DevConf.cz featured many great talks and a fantastic hallway track. It also hosted the Fedora Activity Day for the Fedora Diversity team. The FAD spanned three days of working on ways we can learn more about our community, encourage greater diversity and more. This team has a high level of overlap with Marketing, CommOps, and the Magazine so we didn’t restrict ourselves to thinking about just diversity issues. More will be forthcoming as the team does its final outbound reporting, but I wanted to share some of my observations as a someone privileged to get to work with this amazing group of people.
My role as the FCAIC (Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator) resulted in my invite to this event. An aggressive agenda was set and I think we made a lot of progress in preparing things for the community. Obviously, no final decisions were taken during the FAD, but we were able to leverage the face to face time to work through discussions that would have been lengthy and possibly impossible to complete via other methods. I’ll call out only a few below.
Fedora is a large and diverse community. As far as we can tell we have representatives from every group of people you can imagine. Unfortunately, we don’t actually know for sure. Therefore the Diversity team has agreed to undertake a Contributor Survey on behalf of the entire Fedora Project. The goal is to understand the membership of our community more and to collect data that answers questions like:
- Are there pockets of people we can energize to help us further our progress on objectives and missions in ways we don’t realize?
- How do we compare to other communities?
- Are there changes we should consider to better serve our community, for example, providing information for localization efforts
The questions are not finalized and will still undergo more review, but I am excited to see this data. As a community person working with Fedora, I know this data will help me do my job in a better way and make refining my quarterly goals much easier.
Open Source communities, like the Fedora community, are representations of the collective values of everyone involved and the values and goals of the affiliated project. We had some great discussions about ways to help our community continue to emphasize the goodness of our values and continue to spread that message. Again, details will be forthcoming, but I am excited about the ideas around a planned “Fedora Appreciation Week.” This week long celebration will publicize what makes the Fedora community uniquely special. I also like the cool new ways being considered for how to thank community members and show appreciation for the hard work we all do.
We’ve also decided to do some research on how other communities work on the related issues of participation and managing situations that go wrong. We know that all communities experience these issues, and in the spirit of Open Source we should study what others have done and adopt and adapt these existing ideas. Our technology is built on the shoulders of the giants who came before us and our community practices should be built the same way.
Engineering Alone Can’t Change the World
For me, as an engineer, moving into a community supporting role has not been without challenges. Knowing that I can draw on the resources of our many non-engineering focused teams to help me is a huge relief.
History has shown us that not background, culture, experience level, or any other factor predicts where the next good idea will come from. I hope everyone who reads this will look “across the aisle” from their regular area of contribution and try working on something new, interesting, and perhaps unfamiliar. Fresh eyes are critical to all endeavors and greater collaboration in all areas of the Fedora Project will make us even more successful.