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Sage Sharp
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant at Otter Tech.
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant at Otter Tech.


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It's official folks! My new legal name is Sage Sharp. It's taken me a while to realize I'm non-binary. Please use they/them pronouns for me. More details on my blog. Reshares are enabled, but please comment on my blog.
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Game & game engine designers: Have you ever wondered if a particular #OpenGL extension was supported in #Linux by all hardware vendors? There's a site to find out:
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My keynote from #scale14x  is up! I talked about how to increase diversity in open source communities in a systematic manner, using Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Notes, resources, links to studies mentioned, and slides can be found on my blog:
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This post has a set of very good recommendations for dealing with a Code of Conduct violation:

1. When someone is getting harassed by another person in the project, don’t treat this like you would a technical conflict.

2. Have a Code of Conduct before you need one along with a plan for how to handle incidents.

3. When you write your Code of Conduct, ensure that underrepresented people have a voice. If your project is extremely homogeneous, ask for help – involve outsiders who are familiar with the difficulties of writing a Code of Conduct. Be willing to pay people for their expertise on this topic.

4. Don’t tell people to stay quiet about abuse. This removes them from their support network of friends and family.

5. Be transparent when you amend legal documents. Being sneaky as part of trying to intimidate people with lawyers is not ok.

6. Be proactive in keeping folks who report harassment up to date on the status of your deliberations. Provide regular (daily or better) updates, especially if the harassment is ongoing. What’s an administrative matter for you is causing them constant pain. It should be a push process, not a pull one.

7. When someone has to leave an IRC channel and stop going to conferences because they are scared of a person, this is a sign that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It’s rare for people to speak up about negative behavior. If one person is uncomfortable, chances are that there’s more community members who are having issues with them but not speaking up.

Understand that the measure of health in any open source community is how they deal with conflict.

If you’re a dude, don’t reach out to women leaving other open source projects saying “join us here!” You have no idea if women in the community have problems or not. Women will talk to other women about the quality of the community. But it’s also just really bad taste. Instead, find someone in your community that is also part of that minority group to reach out. They’ll know more about potential issues than you will.

Publicly stand behind the women in your community, or eventually they will leave and write a post just like this.
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Ever run into an Intel #Linux graphics driver bug and wanted to test whether it was fixed in mesa master? The good news is that you can install drm and mesa binaries in a custom directory, without overwriting your system installation. The bad news is that it's a bit complicated, so I wrote a tutorial:
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Dear Linux and Open Source enthusiasts,

This Saturday and Sunday, we will be playing computer games all day. Not just for fun, but for a greater purpose! We're raising funds for Doernbechers Children's Hospital. Doernbechers treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their family's ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents. Your donation is tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids.

Team Powerpuff Penguins will be playing Linux computer games on Saturday and Sunday. To spice things up a bit, we have some donation perks and stretch goals:

Donate $1: Personal thank-you on twitter or twitch.

Donate $10: A member of team Powerpuff Penguins will play a free game of your choice.

Donate $15: Sarah Sharp will put on a piece of cosplay from her treasure bin.

Donate $20: A member of team Powerpuff Penguins will play a $10 or less game of your choice.

Donate $30: Jamey Sharp will answer a question of your choice on stack overflow OR Sarah Sharp will answer one question about USB or the Linux kernel. We will not take more than ten minutes to answer, so nothing too complex!

Donate $40: A member of team Powerpuff Penguins will play a $20 or less game of your choice.

Donate $50: Sarah and Jamey will do a happy dance on camera! Or something equally cute. Possibly involving cats.

Note: All games must be able to run on Linux on a Haswell laptop with Intel integrated graphics. I promise to play at least five minutes of your game. I reserve the right to refuse to play a game for any reason. I don't like horror, FPS, dating sims, or twitch games. I do like exploration, puzzles, turn-based RPGs, and story-rich games. Jamey and I will be paying for games out of our own pockets, but games can also be gifted to my steam account.

Please donate, watch us have fun, and help out Doernbechers Children's Hospital!

Team Powerpuff Penguins
Powerpuff Penguins
Powerpuff Penguins
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Reposting my response to this comment:

Willy, I think you’ve hit upon the exact spot where I and most of the senior Linux kernel developers disagree. I believe you can be technically brutal without being personally brutal and still get your message through. In fact, most times, your explanation of the issues will be clearer, because you’ll focus on expressing what they did wrong, rather than your own emotions.

As for your comments about the emotional mapping of Europeans to what they say, we will have to respectfully disagree. If you saying “I wish someone would kill you” is equivalent to feeling disappointment over someone’s skills as a maintainer, that mapping is just broken.

What do you say when you’re past disappointment into anger at a larger broken system? Well, in Linus’ case, it seems that he slips into homophobic slurs. That means he thinks that being gay is worse than being dead. What kind of message does that send LGBTQ developers who want to get involved with your kernel community? (I almost said “our community” there but it’s no longer my community.)

The most frustrating thing for me is that as a woman, I don’t get to participate in the same skewed emotional spectrum without harming myself professionally. I have had other kernel developers imply that I’m being “too emotional” and that I should “calm down” when I raise my voice even in the slightest. Women are socially trained to care about the community around them and other people’s feelings, and they get called nasty sexist slurs when they don’t have empathy.

From reading articles and talking to other minorities, they also feel the awful double standard here. Black men and women get labeled as violent or deviant when they speak in anger. Or get shot by police if they attempt to assert their rights. If they express anger at a system that oppresses them, they get told to pay attention to white men’s feelings. They can’t win.

When you say Europeans have a habit of exaggerating their emotions, to the point of tearing down other people, what minorities hear is “I have the privilege to not be able to care about other people’s emotions."

I would highly recommend checking out Scalzi’s post on privilege, “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is”. It explains privilege with as gaming metaphor that I think most people can connect to.
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An example of why "Be excellent" isn't a sufficient CoC. Without explicit listing of negative behaviors to avoid, the interpretation of what construes harassment is left up to the majority members of the community. Those members are almost always the ones with the most privilege and power, who are likely to be biased against believing complaints from people with different lived experiences.
Last night, Noisebridge broke tradition and enacted an Anti-Harassment policy.  Here's why that matters.

For the last five years, Noisebridge, one of the oldest hackerspaces in the country, has been run as a consensus-based anarchist collective that had just one rule: "Be excellent to one another."  It's consensus-driven political process means that any major changes to the space that go beyond its typical "doocracy" have to be put up for consensus, a system in which a single member's refusal to agree can shut down an otherwise popular request.  The consensus process is one that is not conducive to much in the way of governance, though this is of course generally viewed as more of a feature than a bug; it ensures that the space remain true to its anarchist roots.

Recently, this has become more and more problematic, as attempts to remove sexual predators from the space have been stymied by the presence of lone, oblivious members of the community who simply refuse to believe that someone they consider a friend might not be a friend to women in the space.  The situation at Noisebridge has gotten so bad (alongside other issues such as dirtiness and homeless people living in the space) that long-time members went so far as to put in a proposal that Noisebridge seek to terminate its lease[1], presumably to then rebirth itself at a new location with tighter access control.  Although it was clear that this proposal would never pass consensus, the decision was made that we would discuss the reasons why it was proposed, in the hopes of fixing the underlying issues in the future.  By sheer luck, the meeting had been scheduled shortly after a feminist hacking event sponsored by Double-Union, a local feminist hackerspace, and as a result a large contingent of woman hackers was present.  Stories pretty quickly came out about why so many were willing to let the space die.

I've been spending time at Noisebridge for the last year, and in that time, I've been harassed by multiple people on many different occasions, almost always with members present.  Never once has a member intervened or spoken up on my behalf: not when Weev called me a cunt or made anti-semitic, anti-mormon, anti-woman, anti-gay jokes loudly in the space, not when someone loudly (and descriptively) told me about the "sluts" they double-penetrated the night before, not when an individual (upon seeing me about to leave the space on my Powerisers) declared "I love your stilts.  I'm going to make you my bride and then those will be mine" before slapping my ass as I was leaving just a few weeks ago.  The closest thing I have felt to supported in the space was when one individual decided to doocratically paint over the bathroom wall, which at the time was covered in images of maimed and broken crying women with enormous tits and waists so thin they would make Barbie jealous.  It has become abundantly clear to most women in the space that "Be Excellent" has failed us.  

Any other night, the telling of these stories would simply have been an explanation of why we were willing to let go of Noisebridge, why we were ready to withdraw from the community, but that night we had just come from a room full of interesting, engaging, awesome feminist hackers, and I had sitting in my email a very clear anti-harassment policy that had been created by the good folks at the +Ada Initiative and the ladies of Double Union.  Once the dust had settled, we made a proposal: to adopt an anti-harassment policy, post it visibly in the space, and empower members to remove the toxic elements from the community, without having to go through the consensus process to do so.  The policy we proposed is as follows:

Noisebridge is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of people at our events or space in any form. Sexual language and imagery should be only be used for positive purposes in accordance with best practices advocated by professional sex educators (if you’re not sure what those are, don’t do it). People violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the space or the event at the discretion of any Noisebridge member.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. People asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately."

The key strength of the policy is that it allows a member to kick someone out, without requiring consensus to do so.  This prevents the situation we've sadly been dealing with in which individuals have blocked attempts to remove predators from the space, but brought some concerns about evidence and the possibility of innocent people being excluded.  The policy did pass (provisionally), but not without objection.  The arguments against it were the standard ones: free speech, false accusations, and straight-up denial of there being a problem at all.  A few people expressed concerns about the possibility of the policy being used in retaliatory ways (the old "false-rape accusations" argument), including Monad, the lone member who threatened to block.  He, of course is responsible for perhaps the best quote of the night: "The first sentence is fine.....the rest of it is just stupid to me."

Monad was demonstrating exactly the problem Noisebridge has had for years.  He was fine with the idea of there being a policy, with saying "Noisebridge is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience," but he balked at the idea of defining what harassment was or creating any system by which it could be dealt with.  In short, he wanted to simply be able to say "be excellent" and have it happen, but wasn't willing to accept that for some things, specifics are needed.

Some arguments, especially those that erupted on twitter after Leif Ryge, a Noisebridge member, tweeted his displeasure about the policy [2], centered on the idea that it was tantamount to censorship, banning "sexual imagery and language."  Of course, Leif's tweet was misleading, as the policy doesn't ban sexual language & imagery entirely, just mandates that "Sexual language and imagery should be only be used for positive purposes."   It's a far cry from the "censorship" that some people are claiming this represents.

In the end, we weren't able to convince Monad from backing down on his threat to block, a position he justified by claiming that the policy might be used alongside false accusations as a way of removing people you don't like from the space, so we settled on a compromise: to pass the measure with an expiration date, so that we could have a few months to tweak the language, perfect it and smooth out any issues, and see whether or not any of these "false accusations" that are so often the favorite arguments of rape apologists actually occurred.  To those of you that believe that the policy is needed, but needs some tweaking, I hope that you will use the time between now and January to iron out the details and come back with an even better policy: one that makes it clear that harassment is not acceptable behavior in the space, that still has teeth, and that can draw clear lines and boundaries that ensure that unwanted sexual attention is unacceptable while perhaps approaching the issue from a slightly more sex-positive standpoint.  The policy has been posted on github [3].  Let's make it better.

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