Africa trying to establish a home electrical system to a novice tinkerer in North America trying to swap out a smartphone screen. 

Our reach is so vast that we support 12 languages and have just recently added Korean to the list. 

Through our global collaborative efforts, iFixit’s Community has worked to demystify technology, dismantle geographical barriers, and equip people with the parts, tools, guidance, and confidence they need to repair their gadgets. 

Remember, if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it!

Community-contributed repair guides, wikis, and the questions/answers on the Answers Forum are the nuts and bolts of iFixit. 

Without the Community’s continued contributions, there is no way we could have built the massive repair repository that we have today. Or even continue adding more devices every day.

The Community’s commitment to reducing electronic waste is unwavering.  And with new members joining every day, we had to get serious about what the Community represents to the wider repair world.

So, with a growing head count, we welcomed the first group of moderators to help us keep everything running smoothly. 

That was in 2010. And almost fifteen years later, many of them are still with us today! 

Their ability to help diagnose a problem with just a few details makes them favorites on the Answers Forum and widely respected within iFixit.

Whether you realize it or not, we can almost guarantee that if you’ve participated on the Answers Forum at all, you’ve interacted with at least one of our mods.

(The mods are such a beloved part of the iFixit family that we actually plan on spotlighting them in their own blog post at the end of the month. So stay tuned for that!)

We have a vision, fixers, and Mods. Now, we just need a little (Community) management

Up until 2020, the task of managing the community side of iFixit was split internally between several departments. 

In other words, there wasn’t one sole team responsible for advocating for the Community. 

With almost three million members, you can see where that would be a problem. 

It was no longer feasible to rely solely on the mods (with occasional input from iFixit) to manage the Community.  

We needed a dedicated team. 

It started with a grand plan led by our fearless Head of Translation, Sandra Hiller, who stepped up to the plate to run two departments at once. It was her vision that helped us understand what tasks were exclusive to Community and how we could go about building a team to carry them out. 

She strategized, planned, and trained. She put out job postings for a dedicated Community Manager. And by the beginning of 2021, she and Kyle narrowed down the applicants to a small pool. 

In the end they hired Amber Taus.

Amber worked for two years learning the ins and outs of iFixit and the greater repair community. 

And in 2023, the training wheels came off and we became a real stand-alone team. Amber was promoted to the Global Head of community and I, Kris Rodriguez, took over as the new Community Manager.

Together, our lean team is working towards improving the overall user experience of the Community. This means that if something goes wrong (or right) and you contact community@ifixit.com, you’ll be connected with one of us. 

You’ll also see us popping into different threads on the Answers Forum and Meta

TLDR; The Community is dedicated to educating anyone who is willing to learn how to fix their stuff. 

Just pop in and ask a question

Already fixed something and want to share your experience? Tell us a story

What the future holds…

From its humble beginnings as a resource for Apple repairs, the iFixit Community has blossomed into a thriving global movement, embraced repairability, spread environmental consciousness, and advocated for the right to repair. 

Through shared knowledge, support, and a passion for preserving the lifespan of electronic devices, the Community has empowered countless individuals to take control of their technology and reduce their impact on the planet. 

As the repair revolution continues to move forward, the Community will lead the way!