KEYNOTE with Preston So: The Do-ocracy Dilemma and Compassionate Contribution

KEYNOTE with Preston So: The Do-ocracy Dilemma and Compassionate Contribution

This year's keynote speaker is Preston So. Read more about him in our keynote announcement post.

How well do you know the people who contribute to your open-source project? Who are they, what are their personal struggles, and what impacts their ability to contribute meaningfully? Are you fostering an environment where your contributors feel welcome enough to keep coming back to donate more of their time?

One of the tenets of open source, and particularly the Drupal community, is the idea of a do-ocracy. "If you want it, make it happen." But what are the implications of such a meritocratic mindset when we are hidden behind anonymous handles, dry lists of contributions, and opaque dual monitors? Who exactly sits behind that GitHub avatar, profile, or npm account?

In recent years, we've shifted away from mere pontificating about diversity to a more meaningful discussion of inclusion, intersectionality, and intentionality. Intersectionality theory, conceived by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and deeply rooted in black feminism, posits that members of multiple marginalized groups suffer oppression that is entirely unique compared to that of someone who is a member of only one of those groups — or none of them.

Nowadays, intersectionality is key to understanding the experiences of marginalized groups. And as issues of #MeToo and inclusion come to a head in our industry and our line of work, we need to consider these ideas more intentionally than ever.

* Why do we expect all contributors to have the means to create pull requests and write patches, even if they are of limited means, endure certain kinds of oppression, or suffer from institutional or structural issues we may be unaware of? * What happens when these identities conflict in explosive ways? How do we address the obvious issues of contributor criticism, impostor syndrome, and open-source burnout in a more inclusive way? * How can a more compassionate approach help you to be a better open-source citizen and more inclusive in how you approach others?

Drawing from my and others' personal experiences, I'll dive into why a more compassionate approach to contribution is so critical when it comes to managing open-source projects, crafting conference lineups, enabling a successful team, and building a winning business. We'll talk about how these ideas can drive the best open-source communities — and your own success.