DRAFT: Want to make meetings better? Qworky is recruiting for a diverse open source project!

Update, December 17:  Thanks to all for the excellent feedback, here and in email!

I’ll be splitting this into two posts, which will appear on the Qworky blog

Thanks also to those who expressed interest … if you’d like to get involved, stay tuned — or get in touch via the contact information at the bottom of the post.

As a company we view diversity as a vital ingredient to sustained business success.  We value unique perspectives and traditionally under-represented viewpoints in the software design process. We welcome collaborators from every walk of life. We welcome people of any gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, experience level, discipline, educational background, culture, and political opinion.

— Qworky’s draft diversity statement

In early January, we’re going to be kicking off an open-source project to build a key component of the Qworky Meetings V1.0 product.  How to attract a diverse team?  Kirrily Robert’s outstanding Standing out in a crowd OSCON keynote and earlier Dispatches from the Revolution look at two highly-diverse open-source projects, and provide some excellent suggestions for this situation.  For example, Dreamwidth started out by posting a clear diversity statement.  Hey, we should do that!

And when Organization for Transformative Works’ Archive Of Our Own started up they resisted the trap of focusing primarily on experienced programmers.  Instead they invited everybody who was interested and had a passion for getting involved, chose a language that was accessible to non-programmers, and put the effort into organizing and documenting the project well enough that newcomers could easily see what was going on and where they could help.  Hey, we should do that too!   So we spent some time at this Saturday’s engineering meeting discussing what else we could do to make things easily accessible, and how we’ll reach out.

A common theme in these examples, and one that Selena Marie Deckelmann also touches on in What works? Getting more women involved in open source, is to make sure that people who might be interested in the project know they’re invited.  One of the great things about working on software for meetings is that it’s a topic almost everybody relates to — these days, even high school and college students have to deal with action items.  So do small businesspeople, moms, teachers, activists, consultants, administrative assistants, system administrators, customer support experts, designers, programmers, testers, etc. etc. etc. … So please, consider yourselves invited!

It’s a great chance to get involved at the early stages of an open-source project with world-class software engineering that’s truly committed to diversity.*  And if we can make meetings better, we’ll make all of our lives easier and earn the world’s gratitude.  Talk about upside!

If you’d like to get involved, please join us at our first planning meeting early next year — check back here for details.  If you’re so eager (or so bored over the holidays) that you can’t wait until then, please get in touch with us.  We’re @qworky on Twitter and I’m jon@qworky.net — or just leave a note here in the comments.

If you know anybody else who might be interested, please pass the word.   And if you have any suggestions for how we should be reaching out, please let us know!


* see my professional bio for details