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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: Encouraging Diversity - Update 1
Date Thu, 09 Jun 2016 18:22:37 GMT

On 06/08/2016 05:09 AM, Sharan Foga wrote:
> Hi Everyone
> Thanks very much for the feedback. I think this topic has a lot of
> dimensions and it depends how far we want to go with it, and simple is
> always a good place to start.
> I'm still in the process of gathering feedback, from IT Womens Groups,
> Female Students and Developers to try to understand how and where we
> could communicate to them and promote the ASF as welcoming place to be.

This is probably the *best* idea. Initial outreach and getting on board 
with specific details in the new Help Wanted area are what is needed in 
my opinion. The ASF has SO many projects! We need to do what we can to 
ensure that desires to participate in open source by women, by anyone 
really, is tailored to the individual's skills to produce a successful 

> (As an example one idea that came in from the Pyladies group is that
> each of our projects that use python could write an article or blog post
> about themselves. Pyladies could then use that article or blog post as a
> way to promote the ASF project to their members...)


> On the existing statistics side, I'm currently working with Sally to put
> forward a proposal for draft survey that we could use to survey our
> members or committers. As you say we wont know how representative it
> would be but we would have some concrete figures that we could use as a
> base. I think that with this survey proposal we are trying to do
> something new and as well as the statistics, another main purpose is to
> see if this process of collecting information works and if it does, then
> could it be something that any of our projects could repeat if they
> wanted to.
> I'll continue to work on this and post any updates.
> Thanks
> Sharan
> On 31/05/16 17:59, William A Rowe Jr wrote:
>> On Mon, May 30, 2016 at 10:42 AM, Ted Dunning <>
>> 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


"Time spent with cats is never wasted."
                    -- Sigmund Freud

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