[UbuntuWomen] An idea on how to get women from the list involved

Tricia Bowen tricia.bowen at gmail.com
Wed Jan 16 17:30:38 UTC 2008

On Jan 15, 2008 10:39 AM, Sarah Hobbs <hobbsee at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> I would think this gets back to the "limited time" problem.  There is
> limited time for someone to spend on Ubuntu, and time for outreach would
> normally be spent improving the documentation, where you could see what
> needed to be done from reading the documentation.  MOTU, for eg, already
> does this to a degree, with the posts on planet ubuntu - do the women
> require a separate posting for this?  That being said, having people who
> mirror interesting opportunities from planet ubuntu to this mailing list
> might be useful.

True time spent improving the documentation should take a higher priority
than time spent on outreach of a small subset of individuals. After doing
quite a bit of drilling down from ubuntu.com, I can see that different
information is available to developers based on how you traveled down the
tree of links. Documenting all the various avenues that are available to
developers on an upper level page, like
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuDevelopers, would reduce some of the limited
variations that you see on the lower level pages.

> > It could be that you don't have to break into a group of men to commit
> to a
> > project, but as a newbie that's how I picture it. I'm sure that's how
> most
> > women see the process and shrug the shoulders in a "I don't have the
> time
> > for this." A job ad reduces that whole breaking down walls aspect and
> > transform you into a simple job applicant. If you get the job then you
> are
> > able to get involved and gain a better sense of how the internal process
> > works. Then maybe in turn you can carve out a job to bring another
> person on
> > board.
> I don't see it as you having to break into a group of men.  I see it as
> you having to break into a group of people.  Yes, this can be quite hard
> - - in the development community, for eg, you have to find people to
> sponsor your new packages, or your patches in, and the speed of this
> will depend, in part, on how good your work is.  I don't see it
> depending on who you are.

No, it's definitely breaking into a group of men because male members are
the majority or in most cases the only members. Having an androgenous alias
is probably the trouble free way to break in without having to prove as
much, but it defeats the purpose of getting women involved.

> My other problem with all of this is the idea that women need to be
> constantly driven by external things - like needing to be told what to
> work on.  This doesn't work - whether you're a male or a female.  At the
> end of the day, you have to have the motivation to do what you want to
> do, and be able to read and process information, else you'll never
> succeed in your chosen field.

This is a community dominated by X, to get Y to join/participate there has
to be some attempts on the part of X to attract/include/nurture Y to get Y
to join. If Y is successful at participating then Y can stay if Y chooses.

> That being said, having initial sessions figuring out what
> women/men/green aliens/ white people/ black people / brown people /
> purple people /etc would like to work on, and what resources they should
> look at to do so, and where to ask for help is very useful.

> Also, the whole "job" idea suggests that there is a figure at the top,
> giving out orders.  There isn't.  There are panels of people (and there
> is sabdfl) who make global decisions in their respective domains - but
> don't tell you what to do for day-to-day stuff (although there are
> written technical instructions about how to do things).  It appears that
> a lot of people, both male and female, believe this to be the case.  One
> of the very useful things ubuntu women could do is to expose this lie to
> new contributors, to ease the "culture shock" of contributing to free
> software.  Perhaps that is one of the keys - to ease the culture shock,
> so that people are unlikely to back away, and go "this is too hard for
> me.  I can't do this".

Maybe some pointers on how to find a bug on launchpad. How to go about
fixing one and submitting it for sponsorship/review/approval? Fixing a bug
could be considered doing a "Job" since there are specific requirements for
each bug.

> I haven't addressed the entire issue of harassment - it's been covered
> extensively already.  Yes, it sucks.  Yes, it should go away.
> Fortunately, some areas are better than others.

The harassment issue is probably always going to be a factor based on human
nature. Reducing the harassment level by labeling it as taboo within the
ubuntu all-inclusive community is probably the best that can be done.

> Hobbsee
> (the first female core dev, MOTU, etc)
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