[Linux-aus] The Ada Initiative Q&A: some A this time
mary at adainitiative.org
Wed Mar 30 19:40:04 EST 2011
Sorry this has been a long time coming!
On Sun, Feb 27, 2011, Silvia Pfeiffer wrote:
> * what motivated you to create the AI?
There wasn't one single thing. Valerie Aurora and I have been working together
for years on women in open source and similar areas, in particular when we were
both key LinuxChix volunteers in around 2006 and 2007 and later in the Geek
Feminism community from 2009 onwards. And we've talked about paid activism and
advocacy all that time, very occasionally.
A few things have come together now:
- there was a lot of interest in women in open source and open technology
from 2009 onwards (Kirrily Robert gave something like 4 keynotes in a year
in the USA on the topic), especially on projects and communities that *do*
have a lot of women (eg Dreamwidth and an Archive of Our Own)
- Valerie and I both happen to be in a career place where we are able to
transition to running the Ada Initiative (she decided to move on from
kernel hacking, and I am about to finish a PhD)
> * what concrete activities are you considering in your first year?
This list isn't comprehensive, but a couple of things that are in planning
phase now are:
- what we're calling First Patch Week, intensive mentoring periods for women
to learn the submission pathways into open source development. It's
modelled to a degree on the Patch Pilot process, which I think Martin Pool
first developed for Bazaar, the idea being to mentor women through a
complete code submission life cycle, from writing a patch to discussing it,
having it reviewed and it being merged
- producing a package of documentation and policies around conferences and
communities that events and communities can use and edit, particularly
around harassment and discrimination (I'm aware of course that our
anti-harassment work is controversial on this list, we still think it's
important). In general we intend to produce public Creative Commons
resources for communities to use.
Throughout the Ada Initiative's lifetime we plan to offer free consulting to
open tech and culture groups on gender diversity and women's participation
issues too. If this becomes over-subscribed we will probably do some kind of
See below about research too.
> * what are you in particular trying to do in Australia?
At this stage our plans aren't tied to specific locations except that with one
directory in each of Australia and the USA, it will be easier to work,
especially in our first year, in both of those venues.
But we don't yet have partner organisations or projects in Australia.
> * are you going to do statistics and questionnaires, too, or are you
> relying on other people's analysis/research work to identify
> opportunities to make a difference?
Since you asked this, we've run one small questionnaire already, although it
was more to identify "targets of opportunity" (that is, communities where
there is a lot of interest in women's participation) than to gather data. That
was at http://adainitiative.org/projects/census/
We do intend to do more direct research: there is a lot of research on women
in computing but not a lot on this space in particularly (it's not totally
absent of course, see
the best biography I know of for open source, a bit out of date now). Some
additional more involved research is in the planning stage now.
> * what concretely are you intending to do for this community?
For Linux Australia as opposed to Australia generally? Right now, primarily
revise our conference policy package in response to the linux-aus and lca chat
threads, which comprise most of the volume of feedback it has had so far. I'd
be interested in additional input on what we can do for groups like Linux
Australia; because it's a representative body rather than a creative community
(ie, Linux Australia doesn't produce a project in the way that say, the
Wikipedia project does, or the kernel community or etc) it has different
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