Diversity in Open Source WG

We’re having a kick-off WG meeting this Friday at 1:00pm EST to talk about diversity in open source. If you’re keen on this subject, please let me know here or in DM and I will include you. Our goal is to find synergy and figure out what we can productively do to improve the open source and open source sustainability places, together.

I’m very excited about this one!


I’m keen, thanks Richard!

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Count me in! :nerd_face:

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I’m also interested! Though I don’t think I can make it this Friday. Can you post notes/agenda topics for review after the fact?

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I’m very happy to, yes. I’m also happy to sync up with you afterwards. :slight_smile:

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I would love that - it’s been too long!

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I’m keen about this. Thanks.

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  • Fill out this Doodle poll for the next meeting. Shut-off is Wednesday night.
  • Add resources you know of here.
  • Reach out for notes from last time.

Hey all. We had a productive meeting the Friday before last, but I forgot to update those of you who weren’t there on it! We went around and talked about our shared interests in having more diversity in open source, and discussed where we would like the group to go. The main thrust of the meeting was this: We need to have a survey on what teams are working on diversity, and which projects and research already exists on the subject.

Towards that end, we’ve been adding resources to the document. Given recent discussions, and the lack of major input so far, I’ve moved that document to this etherpad.

I have minutes which I can share privately, if anyone is interested. Send me a PM. I don’t want to drop it here until I’ve gotten consent from everyone else to do so.

Finally, here is a doodle poll for this week’s meeting, as not everyone could make the last one: Doodle - Make meetings happen.

:wave: Looking forward to meeting again tomorrow at 1500 EST. Let me know if anyone would like to come but doesn’t have an invite.

Last time, we decided to pool resources so that we could map the space better, here. Etherpad

If anyone has any more, it’d be great to have them added!

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Hope to join the next meeting. I organize a similar effort: GitHub - SFDO-Community-Sprints/DEI-Framework: Open Source Community Sprint project focused on increasing the diversity, equality and inclusion at the Sprints and creating a framework for the nonprofit Salesforce ecosystem. Seems like the two groups could enhance each other’s research and action.

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Same here, I’d love to join the next meeting. I work towards similar goals at ovio.org, welcoming more contributors to the open source world and bringing diversity to open source communities.

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Is there an agenda anywhere? Is the topic for calls only, or also async chat here?

Discourse also has a time widget in the toolbar when constructing posts, it handles timezone magic, would be nice if that is used for events.

The biggest challenge I see in the diversity front is the disposable time issue:

  1. non-commercial open-source occurs during disposable time
    1. unless one won the fame game, then indie open-source largely intersects with non-commercial open-source
  2. diversity in commercial open-source inherits from the diversity of workplaces that engage in it
  3. diversity in non-commercial open-source inherits from the diversity of those who have disposable time and a principle to spend that disposable time on open-source

Any objective to increase diversity in open-source therefore must focus on either:

  1. funding atypical demographics to engage in open-source, so it eats into work hours, not disposable time hours; no ethical concerns here
  2. recruitment into atypical demographics via open-source principle evangelism, of which there is an ethical responsibility from the evangelist that the disposable hours that are traded are not taken away from things that are beneficial to improving their overall outcomes

Focusing on those above the poverty line via evangelism of open-source ideology is fine, as one is generally swapping the content of disposable time from engagements of choice rather than fitness, such as entertainment or affluenza, for open-source productivity.

Focusing on those below the poverty line is delicate:

  1. swapping the content of their existing commercial hours to open-source commercial hours must hedge its efficacy that the trade is holistically beneficial to the subject and not just to the outcomes of the evangelist. If commercial open-source can fill a deficit in commercial hours, that’s a +1. If commercial open-source can fill a deficit in the local-community’s commercial hours, that’s a few +1s. If commercial open-source detracts from cultural obligations, that is a contingent. If commercial open-source has amorphous benefits compared to their existing commercial work, that is also a contingent.

  2. swapping content of their existing disposable hours for open-source non-commercial time must also hedge its efficacy on that the trade is holistically beneficial to the subject and not just to the outcomes of the evangelist. Is the open-source time is filling idle time, that is likely a +1. If the principle that feels an obligation to contribute to open-source is injected, yet with so limited disposable hours that can be detrimental to their outcomes, then that is callous of the evangelist. And so on with similar contingencies from the commercial example.

When evangelising, one has to be careful that their evangelism isn’t assimilation projections but rather is a holistic collaboration which at times may forgo short-term outcome targets as it is a collaboration of mutual telos, and not just the evangelist’s telos.

For instance to increase diversity in open-source ethically, an evangelist must:

  1. identifying the supply of commercial open-source opportunities and the nature of the supply, then finding demographics of which their sample of commercial time the supply can better address their needs than their existing commercial time supply can

  2. identifying the supply of non-commercial open-source opportunities and the nature of that supply, then finding demographics of which their sample of disposable time is better served by the nature of the non-commercial open-source supply, rather than their existing supply

Which also requires a dualism of subjective evaluation:

  1. identifying the supply and nature of the subject’s commercial time

  2. identifying the supply and nature of the subject’s non-commercial time

Which upon identifying, presents these two solutions:

  1. From my experience, the typical approach taken from diversity initiatives: An ideological/cultural colonisation to expand the employable supply market of the evangelist’s industry: focus on globalism, gentrification, and economic-‘empowerment’ efforts to assimilate the market by diminishing the value of the content of their existing time supplies where the evangelist’s supply eventually overwhelms and dispels the existing supply: if holistic diversity is the yardstick, then this approach is a Cobra effect, however if expanded industry supply is the yardstick, this works excellently.

  2. From my experience, an approach I’d like to see more of, however not so much a recruitment initiative as it is a pro-social collaboration: Expand the subject’s awareness of their own supply and alternative supplies, but only if they first sought or are seeking change (we do not wish to impose change). Work with them to find out what is best for their own needs while avoiding coaching. Help the community solve their own problems with shared awareness on what the impacts of such solutions can do, positive and negative. For instance, giving a peasantry culture machines such as tractors can certainly empower them on some measurements, but on other measurements they become dependent on an external supply chain which changes the power and cultural dynamics of their arrangement, which overtime, could be more than what they initially bargained for, becoming at worst a tool for cultural eradication and corporate subjugation. Another distinct example: foreign brain drain of talented people away from the rising tide empowerment of their local communities, it certainly achieves the external yardstick of increasing employee supply by targeting and succumbing diverse markets, but at what cost to holistic diversity?

Is this something anyone here is interested in? Perhaps I’ve just been unlucky. If anyone wishes to discuss this specifically further with me, anytime on https://balupton.com/meet works for me.

So far, this topic has been largely for organizing the calls. That’s a lot of thoughts, @balupton! Thank you for sharing.

We’re currently working on two things: identifying how a community shows that they’re interested in DEI work, and compiling resources of other work on diversity.

The agenda and the notes are not currently public, as we’ve been following Chatham House rules and I’m not sure how much should be put here. I’m going to bring this up in tomorrow’s meeting, however, to see what we can do about this - I really, really don’t want to be a gatekeeper, especially for this work.

For now, if PM me your email’s, Ben and Tiphaine, and I’ll be happy to add you to the event invite.

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Seems DMs are disabled for me. Email is b@lupton.cc

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Invited you! Sorry for the delay, hope you can make it.

Thanks Richard! Same for me, it seems that I cannot DM you. My email is tiphaine@ovio.org


Received two meeting invites so far, one was for 4am, and the next was for 3am, which is mid sleep cycle for me unfortunately.

Personally, I’d feel more comfortable with meetings that are transparent about their agenda. Chatham House rules was cited, however that is about protecting privacy of members by obfuscating attribution, facilitating the benefits of anonymous contribution despite members participating with known or suspected identities; of which the practice maintains the option of keeping a public record of what was and is to be discussed.

I’m not particularly sure of my own sustained value in contributing to the group, for the time concerns stated in my prior post. If anyone from the group wishes to reach out to me personally to discuss any of what I have contributed asynchronously, that I would be happy to facilitate.


I’m sorry that the times aren’t ideal. Happy to send out another poll to see if there is a better time - do you know, historically, what time works well for Australia and both US timezones, and Nigeria? I don’t know if there is a good solution, there.

Chatham House rule doesn’t mean no notes, you’re right. I’ll endeavor to ask someone to talk notes in the future to report back. For now, we’re actively working together on a GitHub repository that I’m happy to add you to, if you like.

Sorry about the logistical difficulties, here!

In the interest of pooling resources, I wanted to be sure this group knows about https://discourse.opensourcediversity.org

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