the predominantly young professional men that are the primary contributors are generally doing quite well
The article makes a good case is that OSS contributions are affected by privilege, and are not actually pure indications of merit. However, this is also true for basically any signal a prospective employee may try to send to employers. Does your family have sufficient emotional resources so that you can spend your time in school comfortably learning instead of anxiously dealing with trouble? Privilege. Does your family have sufficient financial and social resources so as to develop your niche academic and non-academic interests, thereby paving the way to your admission to an elite institution of higher education? Privilege. Does your family have the social capital so that you can present well and "fit in" in an interview at a company where most people are upper-middle-class? Privilege. Do you have the resources so that you can develop a "passion" for something? Privilege. Did you have the connections/academic credentials to get a job at a highly recognizable/prestigious firm early on in your career? Privilege. Etc etc etc etc etc. The whole world runs on privilege.
What is it about software dev jobs that make it so a candidate who does it in their free time is assumed in some way to be "better" than candidates who don't? None of the jobs I've had or fields I've worked in have this assumption built in. For example, no editorial job I've ever applied for or gotten has demanded a portfolio of editorial work that I've done as an unpaid volunteer.
To game the system, applicants start linking to virtually empty GitHub accounts that are full of forked repos where they, at best, fixed some silly whitespace issue. In other words, it’s like 10,000 forks when all you need is a glimmer of original thought...Outside of that, there’s the fact that not all side projects are created equal.
...Telling the difference between these kinds of projects is somewhat time-consuming for someone with a technical background and almost impossible for someone who’s never coded before. Therefore, while awesome side projects are a HUGE indicator of competence, if the people reading resumes can’t (either because of lack of domain-specific knowledge or because of time considerations) tell the difference between awesome and underwhelming, the signal gets lost in the noise.
"You're a new parent, yayyyyyy congrats still! Has it changed your viewpoint on contributing to open source or Drupal? Thoughts on work/life balance?"
It definitely made the challenges with the "do-ocracy" model of development a lot more real, rather than merely empathetic/conceptual, for me. While I love the aspect of do-ocracy which empowers people to just jump in and make change without having to ask anyone for permission (and we've seen some truly amazing people do truly amazing things with this model), it also certainly heavily favours "he/she with the most time on their hands," and can heavily disenfranchise everyone else. Whether that time is because someone's paid to work on Drupal, or because they're single and/or don't have a lot of outside hobbies, or because they are living completely unsustainably and putting Drupal over their own mental health and family (I have been guilty on all three counts at varying times :P~), people with more time tend to have a louder voice in the project. It's really tough for people like e.g. parents, freelancers, hobbyists, who simply can't put in those kinds of hours to keep up. I think the more we can do to make it easier for people with limited time to jump in and find relevant info/contribution opportunities (e.g. the old "topic pages" from the Prairie Initiative), the more we can help offset this.
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