mark: A photo of Mark kneeling on top of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines. It was a long hike. (Default)
Mark Smith ([staff profile] mark) wrote2013-07-08 03:50 pm

Tech confidence vs. tech competence

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.

kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2013-07-08 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
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.)
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)

[personal profile] jjhunter 2013-07-08 11:48 pm (UTC)(link)
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.)
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)

[staff profile] denise 2013-07-09 03:43 am (UTC)(link)
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...)
misskat: A castle with rockets and fire cannons with the DW D on it. (Castle Dreamwidth)

[personal profile] misskat 2013-07-09 02:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I think it'd be a great talk. :)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2013-07-09 05:13 pm (UTC)(link)
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. ;)
princessofgeeks: Darren from Slings and Arrows, with the text, I might go to Berlin; they understand me there. (Berlin by Curtana)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2013-07-09 02:32 am (UTC)(link)
thank you.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2013-07-09 04:56 am (UTC)(link)
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.
ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (Default)

[personal profile] ninetydegrees 2013-07-09 11:21 am (UTC)(link)
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.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)

[staff profile] denise 2013-07-09 07:53 pm (UTC)(link)
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. :)

[personal profile] jazzyjj 2015-05-26 08:26 pm (UTC)(link)
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.
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)

[personal profile] peoppenheimer 2015-11-09 10:07 am (UTC)(link)
Dreamwidth is a model for respecting and valuing all contributions and all contributors.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)

[personal profile] zorkian 2016-12-01 04:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Test, please ignore.