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From William A Rowe Jr <wr...@rowe-clan.net>
Subject Re: Encouraging Diversity - Update 1
Date Tue, 31 May 2016 15:59:57 GMT
On Mon, May 30, 2016 at 10:42 AM, Ted Dunning <ted.dunning@gmail.com> wrote:

> Sharan,
>
> One possible explanation of an under-representation problem (assuming we
> have one ... you point out rightly that we should measure first) is that
> *other* factors have given the impression that open source communities are
> unfriendly.
>

I'm not sure 'unfriendly' is the label we are most worried about. We've
heard
from a number of female ASF members that their gender has not had a very
significant impact on their personal participation. YMMV, and obviously we
had heard of other very serious issues, not that these reflected as much on
the organization, but behavior of individuals in conjunction with the
organization.

The under-representation issue -is- rooted in the origin story and formation
of the foundation. I don't claim (I doubt anyone would) that the
self-selection
of some 40 all-male Foundation Members (after the inception - through the
year 1 members nominations) had any malice, or ill intent, or even
exclusion.
This reflected that in these first 3 projects of the foundation, the
participants
were overwhelmingly male, and nominations were based on their contributions.

These were very small communities and reflected those who reached out
to mailing lists with specific needs and concerns about these few projects.
They engaged, and eventually contributed back to those projects in some
not-so-small measure. The fact that they were largely fraternal (both coding
and socially speaking, and was the tone of the mailing lists) and had *very
small sample size* of those hackers who were working in only a few specific
technology spaces suggests this result is not surprising, and doesn't
suggest
active exclusion.

Rolling forward to today, we now cover a large number of technology spaces
with around 200 different projects, and enjoy the contributions of many
thousands of contributors. Some 400+ of these contributors are recognized
as foundation members. We can break down our challenges in a couple of
dimensions...

1. Is the foundation membership representative of the committers as a whole?

Since this is a tough nut to crack, let's look at simpler questions...

2. Are there some projects underrepresented by the foundation membership?

3. Are there some projects with a much more diverse contributor base than
   others?

4. Of the more diverse projects, what are the social and technological bits
   that those communities are doing right (or what did they simply stumble
   into for a more appealing space to a more diverse group of contributors?)

5. What are the obstacles to including more contributors on the committer
   lists and PMC rosters of our projects?

6. What are the obstacles to identifying the committer/PMC members of
   underrepresented projects to the foundation membership for inclusion?

Few of these questions really speak to gender bias per se, and have been
active concerns of many members over the past 17 years. I think exploring
all of these questions with additional data collection about diversity
(gender,
geographic, etc) is always a worthwhile pursuit.

Cheers,

Bill

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