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From Noah Slater <>
Subject Re: CouchDB referrals?
Date Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:15:25 GMT
Yes, the FLOSSPOLS focus on binary genders is very disappointing.
Hopefully they received enough feedback about that to do better if
they do another follow-up.

In general, the state of analysis into OSS communities is very poor. I
actually have a post maybe planned to cover this.

And yep, sure, I can share my research with you, sure. Nudge me about
it in a week or so when things aren't so hectic. :)

On 8 July 2014 20:04, Lena Reinhard <> wrote:
> I entirely agree with you. In my experience, people definitely acknowledge when projects
are communicating openly that they care for diversity *and* feel like the community could
be a safe space for them (not necessarily a correlation, though).
> I also think that a main part of the diversity problem in OS is that many marginalised
people do not have the opportunities to contribute due to lack of spare time, care work, too
little income to compensate for volunteer work etc., thus I'd also appreciate thoughts on
grants in the longterm.
> By the way: I'm very interested in your sources for the 11% number (especially as the
1.5% from FLOSS survey was only the number of women, afaik, and I still haven't found any
numbers for LGBTTIQ* people).
> On 08.07.2014, at 18:39, Noah Slater <> wrote:
>> I've been looking at diversity figures as part of my research for an
>> article I'm writing.
>> One of the things that really stood out to me is that if you look at
>> the diversity figure in OSS projects, they've increased from around
>> 1.5% to around 11% over the space of 7 years. In that same time, the
>> increase in speaker diversity is almost double that.
>> There could be lost of reasons for this. (Unfortunately, the state of
>> survey data is very poor.) But one of my theories is that conferences
>> are actually doing active outreach.
>> So my idea is this: OSS projects should be doing active outreach.
>> Communicating to people that this is a project with a diversity
>> statement, a CoC, etc, and that we're looking for diverse
>> contributions!
>> Lena is right about conditions not being good for some people. And for
>> that, we might actually want to start thinking about offering grants
>> for some people to contribute. But that's a separate idea that we can
>> talk about later.
>> Anyway, this referrals thing might be good for this. A way for people
>> to recommend diverse contributors to us, and we can do active
>> outreach. What do you think?
>> On 10 June 2014 14:42, Andy Wenk <> wrote:
>>> Marketing hat: Noah, I like the additional idea you have. If a an advocate
>>> refers to a person who would be a good contributor and the person is
>>> finally contributing to CouchDB, the advocate will earn points. This
>>> would force the advocate to sieve persons willing to really contribute and
>>> not just refer to random persons.
>>> I think the tool is usable very nicely if used in a good way.
>>> Cheers
>>> Andy
>>> On 9 June 2014 20:19, Lena Reinhard <> wrote:
>>>> Marketing hat: keeping barriers for rewards low (e.g. already rewarding
>>>> contributions of non-elected ppl) sounds good, also adding more points if
>>>> the person is elected. From this point of view, I can also agree to seeing
>>>> time and attention as a sort of currency.
>>>> Community Management hat: although I agree that inviting people personally
>>>> to speak at confs helps, I think that the analogy of speaker invitations
>>>> for increasing diversity is only applicable in parts here.
>>>> In this case, marginalized people may still be only able to be advocates
>>>> (as it's less effort than the actual "contribution"). So even if this
>>>> referral option may lead to a more diverse group being able to make
>>>> referrals, the people referred still have to be people with enough time and
>>>> attention span etc. to contribute freely, especially for then being elected
>>>> (-> and bringing the referring person more points). Thus, from this
>>>> perspective, it's a good idea for increasing the number of referrals. But
>>>> it may be hard or not that effective in terms of increasing diversity.
>>>> Still, I think that it would be worth a trial to see how this goes - and
>>>> perhaps also to think about how this can be an opportunity to build a
>>>> reward system for less privileged people (as there are few to none in OSS
>>>> structures at the moment). I know that this is a hard one, but when we're
>>>> talking about openness and aiming for diversity, I see this as one of the
>>>> core problems (to which I don't know a solution yet myself, but which
>>>> doesn't mean that there is none).
>>>> On 09.06.2014, at 15:58, Noah Slater <> wrote:
>>>>> I have another idea to float:
>>>>> Advocates have the opportunity to refer a designer, author, marketing
>>>>> person, dev, etc. We personally reach out to them with a tailored
>>>>> email invitation. (We'd pre-write a few of these, one for each area of
>>>>> the project.) The email would outline what we do, and then go into a
>>>>> few details about the a certain area of contribution, with pointers to
>>>>> resources for getting started, etc.
>>>>> If the person starts contributing, the person who referred them is
>>>>> awarded with points. If we eventually elect that person, the person
>>>>> who referred them gets more points. (I believe this is directly
>>>>> analogous to how client referrals typically work on the platform.)
>>>>> Contributions are the capital of OSS. People's time and attention is
>>>>> our most important resource.
>>>>> So here's the analogy:
>>>>> Traditional referrals program:
>>>>> - Advocates refer individuals who "convert" by paying (contributing)
>>>> money.
>>>>> OSS referrals program:
>>>>> - Advocates refer individuals who "convert" by paying (contributing)
>>>> time.
>>>>> I don't think many people explicitly think about OSS in these terms.
>>>>> But when you do, a lot of things become clear. For example:
>>>>> recruitment should be your number one priority! Recruitment is your
>>>>> sales channel, effectively.
>>>>> "Sales channel" makes sense if you see time and attention as a sort of
>>>> currency.
>>>>> Most people think that the measure of health for an OSS project is how
>>>>> many downloads you have, or how many users you have. That's because in
>>>>> a business, these things translate to revenue. And revenue is your
>>>>> lifeblood
>>>>> But if time and attention are the capital of OSS, then contributions
>>>>> are your lifeblood. And it seems likely that traditional business
>>>>> practices used to maximise revenue might be applicable to maximising
>>>>> contribution.
>>>>> If we did something like this, would we be the first OSS project to
>>>>> actively reach out to people to invite them to contribute?
>>>>> Inviting speakers (usually from pools) is a very effective way of
>>>>> increasing speaker diversity at a conference. (Citations available
>>>>> upon request.) Perhaps invitation is one of the ways we can increase
>>>>> our project diversity?
>>>>> On 6 June 2014 18:47, Jan Lehnardt <> wrote:
>>>>>> just to note that I’d be equally happy with disabling it.
>>>>>> On 06 Jun 2014, at 17:49 , Joan Touzet <> wrote:
>>>>>>> Sounds like an impedance mismatch. Disable the functionality.
>>>>>>> It'd be nice to know how people get to our community, and it's
>>>>>>> to have a consultancy network, but this really sounds more like
>>>>>>> support function for channel partnerships and revenue recognition
>>>>>>> "virtual finders fees" as it were. Not sure if we need that.
>>>>>>> -Joan
>>>>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>>>>> From: "Noah Slater" <>
>>>>>>> To: "Noah Slater" <>
>>>>>>> Cc:, "Benoit Chesneau" <
>>>>>, "Dave Cottlehuber" <>, "Jan
L" <
>>>>>>> Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 8:11:00 AM
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: CouchDB referrals?
>>>>>>> I am particularly interested in the opinions of:
>>>>>>> - PMC members (from a governance perspective)
>>>>>>> - Marketing people (from a recruitment/community perspective)
>>>>>>> - People who offer CouchDB consulting (Jan, Dave, Benoit, etc.)
>>>>>>> On 4 June 2014 15:57, Noah Slater <>
>>>>>>>> Hello folks,
>>>>>>>> The Influitive AdvocateHub has a primary concept of a referral.
In the
>>>>>>>> context of a business, a referral is when an advocate refers
a contact
>>>>>>>> to the business. Obviously, this is very valuable for B2B
>>>>>>>> that are looking for clients.
>>>>>>>> CouchDB is not a B2B business, and so I'm not sure this particular
>>>>>>>> part of the AdvocateHub fits our use case.
>>>>>>>> We can turn it off. But before we do, I wanted to explore
some other
>>>>>>>> options. What could referrals mean for us, as a community?
>>>>>>>> Some ideas:
>>>>>>>> - A referral is just an advocate recommending CouchDB to
a friend or
>>>>>>>> colleague. In this scenario, who does the referral contact?
Do we put
>>>>>>>> them in touch with a mailing list (seems a little odd), a
>>>>>>>> person, or particular persons?
>>>>>>>> - A referral is more about contributors than it is about
users. So the
>>>>>>>> advocate would be referring a contributor to the CouchDB
>>>>>>>> Perhaps a designer, a marketing person, a video blogger,
a technical
>>>>>>>> author, or whatever. People we find hard to recruit normally.
>>>>>>>> (Remember that recruitment is our #1 biggest challenge.)
>>>>>>>> - A referral is a business referral. We set up a list for
people who
>>>>>>>> offer CouchDB services. A referral puts the a person in contact
>>>>>>>> this list of people. So tenders can be made individually
by whomever
>>>>>>>> is interested in the business.
>>>>>>>> Thoughts?
>>>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> Noah Slater
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> Noah Slater
>>>>> --
>>>>> Noah Slater
>>> --
>>> Andy Wenk
>>> Hamburg - Germany
>>> RockIt!
>>> GPG fingerprint: C044 8322 9E12 1483 4FEC 9452 B65D 6BE3 9ED3 9588
>> --
>> Noah Slater

Noah Slater

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