FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Deb Nicholson & Mike McQuaid

Another year, another fabulous FOSDEM. This year, I had the honor of once again co-chairing the Community DevRoom with Laura Czjakowski. We welcomed 16 fantastic speakers on topics ranging from open source in government to technical writing for non-writers. We had a packed room all day, despite having a room more than twice the size as last year, plus queues down the stairs of folks waiting for seats.

We’re looking forward to applying to run the room again next year, and we’re looking at having it run for two days instead of just one. Stay tuned for more details ’round about November!

For those of you who missed the talks live or on the livestream, Laura and I are doing some follow up posts on each talk to bring you the video and the highlights of each presentation. Before you read this post, you might want to check out Deb Nicholson and Mike McQuaid’s pre-event speaker interviews.

Deb Nicholson

A Bug in Your Ear: Patching the People Side

A few highlights from Deb’s talk:

  • Calling in: have private chats to help people learn why their actions are considered harmful
  • Assume good intentions and plant a seed for better choices in the future when calling in
  • Share project lore widely to communicate shared norms for acceptable behavior

When I asked Deb if there was anything in particular she’d like to see shared about her talk, she dropped this gem on me:

“Just make sure that people know they aren’t obligated to do this work just because they can.”

In other words, if you have great social skills, it’s not always your job to be the one handling the social side of project affairs. It’s a community, after all, and everyone is responsible for patching the people side.

Deb has also shared the slides from her talk. I highly recommend following her on Twitter, too: @baconandcoconut

Mike McQuaid

Why People Don’t Contribute to Your Open Source Project

Mike made a number of good points in his talk, but I think my favorite was that most maintainers are talked into doing it. If you’re a great contributor to a project, it is unsurprising that its maintainers will invite you to contribute more widely. During his presentation, Mike also shared the maintainer guidelines for Homebrew, which are a great example of how to make sure that the work done by your maintainers can be undertaken by other folks successfully. Avoiding burnout ++

I asked Mike about the most important part to share about his talk, and he said the Contributor Funnel section would likely be the most useful for the audience.


Source: Mike McQuaid – “Why People Don’t Contribute to Your Open Source Project”

Mike starts discussing the Contributor Funnel at 8:10 in the video. (Or you can just jump there directly.)

Mike has shared his slides, too, and you should also check out his Twitter feed: @mikemcquaid.

What’s Next

Our next recap post will focus on talks from Brian Proffitt and Jeremy Garcia. Stay tuned to this blog for that post, and then to Laura’s for the presentation from Simon Phipps and Rich Sands.

If you’re reading through these recaps, chances are quite good that you’re a fan of community building, developer relations work, FOSDEM or all three. If you’re interested in helping out with the Community DevRoom next year, please do get in touch!


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1 Response to FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Deb Nicholson & Mike McQuaid

  1. Pingback: FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Brian Proffitt & Jeremy Garcia | Hawthorn Landings

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