Mark Smith's Journal

Work related musings of a geek.

Tech confidence vs. tech competence

[staff profile] mark

One of our volunteers, [personal profile] kaberett, published an article today.

It's a really great post that captures one of the things that I really think is crucial to Dreamwidth's success as a project (and business), and it's the idea that anybody can contribute, everybody is valuable, and yes -- mistakes can and do happen and it's OK.

To pull out a bit from the article that really resonates with me:

[I]nstead, we work towards fostering tech confidence, through creating a culture where babydevs know that senior devs have their backs; a culture where people feel able to ask questions of the broader community, in public as well as in private; a culture where people learn how to test and debug and Not Give Up; a culture where our co-founders own their mistakes, and do so publicly, so that nobody has to feel alone. When people get discouraged, we give them pep talks. We remind people that it's okay to learn visibly, instead of having to pretend to be entirely competent all of the time. Everyone can learn from the mistake that anyone makes – and mistakes are caught soon after they happen, so consequences can be minimised.

Yup. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Contributing to Dreamwidth isn't about how much you bring to the table when you get here. We don't care how much experience you have or what your resume says or if you even have one. The fact that you're here and that you want to contribute? That's all you need. The rest can be learned.

08.07.2013 11:13 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kaberett
Question: I am thinking about trying to turn this into a talk. Thoughts on whether it might fly as a proposal? (In general - I haven't got anywhere in particular for submission in mind yet.)

(And, seriously, thank you so much - I am kind of in slightly flappy tears about how much it means to me that y'all think I'm doing you justice here, and that anyone else thinks it is a useful articulation of the concept.)
08.07.2013 11:48 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
Posted by [personal profile] jjhunter
I thought it was all kinds of brilliant myself, fyi.

(And I count myself very much in the category of babydev working her jaws experimentally every time you do one of those bait posts, wondering if this will be the time I'll bite.)
09.07.2013 03:43 am (UTC)

(no subject)

denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Posted by [staff profile] denise
I think it would be a great talk proposal! The confidence vs competence divide is something I haven't really heard articulated in exactly that kind of way before, and it's one of those "oh, of COURSE!" things once you hear it :)

(LCA extended their deadline if you want to possibly go to Perth...)
09.07.2013 02:39 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

misskat: A castle with rockets and fire cannons with the DW D on it. (Castle Dreamwidth)
Posted by [personal profile] misskat
I think it'd be a great talk. :)
09.07.2013 05:13 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kaberett
Oh. Oh. And actually this ties into my stuff about Neurodiversity In Volunteerism, and why non-code tasks get devalued because code is placed at the top of the hierarchy of skills and coders then feel like they're "wasting time" on non-code volunteering, but people who can't code aren't going to do jobs unless they - and their work - are valued equally! Yes. Okay. I am not going to have any problem filling 45 minutes with this. ;)
09.07.2013 02:32 am (UTC)

(no subject)

princessofgeeks: Darren from Slings and Arrows, with the text, I might go to Berlin; they understand me there. (Berlin by Curtana)
Posted by [personal profile] princessofgeeks
thank you.
09.07.2013 04:56 am (UTC)

(no subject)

azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] azurelunatic
Thank you for helping make this community awesome. I don't say this enough, but you bring a lot of amazing things to the table, and one of them is your determination that this will be a diverse and inclusive community, paired with your follow-through in making it happen.
09.07.2013 11:21 am (UTC)

(no subject)

ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] ninetydegrees
And, in what could be a paradox but really isn't, you guys also constantly reinforce the notion that volunteering is not a full-time, long-term commitment. It's ok to unassign, it's ok to leave and come back (or not! :), it's ok to do part of a big project, it's ok to pass things along to somebody else, it's ok not to learn all the things, and that's not 'giving up'. That's just being a volunteer. This has been incredibly helpful in making me want to learn and do things because I knew I could put into this exactly what I wanted to and it would be valued anyway.
09.07.2013 07:53 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Posted by [staff profile] denise
Absolutely! This isn't anyone's full time job (well, except a few of us...) and too many projects expect their contributors to essentially work a second shift of full time employment. That locks out a ton of people (people with disabilities, working parents, people with existing volunteer commitments, people with active social lives, that's just thirty seconds off the top of my head...) and narrows your contributor base to a very tiny range of people! That's no way to get a diverse set of contributions, voices, and experiences.

Everything somebody does to make DW better is a contribution, period, no matter how big or small. :)
26.05.2015 08:26 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Posted by [personal profile] jazzyjj
I'm replying here in hopes of generating some more discussion, as this is a somewhat old entry and we'll see what happens. Also, the person who was scheduled to come meet with me this afternoon hasn't shown up yet. But I'm okay with that because he did call and he's actually probably waiting for like eternity at his previous appointment. But anyway, I would be happy to contribute something to this already fantastical web platform other than my own journal entries. The problem is, I don't know any dev code or anything like that. I'll repeat what I've said here before though. That is, thanks a million for creating this thing and making it all-inclusive. It means a lot. I'm a bit surprised that none of the so-called disability-rights organizations in my state have joined or even heard about this site. There's a lot on here they could learn.
09.11.2015 10:07 am (UTC)

(no subject)

peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] peoppenheimer
Dreamwidth is a model for respecting and valuing all contributions and all contributors.
01.12.2016 04:52 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] zorkian
Test, please ignore.
21.11.2018 08:57 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

kay_mulan: (let's laugh about it now or later)
Posted by [personal profile] kay_mulan
Thank you so much for being part of the Dreamwidth team. Thank you so much that there are many templates available to freebie user participators.

Thank you also to whomever made the Plain style!

God bless you, and your team. Have a nice day :)