Linux: Sarah Sharp defines what makes a good community

In today's open source roundup: Sarah Sharp shares her thoughts about what makes a good community. Plus: Norbert Preining examines Sarah Sharp's crusade. And Linux redditors share their thoughts about the Sarah Sharp controversy


Sarah Sharp on what makes a good community

Sarah Sharp has caused quite a stir in the open source community, and some have deemed her a Social Justice Warrior. Now she's posted a detailed road map that spells out in great detail what she thinks is needed to build a good community.

Sarah Sharp reports from her blog:

There’s been a lot of discussion in my comment sections (and on LWN) about what makes a good community, along with suggestions of welcoming open source communities to check out. Your hearts are in the right place, but I’ve never found an open source community that doesn’t need improvement. I’m quite happy to give the Xorg community a chance, mostly because I believe they’re starting from the right place for cultural change.

The thing is, reaching the goal of a diverse community is a step-by-step process. There are no shortcuts. Each step has to be complete before the next level of cultural change is effective. It’s also worth noting that each step along the way benefits all community members, not just diverse contributors.

In order to attract diverse candidates, you need to be known as a welcoming community, with a clear set of agreed-upon social norms. It’s not good enough to have a code of conduct. Your leaders need to be actively behind it, and it needs to be enforced.

The thing that frustrates me the most is when communities skip steps. “Hey, we have a code of conduct and child care, but known harassers are allowed at our conferences!” “We want to participate in a diversity program, but we don’t have any mentors and we have no idea what the contributor would work on long term!” So, get your basic cultural changes done first, please.

More at The Geekess

Norbert Preining on Sarah Sharp's crusade

Meanwhile over on the There and Back Again blog, Norbert Preining has some passionate thoughts of his own about what he calls "Sarah Sharp's crusade."

Norbert Preining reports on the There and Back Again blog:

Everyone is free to have his own opinion (sorry, his/her), and I am free to form my own opinion on Sarah Sharp by just simply reading the facts. I am more than happy that one more SJW has left Linux development, as the proliferation of cleaning of speech from any personality has taken too far a grip.

Coming to my home-base in Debian, unfortunately there is no one in the position and the state of mind of Linus, so we are suffering the same stupidities imposed by social justice worriers and some brainless feminists (no, don’t get me wrong, these are two independent attributes. I do NOT state that feminism is brainless) that Linus and the maintainer crew was able to fend of – this time.

The last point by Linus is what I criticize most on Debian nowdays, it has become a sterilized over-governed entity, where most fun is gone. Making fun is practically forbidden, since there is the slight chance that some minority somewhere on this planet might feel hurt, and by this we are breaking the CoC. Emotions are restricted to the “Happy happy how nice we are and how good we are” level of US and also Japanese self-reenforcement society.

I just read Sarah Sharp’s post on “What makes a good community?“, and without giving a full account or review, I am just pi**ed by the usage of the word “microaggressions” – I can only recommend everyone to read this article and this article to get a feeling how bs the idea of microaggressions has taken over academia – and obviously not only academia.

More at There and Back Again

Linux redditors share their thoughts about the Sarah Sharp controversy

The blog post by Norbert Preining spawned a thread on the Linux subreddit, and the redditors there weren't shy about sharing their opinions about the big Sarah Sharp brouhaha:

Mencant: ”It's been out in the open all along for everybody to read on the LKML archives. Sarah Sharp has always been the shitstirrer.

The only logical way any person can side with her is that you only read her blog and not what actually happened on LKML (which was nothing but friendly jokes between Greg, Ingo, and Linus until Sarah showed up and dropped the first F-bomb).”

Hesterbest: ”Really, is this what Sarah was upset about? This is what pushed her over the edge?”

Tany2001: ”She is upset about the way Linus talks to the maintainers. But it really is ridiculous that she ignited because of a small innocent joke.”

Dingdong: ”That has to be the biggest overreaction I have seen in a long time.”

Bunandfun: ”It's almost as if Sarah is talking about her own behavior. For starters the was no "incident" that kicked off Sarah's complaints. As we can see from the OP it was a couple of friends joking around with each other.

It was Sarah who jumped in and started tossing accusations around. No one was harassing anyone until she went on the attack.

So to recap. There was no harassment/abuse it was jokes between project maintainers. Sarah decides to tone police the maintainers and ultimately brings a bunch of outside non-developers to the conversation to pressure Linus and the community to change behavior that doesn't exist in the first place or at least is being represented dishonestly by out of context quotes or in many cases no citations or quotes at all.”

Wsgeorge: ”I, for one don't see myself working on the Linux kernel because I just couldn't take the heat. So I'll do something which makes me more comfortable and be glad there are those who can work where I can't.”

RagingAnemone: ”...people also don't realize the toxic side of "professionalism". Maybe don't realize is not quite right, but some people are mor comfortable with the downsides of professionalism vs the downsides of blunt honesty with swearing. At least with Linus he won't subvert you or stab you in the back. It's truly a cultural thing.

One of the worst projects I had was where everyone was too polite to mention the bad things. Don't know why that culture exist too. There wasn't any one person that drove it that way, but somehow it happened. We couldn't talk honestly about the state of the software. ”

Emanuel: ”Sharp asked for a "communication that is technically brutal but personally respectful", and to me it seems a totally reasonable thing to do.”

Jensreuter: ”This always tend to happen - if women criticize the boy-men come rushing in trying to discredit any criticism by swamping the topic with hit-posts to discredit anyone against them. I mean some of the most ardent critics of Sarah Sharpe in this thread doesn't seem to grasp what she does or did do.

Debating is meaningless since even when they are disproven over and over, they will repeat the same lie again and again and demand to be disproven over and over. So just ignore it is the best method it seems.”

Bunandfun: ”Does calling people who disagree with you "boy-men" help the discourse of this debate? On one side we have people with very valid questions regarding the validity of Sarah's accusations. These people are being civil, linking to her actual comments and pointing out a lack of the claimed abuse.

On the other hand we have Sarah converting dissenting comments to "fart, fart, fart" and people like you calling anyone who disagrees boy-men.

Men can disagree with women, it has nothing to do with sexism or misogyny. Many women realize this, apparently some don't.”

More at Reddit

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