The Invisible Traceback

November 10, 2009 – 3:18 pm

The perfect is the enemy of the good. Instead of entertaining grandiose thoughts of posting a transcription of my talk with the slides nicely set inline, pulmonologist I should just start by putting out the slides themselves…

The Invisible Traceback: blockers that make potential contributors drop out (and how to fix them) – This is the talk I gave at the Ontario Linux Fest. The slides make a lot more sense with the accompanying narration, sales but questions are welcome, ask and I can always come back in and fill in the remainder of the transcript at Some Point Later.

Abstract: Unix Philosophy #12, Rule of Repair: “When you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible.” This applies to both code and culture; when someone gets stuck and hollers for help, they are helping their community find and fix a participation process bug. However, the new contributor on-ramp pipeline is particularly tricky to debug; potential participants often struggle in silence, giving you no indication of their presence, let alone why they were unable to begin working with your project community. We’ll go over some common blockers that quietly prevent students (and other new contributors) from beginning to participate in open source, and how to fix them no matter who you are.

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