Building a more Inclusive Open Source Community at Fedora.
(This blog is about the Fedora Diversity Team and what we were upto this Flock 2017 held at Cape Cod, USA)
Apart from the keynotes, hack fests and some delicious sea food at this Flock, Diversity Team had a session and decided to gain direction, move a little faster, break a few barriers and do some other amazing things. Writing it down here for people who weren’t there in the room with us.
Just telling. Written like this, are action items for us.
Adding to our Community
When we started out, to lift Diversity team from ground zero, we decided to start organizing Fedora Women day to start with. Having women contributors on our team made it easier to reach out to the community as well. Now that we have a grounding, we aim to target more groups that comprises of the diversity.
When we go around targeting more people to our community, there is something that we need to take care of. To truly make an impact, we need more people from that community to act as a link between Fedora and them. We don’t want to be like “Hey here is a celebration event for you by Fedora, come contribute.”
No. We will not do that. What we are desperately trying to do is actually recognise the unique barriers that each of the community in different geographic locations face.
We would like to ask them and know, what is it that we can do better at? What is that we can do differently so that it will be easier for you to contribute to our community?
We would want to establish communication routes that don’t just lead them to an isolate bubble, but to some place where their concerns are voiced and heard.
The other thing that we want to make sure when we go around asking people to join us, is to also make sure we have something substantial for them to contribute to.
Find communication *links* between different communities and us
Make sure we do not lead them to voids
The team feels that coming up with a structure/procedure for organizing an event which makes people feel they can do it too. If we smooth out major hassles like budget, swag, target audience, etc..we can definitely hope to have people saying “Hey, this looks easy to organize. I can do that too in my community”
But, but. The *structure* that we add to an event, also shouldn’t restrict the organizers from making changes that suit their community. We need a framework that is their for their convenience and open to refining.
On this, a council member present at the session was happy to add
“There is always more bandwidth and money for great ideas at Fedora”
Other thing. How do we decide that we want to go ahead with an event proposal by one of our ambassadors or a community member? Developing a set of questions to answer about the event which helps us analyse it’s impact, reach, budget and other logistics was something we talked about. So if someone needs out help, they need to show us how is that we can help them achieving that. A blog post link on the event page wiki is what we thought of. (This was discussed in further details in the session on Fedora ambassadors.)
Adding more events to our calendar
Coming up with a structure for our events, so that they are easier to organize by our ambassadors and other community members.
Collaborating with other events
While talking, it hit us. So why are we doing it all on our own again?
What we realised from our discussion at Flock is that we can leverage the existing communities to catalyse our efforts. Girls who Code, PyCon Girls, etc were some that we could think of that we definitely can work along with. This will help us expand our reach, and organize efforts in much lesser efforts and budget.
However when we collaborate, sizing the budgets will be something that the Diversity team will have to take calls on depending on the impact and the audience of the event.
Find existing local communities and collaborate with for our events
What we have out there.
Having an open session also helped us to recognize some of our unintentional errors as a team. The descriptions on our wiki page aren’t worded right at places. Though International Disability Day is a worldwide event, the contributors as well as the team felt the word disability comes across as very strong and often misleading. It is also rather broad, leading to an ineffective gathering of our audience. What we would rather like to do is to spear our efforts at a very specific community, taking time to understand their barriers and work with them to overcome them.
To revisit our wiki pages and update them to reflect our ongoing efforts more accurately.
Impact. Did we actually make some?
Another thing we would want to focus on in the upcoming events is how do we measure the impact that we are creating. We have badges for the events so far and we can maybe track the number of active FAS accounts after a certain time of an event, but we definitely see a scope of exploration here.
A simple self assessment here could be “Do I want to come back or do I want to organize this event? Why or why not”
Come up with metrics to measure the success of an event
Most of our efforts aim to have smooth boarding of new contributors to the different teams within Fedora. Amongst all this thoughts and ideas, something that also makes us wonder is, what does it mean to be a member of Fedora Diversity Team?
How do we define our roles and responsibilities? How do we add people to our team who share the same vision as us? Do we want them to be active Fedora users to join the team? (The answer to this was decided to be no, as the person writing this blog wasn’t one either when she started!)
In the coming days, we will also be looking to decide upon a member of our team to hold the position of Diversity Team Representative for the Fedora Council.
Defining a process to onboard members to the Diversity Team
Choosing a Diversity Team Representative
That was almost all about what we discussed at Flock this year. If some of these discussions interest you or you think you can help us execute some of the action plans we got here (or add more to that list), do drop by and say Hello! We are a bunch of nice people, I assure you.
IRC Channel: #fedora-diversity
Mailing List: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wiki Page: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Diversity