[OpenStack Foundation] [Women-of-openstack] [OpenStack][Women of OpenStack] Kick-off Meeting Info

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Fri Sep 4 17:00:47 UTC 2015

On 2015-09-03 19:31:51 -0700 (-0700), APlimpton wrote:
> As I stated earlier "To be clear that doesn't mean we are
> discarding the current tools or impeding communication, indeed
> part of the conversation was devoted to how to help people move
> past technical barriers to using the most popular OpenStack tools
> (IRC, Gerrit etc)."

I read what you wrote, it just seems at odds with the choice to use
conference calls for a weekly meeting if the goal is to increase
interaction with the wider community (or at best, it's an ironic

> We seem to be in agreement that more can and should be done to
> help with tool adoption.

I've not really seen evidence that we have a problem with getting
the existing OpenStack community to adopt these tools (in fact they
already have), but rather that some new members have challenges
assimilating because these tools are foreign to them and, indeed,
probably foreign to anyone who hasn't been steeped in and
interacting with free software communities for years. A lack of
familiarity doesn't imply the tools are suboptimal, just that the
needs of this sort of community are better met by tools which may
not be popular in the mainstream because they don't meet the needs
of the average business or recreational computer user.

> We should build on that common goal of reducing the technical
> friction. Increased visibility of the Upstream Training is a great
> idea. I also think there could be updating of content around
> getting set up with OpenStack tools that would greatly benefit
> everyone. While you phrased it as "fear of new tools", most new
> people I've worked mainly exhibit frustration and annoyance at how
> difficult setup is compared to more modern options and do not
> enjoy the limitations of the system.

This is of course extremely subjective; what some see as limitation
others see as liberation. People are free to try to communicate with
the rest of the OpenStack community in any way they wish, but should
not be surprised that they have trouble integrating if they decide
to rely on communication mechanisms used only by a small subset...
they're trading one frustration for another.

> Making setup easier and educating them on the value of using an
> older system I suspect would help lessen their dissatisfaction.

It's probably a little misleading to paint these as "older systems"
(implying obsolescence). I would consider them "established, tried
and true, known-working" but again that's all a matter of

> I think our two groups should partner on setting and delivering
> small, specific goals that would benefit the community and in
> particular assist with the on-boarding and retention of new
> OpenStack members -- particularly the ones who are in the minority
> demographics.

Absolutely, starting by identifying actionable problems is most
likely to gain traction. Vague "what's all this ugly old stuff, why
can't I just twitterface it to my OpenStack friendwall" sorts of
complaints may be easy to come by but ultimately won't lead anywhere
useful. There are some good pros/cons (specific to the meetings on
IRC discussion) listed in the meeting etherpad from Wednesday:


Unfortunately the only detail about the problem there is that IRC is
"less connected, interactive" and I don't even know what it's
supposed to mean (opinion perhaps? others happen to feel that IRC is
highly connected and extremely interactive). Specifics, please. This
is where a log of the meeting itself might have been more helpful.

> We disagree that the Women of OpenStack group should clearly
> define the other barriers with the tools, particularly IRC, and
> see what can be done to remove them -- up to and including
> investigating other tools. If I understand what you are saying,
> you see our attempt to identify and ameliorate those pain points
> as absolutely leading to "a push to alternative tools and
> communication channels will only serve to alienate already
> marginalized groups within our community, further dividing us."
> The women of OpenStack are part of the marginalized groups within
> the community and this team is seeking ways to bridge those gaps
> not widen them. There is no intent to push alternatives into the
> community.

This misses my concern, which has nothing to do with pushing
different modes of communication into the community. The community
is already communicating, but by choosing to not hold conversations
where the vast majority of OpenStack currently participate, those
subgroups silo themselves into islands or walled gardens and become
separate communities from OpenStack.

> However there is an interest in knowing what tools might better
> suit our diverse needs and communication styles. As you mentioned
> there is "a long-standing tradition evolved through decades of
> trial and error" about the best tools. It is very likely that the
> current tools will stand up to the scrutiny of what works best,
> but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at options, examine what
> works and what could work better in order to ensure that we are
> using the best tools and processes to be inclusive and welcoming
> to minorities in order to move them from being marginalized to
> being integrated.

Experimentation is great, but integration comes through
participating with everyone else. I'm not worried that we've
made/will make poor choices as to what tools to use or abandon. I'm
worried that very important conversations, weekly meetings, are
occurring in isolation for reasons of convenience and so damaging
the integration of the groups they're trying to help. Inconvenience
is a price we all pay to be able to interact as a community of

> I look forward to the great things our two groups can do together.

As do I. If you can assemble a short list of specific challenges
around our tools and/or documentation, we can get some solution
brainstorming going in an upcoming Infra meeting and hopefully come
away with a bit more direction:


Jeremy Stanley

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