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Hospitality, Jerks, and What I Learned
June 9, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Sumana Harihareswara (Senior Technical Writer for Wikimedia Foundation, member of the Board of Director's of the Ada Initiative, blogger at Geek Feminism, and Metafilter's own brainwane) gave the keynote address at this year's WikiConference in NYC on May 30. She used her experience at Hacker School to talk about, among other things, how to create a community that does not celebrate liberty at the expense of hospitality: If we exclude no one explicitly, we are just excluding a lot of people implicitly. Including people like me.

Footnotes to her talk can be found here.
posted by hydropsyche (14 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite

 
For those who are not clicking through because they don't want to watch a video, there is a transcript. (Which is awesome and I wish all keynote videos had that.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:25 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


The talk is awesome and so is brainwane's recent AskMe question on podcasts by women in software development, which has tons of her own podcast research in there. The transcript is awesome. This post is awesome!

I'm happier today for having seen this, thank you for posting. (I was relatively happy anyway).
posted by sweetkid at 1:29 PM on June 9


Yes, there is a transcript! Which is great because I hate being forced to listen to a 30 minute talk when I can read the thing in 3 minutes. This was very interesting though not very in depth, but what can you expect in a short presentation?

The liberty-vs-hospitality spectrum which she addresses is an important one and something that causes quite a bit of friction here on metafilter.
posted by Justinian at 1:31 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


The liberty-vs-hospitality spectrum which she addresses is an important one and something that causes quite a bit of friction

Oh god, so much this. Everywhere.
posted by aramaic at 1:37 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Yay transcript! Like Justinian says, reading in three minutes beats a long video every day.

She makes some good points about community and how it is structured, and definitely relevant to metafilter with the recent staffing changes.

When someone says “I don’t know what X is”, you don’t say “You don’t know what X is?!” or “I can’t believe you don’t know what X is!” Because that’s just a dominance display. That’s grandstanding. That makes the other person feel a little bit bad and makes them less likely to show you vulnerability in the future. It makes them more likely to go off and surround themselves in a protective shell of seeming knowledge before ever contacting you again.

I saw myself in that, and I could do better to remember it.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:44 PM on June 9 [25 favorites]


I resemble her. From a generation earlier. Still learning to walk again after the last time they broke my knees, figuratively speaking, to put me in my place.

You go, girl.
posted by infini at 1:45 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


I saw myself in that, and I could do better to remember it.

Ditto'ed. I love/hate discovering things like this about myself.
posted by srboisvert at 1:50 PM on June 9


If you don’t understand why something you did broke the rules, you don't ask the person who corrected you. You ask a facilitator. You ask someone who’s paid to do that emotional labor, and you don't bring everyone else's work to a screeching halt.

this is so important. Emotional labor is not easy. Thank you to everyone who's invested their emotional labor in my development; please let me return the favor anytime you need.
posted by rebent at 1:51 PM on June 9 [15 favorites]


If we exclude no one explicitly, we are just excluding a lot of people implicitly. Including people like me.

I really, really love this formulation. If, like me, your basic mindset is "don't be exclusionist," then this is the answer you need for your discomfort.
posted by tyllwin at 2:06 PM on June 9 [12 favorites]


This was a very good talk. "Liberty" is often taken as a license to abdicate responsibility.

I am not at all good at being "mindful" but I've been making an effort, and ye gods, it's hard work. But it's important for all of the reasons mentioned in this talk.
posted by maxwelton at 2:22 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


As a clueless middle aged white guy, I've gotten quite an education over the past 5 or so years... so many things I took for granted, and so many more I didn't even notice. I agree strongly that it is far more important to be hospitable to each other than any other thing, even "how much someone does"... because when they drive out members, you have zero idea of the opportunity costs (if you want to think analytically), or the amount of serendipity you just lost by getting what would have been new viewpoints and approaches to problem solving.

I love the quote "If we exclude no one explicitly, we are just excluding a lot of people implicitly. Including people like me."

I'll try to remember that one, and internalize it.
posted by MikeWarot at 5:24 PM on June 9 [9 favorites]


From the transcript:
Any time I see a camera pointed at me, I start making more hand gestures, I hope you don’t mind.

(laughter)

Camera Operator: Don't worry; I’ll make you look beautiful!

Sumana: Make me look smart, that’s more important.
Nice.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:53 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


I met her at AdaCamp in SF last year - she is absolutely delightful. Very glad to see this talk posted.
posted by Phire at 9:38 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Thank you hydropsyche for posting this, and thanks to everyone who's read/watched/listened to the talk. It's under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike so please do feel free to excerpt or repost it in your blogs, mash it up, translate it, and so on.

infini your comment really moved me. Thank you for paving the way for me.

I have gotten (so far) way more positive comments about this talk than negative, including from the open source/Wikimedia community (examples: the president of FSF Europe, the English Wikipedia weekly Signpost). This is heartening!

More of my speeches are now up on English Wikisource.
posted by brainwane at 6:02 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


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