Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Barriers to Entry in Open Source, or why your flat hierarchies are ruining everything

Barriers to Entry in Open Source, or why your flat hierarchies are ruining everything

Kathleen Danielson

October 18, 2017

More Decks by Kathleen Danielson

Other Decks in Technology


  1. Barriers to Entry in Open Source Kathleen Danielson 17 October

    2017 Or, why your flat hierarchies are ruining everything
  2. Hello! @KathleenLD Producer @ Zalando Tech Previously: OpenStreetMap Foundation, Board

    of Directors Ada Initiative, Advisory Board
  3. Quick Notes • Diversity is not just about gender. There’s

    also sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, ability, or many other dimensions. • Underrepresented people are not necessarily newbies, but newbie-friendly communities are more diverse
  4. Is there really a diversity problem?

  5. I know you love research Github’s 2017 survey of FOSS

    (Free and Open Source Software) developers revealed that 95% of respondents identified as male. http://opensourcesurvey.org/2017 “[W]omen’s pull requests tend to be accepted more often than men’s, yet women’s acceptance rates are higher only when they are not identifiable as women. [...P]lausible explanations include the presence of gender bias in open source, survivorship and self-selection bias, and women being held to higher performance standards.” Emphasis added. https://peerj.com/articles/cs-111/
  6. Why does the diversity problem exist?

  7. Same old story Everything that makes the tech industry bad

    at diversity applies to Open Source
  8. None
  9. Structurelessness Go read The Tyranny of Structurelessness right now. http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

  10. Impacts of Structurelessness • Explicit power structures are replaced with

    implicit ones • • Unknown processes mean that newbies will be shamed • No expected checks on bad behavior • New people won’t succeed
  11. What’s the difference between the tech industry and FOSS? There’s

    no HR department in Open Source
  12. What can I do about the diversity problem?

  13. Add Structure

  14. Get rid of your flat hierarchies Seriously, stop it. These

    are ruining everything.
  15. What is structure in FOSS? • Have a project maintenance

    team • Codes of Conduct • Just write down how your community works. • Thorough startup docs • • What are the norms and expectations for PRs? Add it in CONTRIBUTING.md
  16. What else can I do? So. Much. Stuff. • Make

    diversity a priority • Stop asking marginalized people to fix your community • Educate yourselves
  17. Recommended Reading Educate yourself! • http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm • http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Geek_Femi nism_Wiki •

    https://adainitiative.org/ • Anything by bell hooks
  18. Thank you! Kathleen Danielson @KathleenLD