I Am Your User, Why Do You Hate Me?

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I Am Your User, Why Do You Hate Me?
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Open source software projects can be prickly toward their users. Poor documentation, a steep learning curve, and a finely tuned focus on excellence and quality can make a project community seem hostile. As users of many different open source projects over the years, Leslie Hawthorn has often wondered about this problem and contemplated what to do about it. This session takes some long-standing private rants public.
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but I'd like to do is to sell some
what's the responsible for the making we so the sum of all right again the and the especially for those responsible for a good cause uh after some time at a let's the you grants for and then this there is 1 of the simplest thing and we will talk about the view the the the however in past projects have been and no there that you know a but with the use of all how they can improve on making the happy so because of approximately and a few the use of a short introduction study hello everyone thank you very much for coming I'm honored to be back at Frost con again this year this is my 2nd frost on and that it will certainly not be the last I'm here today to talk again as you as I said about the way that open source projects interacts with their users and why certain behaviors are extremely problematic and why they can
contribute not only to a lack of user happiness but I believe to a lot of adoption of open source and I feel very
of strongly that this topic is important because I think that we're at a crucial time in the evolution of technology where people are aware
enough of the implications of the choices that they make about what software they run and what tools they use and how those have a greater social impact and an impact on themselves and their freedoms so when my dear friend Valerie who is a teacher at a high school teacher so students I and the 11th year of high school but who are recent migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and who inevitably every time I see her hands the her mobile phone and says can you please make these notifications go away therefore horrifying me and I discover Shazam Denisova update 2 years since I last saw her when she calls me and says Blondie what is this open source stuff because I think we're being spied on and that's not good that I know where occur a critical time to be able to bring more users into the free open-source offer fold and to help them understand why it's important that they use free and open source software so unfortunately I don't think there we do a very good job of welcoming people into the open source world although I have to admit every time I come to frost corn and how they talk to give you that rant about how we don't treat people really well I am reminded that this is probably the worst audience of the world in these talks to you because everyone in this community is so welcoming and so cool and it's so invested in helping other people learn that I that I'm grateful that at least there's a video so maybe this will be useful to folks were not in this particular audience the so this talk is actually I
have a slide that's why you hate me already you just there's so much hatred then who will you wanna do a thing you do wanna do they had so this talk actually started out
as a very private land between myself and my dear friend daughter Benjamin and this is actually a 10 year long sort of bubbling thing inside of our cells where Don and I would get together at various conferences and have the I'm your user why you hate you want so Don Benjamin and is not a developer . eu Benjamin is a Content Strategist she is a community organizer she's been responsible for the adoption of open source software across a number of governmental departments are in Australia in her province of vectorial she's our lives in Melbourne in words it's extensively there with the Department of Education she's migrated them off a proprietary CMS onto Drupal to help them to get courses on open source software into computer science and IT curriculums in universities there and so obviously very accomplished woman has been involved in the open source community for many decades I'm also not a developer I'm not a lawyer I'm 1 of those people who helps folks deal with the squishy human problems but this can also that creates mentoring programs a mentorship opportunities to help get more people involved in open source development be that programming be that design documentation etc. so we were sitting together or the at a table and something happens that generated this at the grants and when we got together 10 years later to finally give this talk we sat down and both sheepishly looked at each other and sends it dear remember why why we started renting this and she didn't remember either there so there was some whiskey involved mistakes were made but at least as rank came out of it so how effectively we would see consistently after that we met we would look each other we would say I here user why do you hate me and what we're referring to was this very all I had a pattern of behavior amongst our friends and colleagues who were open source developers who just seem to
have this deep contempt for the people who were using their software I mean for us a long time once upon a time I was dating a systems administrator and every day when he would be done with work he would come down home flop down in his easy chair and say he uses every single day this would be so the 1st words out of his mouth right and I couldn't figure out why there was this this deep level of contact and you know obviously there are many stupid questions to be asked my began after few of them but they just seem to me to be so outsized and I was frequently along with Donna in conversations were these kinds of rants against stupid users in the stupid ideas the stupid bug reports and like why don't they just figure out the pop-up about and we would kind of sit there sheepishly very quietly and then felt that the table would notice that we were being very quiet if you don't know not you we love you you guys are great like what the people you're describing the behaviors are described like not a developer anodic in you not a maintainer of an open source project these things applied to us so we're thinking were were your user to why you hate us why is why is this happening but I think it starts off with our understanding of what a user
is so a user is somebody who just uses a computer ever service right someone who lacks the skill to be able to develop a particular system is a user of that system but it turned out that this is this is accurate but I wonder about this this particular part of a definition with out the technical expertise required to
fully understand it this year actually understand everything about how the computer works excellent on a single hand has been raised and there are no doubt many act computing experts in this audience the idea that our users are somehow lacking in intelligence and are not worthy of our respect because they do not fully understand the systems which they use is ridiculous none of us actually understand fully how all of our technology works which I think is is actually fairly scary proposition but so but some of some of the ways in
which we display a sad sad behavior toward their users of I I would personally big shakespear fan and his his sonic how do I let the let me count the ways so he is the inspiration for our 5 ways we can show deep hatred toward the users all this 1 is
great this software is just for Brady ac me I do not care about your needs I'm not here to make this work for you now there is something to be said for the fact that it is very fair that open source is motivated again to use the that the common phrase scratching your own itch creating something that you yourself need and that's great there's nothing wrong with that that the idea that if someone comes along and has improvements to contribute has questions about how something works or effectively wants to get involved they don't quite know how and the response that they receive is basically something along the lines of there's the door thank you very much I accept usually it's and with many more swear words that I'm not going to use because we're on video that the appropriate and so the idea that the software that recreate is only for people who are just like us people were super geniuses people who are highly highly technical people who fully understand the systems that they're using and if you're not cool like me you don't get to do this this is not for you this is not
something that you need to be involved in and I don't need to care about your needs and that's that's really again that's very sad because it denies us the opportunity to help more people get involved with open source software in understanding the value of images from a technical perspective but also from a social perspective if it's only something for the Wizards in the magicians and that the genius programmers of the world it's not accessible to everyone and not everyone can benefit from it OS stupid user means I have to admit that I may have
engaged in some stupid user meaning once upon a time because I was the accidental tacky for my recording department when I worked in a jar once upon a time where I decided that I really likes talking to nerds all day about the technical ambitions but about it I not 1 work in human resources over again and so we we create these ideas that our users are idiots and then we trade pictures online about how they're all done or we have an admittedly I think hilarious TV shows I like the IT proud about how all uses a stupid where the guidance of the phone
only ever says is have you tried turning on journey back off again right if it were just that easy but not all of the time I think we would have less difficulty although I have also been told by someone the audience last time we give this presentation I was getting people far too much credit and I had clearly never work to help desk and I said I should have a word to help as they work to help desk for Africa tracking system once upon a time in that state you resources in I I'm sitting on a Martin out of the lack of vocabulary on the part of my users images were using the same words for the same things outside and you know but I still occasionally engage in my them on the we have this idea that our users are done like immediately upon approaching them right we we think that they lie that if they say that their experience
experiencing in a particular problem they're not really experiencing the problem they just want to call us up and the access and piss us off or they just want a file users but reporting complain and bitch and I just don't I feel like that accurate and I think that that that immersing ourselves in these kinds of images and means about how our users are stupid useless in terrible but doesn't help us create empathy with the people were using our software the no this 1 this 1 is the bane of my existence no no I know better on how
many of you are maintainers of every of for project is a couple interim of how the people come to you with feature requests that a silly idea circuit and then just like I get all the cilia future requests all of them so and only there are times when people will ask for something of you are of a project that doesn't make a lot of sense and my favorite example of this is that once upon a time eased to share cubicle with the gentleman by the name of Karl Fogel who wrote the seminal work producing open source software had a run of successful freeze offer project and I amongst his many accomplishments Karl Fogel
was 1 of the original developers of the subversion version control system which are you know some of you in a room you remember as being the cool thing before we all had get by and it might still be cool but apparently not because you know the kids these days never even heard of it so all of these diversion project said in their mission statement that their goal was to create a compelling alternative to CVS to the CBS average for some quite so 1 day at some wonderful human being shut up on their mailing list and said I know what you guys to do you should just sit there and like start working on this version thing and just like work on CBS right of be great not really that was not what they intended to do and I'm not talking about those moments of not listening to people who do you drive by random ridiculous request because those are dry by random ridiculous requests but is sometimes you with an idea that's largely same they just don't want implement their idea maybe you just don't want to yourself or to work in a particular way but it still is the same idea on simply not listening to them because you know better is really a problem but I know that
it can be exhausting to interact with other people have a hard enough time dealing with myself little other human beings that actually taking the time to explain to someone why their idea may not be the best for the project is a great idea or you know uh assuming that they might have something to teach you actually letting them explain to you what the issue is why they're experiencing it and what they would like to see different is actually I think a very fruitful source of dialog so it may be that you don't want to do exactly what they're telling you to do that you can get a great deal of information about why what you have created is suboptimal if you just listen to their frustrations and what problem they're actually trying to solve yeah and I found that to be a a usually fruitful source of information when working on US of a projects in trying to help people with the user experience design because folks will come and tell you that what they want is In this is a very common phrasing safe by what a faster horse when really what they want the car but if you help if you walk through what the use cases of what their needs are are actually useful information can be beneficial to you maintain who up to my other favorite you're just not technical that the how
often have you had someone who is is not a developer but not in the tech industry can you and ask you if you will they will fix can you please fix like here OK and how many how often did you just want to just you know tell them like no I will love it your
computer answer OK so now did you did you get frustrated with them immediately because you're thinking like you're not technical you're not you know you're you're of idiot like I don't wanna deal with you another set of people who were like not acting like idiots area yeah I think that's totally fair right that's human that is completely human being you do on I am personally deeply offended by this phrase for a number of reasons of 1 I think it is ridiculous to define someone by what they are not right but if all we can do is understand the people that were interacting with in the context of what they don't do what they're not capable of we put them in this very sad space where they can't improve they can become better they can acquire knowledge they can interact
with us in a way that is mutually beneficial because they are not something there this other thing there this not technical thing and this not technical box over here is something that you can never escape from and nothing will ever be good inside that not technical box and I also find it very frustrating as a phrase because it is completely meaningless what is this mean what is not technical so it is an astrophysicist not technical because that person is not a computer scientist I don't think that we would necessarily think that I have been told that the my mom is not technical because she still calls me and I remind her to turn the computer on and off again I'm I'm only the 1st Unix parameters right she hasn't kept up with her technical skills set but it's I would never say that she was not technical just because she does not eat sleep and breathe suffer development anymore right the idea that we can simply dismiss someone's concerns because they are somehow not like us they're not a developer or maybe the developer but they're develop
different language and those PHP people a silly were those ruby people a cilia you're not as good as I am it creates a really of sad dynamic actions of people again we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to learn something useful from folks who are taking their time and energy to give us feedback when we simply put them in this box and say you are not tactical there's nothing useful that I can learn from you now we have this idea and kind of like this is more of a mad idea but the
user is as faithful icons on how we observed developing anything that a graphical user base of a of of lanthanum mostly systems programmers was audience I assume a system and easier the I see some nods I see some people nodding off to sleep at 30 and the to so we have seen over time actually I see from this to be a really compelling development we see over time this kind of evolution from the
idea of of people pictures in our suffer going from these like weird little kind of chess upon nebulous things in we're colors on smurfs are blue people or not blue to using was wanted that to to actually icon that look like people and this doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal until you start reading the things like the explosion of excitement on social media when they created MOG that were not showing people with white skin tone for example every was certainly people say case someone finally print something looks like me I feel so good about this is great so we actually take the opportunity to build into the appearance of our software the idea that there are actual people using it or not we're just Murphy's then we actually create an empathetic relationship with our users we care about the
needs we want to meet them and their needs matter to us so we're moving away from this kind of Bureau of our users are these Fazeel's icons they kind of don't exist there this this fictional element of stupidity over here while we make something beautiful and hope they don't screw up too much and we thank God that we're non-call because when they screw it up we don't hear about it the yeah do you think that this is all kind of wrapping up into a
nice little package of a generally prickly attitudes around open source of a project so this is this is clearly not true of all projects but there are some that are notorious shall we say for a prickly attitudes and before I was presenting a frost and I was presenting at the OpenSim conference in Berlin which is an academic conference about the study of open source software of academics and I was ordered to sit in on a presentation by Professor animated Squire and she had done the linguistic analysis of the past let's kernel mailing list which show that she was a very brave woman to begin with and when she wanted to know was was there a difference in communication style amongst the participants and electron project because it was it was well known that this was a you know you you enter the all came only with asbestos underpants on and not even then and it was very interesting because of the thing that has stuck in my mind the most was but she was doing a measurement of of a number of times the people said thank you or the probability that a
someone said thanks in an e-mail who would it be and if the word face was used in email comparing the 2 of the top folks and the project on other naming service maternal slam any particular individuals make a point on maintain our was there was a 2 per cent likelihood that he said Thanks whereas maintain a B I who was you know a little bit further down the food chain was deemed the percentage possibility that did he said pixels 98 per cent so you know again we have this ingrained in our culture that's OK a to be rude to be offensive to be very I don't know if there is a non wary were to say this to be very careful straight in our in our in our discussions of other people and like it's OK to do that right and so 1 of the the projects that I'm most excited about having worked on was medical coding program which was a way to introduce students who were in high school and even younger to open source development and not to
suffer development but also documentation user experience design marketing all of the aspects of creating software and for the very 1st year we had some participants from other plant project which is a Python-based content management system which I'm not sure if anyone is using anymore but of the yeah so these folks are were having a conference at Google at the same time as A's 1st much of like open source offer conferences suspected day and it just so happened that 1 of the students who had participated in the program with the aplomb project lived through 4 miles away and he noticed that all of his heroes all the deeply been working with were going to be encountered any e-mail me and asked if he could come visit and I thought that was a great idea I checked around with that the conference attendees may also that it was a great idea and so Jonathan came down and to the Google HQ in met everybody and so of course you know this being a 14 year old young him and his mother drove him to articulation hero so that was really cool it was and there is you know photo ops everyone's really excited to meet if I usually brilliant knows it was great it was a really touching
moment and but the the thing the best part of the day was when the I believe made here for the poem project all of a sudden just just sort of stops when he's doing can looks around by shifting laughter and any he goes over to this young man's mother and says now I don't know if you've ever run a mailing list and she said what what he means is that well you know like I said the Indians a lot and I say that word you know that the other person's more on and that the ideas the stupid and we don't understand why we were were not very nice to each other were really not very nice to each other we we just want you to know that that's all a joke but actually we really like each other we really care for each other we're all friends in real life like we go out we get the years we got each other's weddings there we go region has for barbecues and which is which is why you know we're not really like that right so know the best part was a response which was all please sign I have another son is a Gabor your us a the but
again this week we're cell acculturated to the idea that if we're amongst friends that we can be very vitriolic very unkind in our speech to 1 another in this this tensor boil over into our discussions of everyone even people who were not close enough to us to understand maybe this is just kind of the the family in-joke family rivalry right we have we must acculturated ourselves to the idea that it is OK to be rude to be unkind again welcoming to be prickly like character right and this and this again this is unfortunate because it cuts us off from the opportunity to learn more about what our users the from us and welcome them into the fold of using contributing to open source software a now I wanna talk about the people that you probably
think I don't know about giving this talk the whitey entitled demanding terrible people how many of you have dealt with whitey entitled demanding awful users and almost every in the room goes up and that when you deal with those folks here immediate response is to say you know I work of history why free time or I certainly don't get paid enough to deal with you being a big jerk to be please you know for yourself the nearest like wastebasket over their banks and I'm not here to advocate that anyone put up with bad behavior from their users if someone is trading you with the suspect if someone is coming to you and suggesting that you
spend your free time developing a feature that they require for their business enterprise and they can even be bothered to say thank you you actually develop that feature like forget it like this is not behavior that I think anyone to be putting up with and I recently read a very this is it was a supersaturated Our push from 18 a very popular library who basically said that he was looking for a mediator for the 3 libraries that he was working on because of what they had grown in popularity much more than you never expected it is for them upon get up because they were useful to have and suddenly there were all kinds of people relying on what he had bells and that he would he basically talked about the stories of of you you have a he was married he recently selenium child and you know he had just gotten off of the stand where is our day job ended on friday and he had literally worked from the time he got off of work on that Friday all weekend without sleep without spending any time with his wife or his should his young child because someone had filed an issue and said this bug is taking down on our website we're losing sales if this doesn't get corrected I'm going to get fired please please help me
and this is a good person right you just what this is terrible I don't want this company to go under I don't want these people to lose their jobs I don't want this person again fired because the manager doesn't understand as of the Fall so he works tirelessly for more than 48 hours to fix this but when he commits the facts he puts and no entity and get an issue that it's been fixed please try it out let me know that works I hope that everything to be OK if you guys like I wish the best of success with your business and he never heard a word not even not even if it works not even I think you just nothing now I under no circumstances suggest that anybody should put up with that kind of behavior I wanna talk about creating a reciprocal relationship of respect and compassion and empathy between developers and users if people are coming and are refusing to contribute with at least the thanks if not money for pizza or even have for Fantino money for your living expenses for hard work that you do in your free time you don't have to put up with that that is not OK you know what this is that in and by no means am I suggesting some kind of a symmetrical relationship is OK just because we all have to be you know have his across the world be nice to each other so I just wanted make that very clear in case anyone thought I was suggesting that this offer developers of the world so we had become like the world's you know unpaid therapists like that is not just yeah 4 conditions and this is a very
sad I don't have any issues difference realistically think that our are the result of poor documentation like do that for a show of hands how many people believe that no 1 reads the manual you this is a very sad of it's about half of about half through the that's known Ravenel but all those who said that no 1 reads the manual but how many of you believe that no 1 reads
the manual because there actually is no manual yeah and I not happy as the room go OK very fear of for those of you who think that people do read the manual how often do you think the manual is actually filled with current information the tops of the current release of the software he there's 1 hand all my goodness you poor deluded souls is not true is is not true but we ate create I think this this feedback loop of sadness with our users because of those who are the most motivated to create software are the least motivated to document it right and fair enough but we but again this if you are working in that paradigm it is very sad to have this
kind of a poor attitude towards folks who are not suffer developers were not technical who were doing things like a technical writing because clearly technical writing is not technical what do coarse-graining documentation for our projects and helping people to to be better able to use what we're producing right and therefore some programmers for some projects a lack of documentation is like a badge of honor right well yeah there's no documentation you just read the code right then you know it's how it's working well yeah sure I mean that's true for some people I have waited into source code number times trying to figure out why something was broken and going like why am I feeling stupid in an adequate way like why can I not make this work well you know every once in a while you get validating July K where I think I found about like 0 yeah you're right that doesn't work because it didn't denial is not you will wonderful thank you and I'm so excited that I had them for 3 like an old 2001 the source code figure out it was your but they're not my stupidity like maybe if there'd been a menu like is that this does not work as expected but unfortunately in order to figure out what was expected and I had to go and perform checkouts and things I didn't want to do so for documentation I think is a source of a lot of consternation so if you are not motivated to document where you were working on make friends with someone who wants to document 7 believe me those people do exist and they like whiskey so just they really do so do not get whiskey old books so if you find a used bookstore that's cool stuff on it and nice you know whiskey bar you're your have right go make friends of those people and they will help you out a monthly known the let's talk about the current industry darling and
how this is the polar opposite of of a simpler user experience with open source software I how many votes in the audience of a slack the goal of the wild OK we have heard of slack and which they had never never and so there are a some of free suffer implementations of the same kind of Enceladus like as matter most being 1 of them and so slack has gained in popularity it to a ridiculous degree right so 1st of all the the the the start-up that has created slack is no worth something like a billion dollars which I think is the byproduct of creating a great product but also Silicon Valley
insanity and and but if you look at slack as a tool nearly as a tool of slack has a core value of helping the users be more effective when using the tool built into the product right so you pop open slack and there will be suggestions for keyboard shortcuts wall it's loading right and they're not interested because they're just all part of load screen right it's not as tho you know it's when those irritating feature tours that will not turn off the matter how many times you say never shall be this torus started again and yes you click that box and know it it just merging that's not what's going on right they have understood that there are nonintrusive waste slowly but surely reminded educate their users about how to be more effective with what they've created now this to me is is is a great development this is a wonderful important thing that it frightens me because there are a number of free suffer projects have stopped using altogether as the communication mechanism which right and now they're using flak solely for the communications now is problematic for a number of reasons not the least of which is all of your all your logs are belong to some company which actually I have great respect for the folks who work it's
like I think that they're doing a great job but I find that the development to be to be problematic right we've had this open communications full since forever and now people are not using it and they are using it because they find that their users and people that they're trying to integrate and the project communities find piracy too hard to use so belief of the audience iris users we good but after having everyone happens going up so I do that using our Susie yes and the using our C. is hard I 1 joker 3 OK what brave souls who were willing to admit that that is true that piracy is hard so I had a very reason experience where I was working with a a young woman who wanted to volunteer as a member of the Open Source Initiative so I'm on the board of directors for the Open Source Initiative they are the on nonprofit organization that approves new open source software licenses and who protect and promote the value source software for worldwide so I can
volunteer there and I was working with someone who wanted to volunteer to help us find more volunteer help to do work that was good for the OSI like documenting best practices for open-source employment practices and things of that nature the so she came to me and she said you know what I have volunteer plan and here's what really do August the slack channel Morgan known by people and for office hours and didn't know was it was a good plan as American plan I did point out her she probably wanted to rethink the play in the context of using our see because as you know the OSI as the Open Source Initiative using a proprietary tool for communications of volunteers could potentially some the wrong message and many others in the way that we want to go about it she said so so I do most of well what do you like talking in the browser which is again a theory was so there's this this tool is proprietary but if you want if you wanna use that that's what the skull Iousy cloud you go to our Cycladic on sign in and then 0 yeah well OK so that's great assigned URI motors that's
wonderful that you have you have to pick a neck so nickname OK and then you have to you have to authenticate next served and you should try and then you have to set your flag so that you know you 1 like dollars on of the channel and like all you know if you just don't take these commands you get the manual that and she just looked at me and she was like why are we not using slacking again half I therefore would like this is this is so much overhead for so many people and were were in a place now where it's not like it once was where those words that the creators of technology a over here in their own bubble and there are very few consumers right people who are but the consumers of technology that's where everyone and if we make it difficult for them to get involved in the discussions that we have we're going to drive them into the arms of something that makes it very easy for them to participate and where it's easy to participate in the rest of us who are deeply concerned with issues like can we have the logs of the discussion of this offer project for ever is the someplace for academic researchers studying fast are able to get this information in and query at very if we lose that there's a problem and we're not losing that because users a stupid were losing that because the tools that we use seem to be so arcane to them and then returned them we tell them no no it's easy and it is not easy right there is all this knowledge that we have had in our heads for so long because even doing this for such a long time it just seems easy when really it's not to so we have a ridiculously steep learning curves in
open-source projects but I love this uh this is then this tagger was then used for all kinds of things this in particular include incarnation is a and Mama PGs but but this I was 1st introduced to as the learning curve for for Drupal so the cell and you will see the new 1 or more friendly content management systems operate so far we think of a steep learning curves as something what to be proud of right will you have to work really really hard and eventually
you become a master at what it is that you're doing and and fair enough right it takes a certain amount of time and energy invested to become skillful we know this to be true but it's also it is bizarre hazing ritual right like well you know I had worked really really hard and no 1 helped me in there was no manual when I did it you know I had to be forever figured out I had read all the source code myself a bit of the this is also be proud of right this is not something you did this is there is no magic honor and making someone suffer as you have suffered that's just sat right if we instead of having the steep learning curves of the light 1 movie and I was really hard we're really proud of ourselves it making it easy for people to engage with us not not that they should have to do no work now that they should have to have no investment not the shaft have no effort but to lower the barrier to entry so that at least becomes possible for them and then all of these poor little people falling off the cliff hating themselves at the bottom using your suffer like no 1 no 1 wants to be of a project with the the key will stick figures
arrangements of is like xk CD just had a out it right there the so the thing is very hard to and what was 1 of the not that
am of the ideas the the max so learning curve is great so nothing nothing with their easy the right some text editors are right and so easy you just wanna type some text and and save a file and you're done and all the way and then we make fun of people for using tools there too easy like note home this you're using notepad another using like geo-data
of inside once upon a time I was happy the a user and now I've I've submitted to GEO but on the right we we talk about people are using a conical easy versions of these the ones were some of the complexities of structured way as the idiots or or you know they're using residual working of the resistive is easy to what you just figured out and this is not this is not there are users don't about you know various key bindings and and learning arcane commands that really made sense 25 years ago they just want a text file and hit save meal the printed out and not have to go off the piece of paper and wonder what happened because we do not know what the White right like we cannot consistently think of things as easy and and have contempt for people when they can't figure it out themselves it's just it's just an effective instead of getting people through the
steep learning curves I wanted them through what Kathy Sierra the author of a book called trading passionate users I'll call the kick gas curve right so incest how soon can you help your users kick gaps how soon can you help them to be ridiculously productive and doing all the things that they wanted to do with your tool
as you see from this also oceanarium diagram of which I was like Justices K gas and it up to you know there's a sucker threshold right there's always going to be a time when you're learning something new that sucks it's not fun you feel stupid you wish you knew more right these things are just not that's why the idea is getting somebody through the threshold as quickly as possible so that they are kicking ass and then they become passionate advocates for what you're doing to become contributors people who feel good about the technology that they're using will tell other people to use it to people who feel good about the technology that they're using will say we hope
thank you if they don't send them to be I will explain what they should and people who feel passionate and good about what they're doing are just happier users and are happy users are going to create happy communities because there's would be more folks participating in free open source offer projects because they understand its value and they feel good about being there feeling foolish or ashamed were like people think they're stupid of so you while that is very fair and I is the gentleman has remarks and I and I I don't know like necessarily do I the this prove his claim that many people are stupid some people are passionate about stupid technology and eventually was attending Mr. always keynote yesterday there was a great deal of stupid technology on display including a Bluetooth-enabled pregnancy test which was not good but also apparently things I learned is you know that your Fitbit broadcast information any device that is trying to collect fit that information so if you're all aware that nice thing to the class I get all your data we people really like their bits I could call that stupid all I don't know that we're going to solve the problem of people that doing silly things I think it's just part of the human condition why we're always learning and but at the very least uh we can assume that that people who are passionate about stupidly when you're not working on the stupid things right so if you're already a the stupid things you have to spend any time with those people so this method does not for right the unless training paid work on stupid things in which case like you know that's going to different thank the and so I think 1 of the reasons why we have this this this issue within our community where were work kind are users is because we have this relentless pursuit of perfection right we wanna create the most amazing possible thing and the there is not stupid and that people will not be passed about using something stupid and and this is not only not good for our user community I don't think it's good for us right like how often have you ever think either at work or even working on a freeze of a project like work with the developer who just will not stop working on that feature over there on their own in private because they don't wanna show you in a work in progress because it's really bears no hands while people really
emotionally involved in my 10 years of experience with the stuff OK so like finance OK well clearly we have improved and that is lovely but but in my in my past experience at least as seen a great deal of people who simply because there is this relentless emphasis on quality or even this fear of being mocked or ashamed or you know told the year idiot if you submit the wrong feature to the mailing list right off a discussion that Dean of people and we have this this adversarial approach because we are so focused on everything being so great right that the perfect becomes the enemy of the good 1 really wants and it just works the this is sad and I
don't know what it says so workers was going to skip that and say quality is good like quality so I wanna conclude with that with a story that i think illustrates everything that I've been talking to you
folks about today and this is the story of a young 1 by the mental Byron so once upon a time Google Summer of Code was created in Google Summer of Code for those who are not familiar with it is a program in which a Google pays university students to work on open source offer projects and all they they work with a mentor from an open source project given source project is not is usually not technology that's used by Google or a particular company and the idea is simply to give students access to real worlds offer development experience so that when they shop at companies they have only worked on lab projects would like to 3 students involved with them and that never had been maintains the real world experience so Bianchi had always been interested you know this whole open-sourcing it really really jive with her of political views as a young woman like she really that was cool that there is this notion of like free speech is part of this all the process but you never thought you'd be good enough to be open source of operators those people are geniuses not like me and you know she was a community college students
on but I don't know if there's an analog here in Germany like trade school like you go to university for like 2 years as the 4 years so you know not as prestigious as a university education and so you know she just she borrows typical than offer and then this program came along it was like well wow you know hey if they're saying that it could be collagens like I could do that I want apply wanna be involved so as part of the 1st ever Summer of Code and she was asked whether will project great so she wanders and accountable and says like how I I said the here my name's scandium 1 of your Summer of Code student I'm really looking forward to this slide in writing PHP for this long and I'm being it's really great and I'm really excited of open source software and and this is all the super cool like this is to be great I'm I'm really excited and this was the response you got go away in this channel is for serious developers always right now I
did this so would then invited to participate in the project as someone with very little experience right this was the this is very similar to like this is and this these pictures By the way are comic that drew years later to talk about her 1st experience with the idea of Drupal project so this from the horse's mouth as it as they said and this is a reaction
of might I love this because she's hiding under a blanket which is this is supposed to be a blanket so she just had a miserable time it was very sad and it was horrible it she went away were it not for the fact that she committed to do this like super fancy program with the Google people's futures was stop doing open-source period so that was once upon a time in 2005 today Angela Byron is 1 of the cornerstones of the Drupal project she was the maintainer for of hierarchically Drupal 7 but she has been working as a advocate she has tirelessly helps to get more people involved in open source software particularly through on warning mechanisms like Drupal's dojo project where newcomers to the project appeared with event
were and you can uphold through that steep learning curve that many people are proud of it and again if if she hadn't had the benefit of that experience that that you know she had to keep going because this was some big fancy project with google you lost her who lost a because we would have said go away your stupid this channel literature is developers only and you have nothing to offer us you are not technical you are not cool enough uses a stupid go away and this is why I keep advocating that when we carry these attitudes within ourselves in this is how we we behave we cut ourselves up from the opportunity of finding the Angela barons of the world right we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to learn to grow into potentially find people who can completely change the face of our project the and I just 1 and with a with a with a quick plug to when
we carry those attitudes are more often than not bad attitude is you are not enough like me to be equal you were not a developer like we do not understand see like me you do not do systems firming like me etc. when we carry these out is what we're really doing is effectively saying you're not like so you're not good enough and when we think that people were not like us are not good enough to help us be better they're not good enough to give us good feedback they're not good enough to give us something that is valuable and worthwhile we
create stuff that sucks and it sucks because only good for us and ostensibly we'd like it to be useful to the much wider world otherwise why would we release the wider world and my friends is my rant I new user please let me
thank you few
electrons 1 because the only because this is the only conference were actually managed to speak for the appropriate length of time instants being really quickly wall collection told everybody that the international symbol of slow down if I'm speaking too fast you should slow down well obviously does not useful for now excellence well but file oils of getting of of exhilarating questions the people nice man the stairs what is your question the the a only you you what the the now we have that you the people it out I want the listening it you paper is made from 3 years and is the hoping this just a don't the the what you bees on all related it is also 1 way yes you know the the the hospitals so far in the in the for the it that and we have it also to you so will get of my the but this I think so I think tend to call a question that the question is how can we interact with the user community so that they are instead of asking us for a faster horse they're asking us for car so I think that really goes back to education right and this this again is where poor documentation bytes as in the rear and so somebody and expects you to work on a compelling you know to expect you work on CBS on what you really wanna do is gratefully with alternatives to it you know the only way that you're going to help nudge them in the right direction is to explain to them very clearly what it is you're doing and why you're doing it that way and sometimes this is as simple as like a 1 minute video tutorials like a screencast of going through some common command using your program so that so many others and the call this is what I need to do often people come to and a piece of software with a lot of legacy assumptions about how it's supposed to work because of everything that they've used before and we're providing them doesn't look familiar to them they go quite in the I while I had before and forget all of the pain points that took sentence screaming from this horrible thing before the new thing right so again taking people through a kind of the features that the ones in the how's and why's even if it's just really briefly like it's very easy to pop open and know your video have trees offer a choice sir if you know if you're OK with user proprietors operators of a Google Hangouts silica here's what I'm doing here's why it works this way here's why I think this will help make you more productive work what why will be easier for you to use up what I've created this way things so much as i . collapse and sometimes it's very silly you just you know excellent I see that maybe you had not want to be a tutorial on the mutual tend to whole minutes of your life and that's all you need to know what of you know and education is key I think and you know sometimes people images asking for silly stuff in the best way to nudge them is to nudge them toward somebody's project you know like know when I would never ever group any other questions if you yes SYS men thing I you In the last part yes OK so an actual was how did for technical users how do you move them from being users to contributors all so I'm going to start with the horrible lawyer answer of it depends on but I think that 1 of the ways that you to make that possible is to make sure that your users are most fully empowered actually rather than trying to go into a very long time the isolation of the summer like to refer you to a piece by John Lennon Mikhail Rogers who wrote about the process of creating the node j ust Foundation and the difference out layers of involvement and there were no specific plan for use a moving users to contributors had a lot to do with their governance model and how they encourage participation the project so if you were a but reporter and then you are encouraged to submit a patch and you know people would mentor you through the process of creating 1 making sure you knew about the style guide so it was a combination of advocacy education and you know telling people that they were appreciated I think a lot of getting people from going from you know drive by random comments to sticking around is but in the newly care right like I actually appreciate year there and in turn I would like you to appreciate the fact that work really hard on what I've created but I do not remember the article title but I will get it for you and these are some of the other humans who want to ask things machines what the our at the back the loners forces what is the right and all my yes but let know the the of and what the model is going on and the a right so the question is in order to make sure that people are effectively able to participate in the open source community do we need to put the user 1st as part of the design process of because he's very rare and I am going to say yes yes absolutely I think that this is a great idea and we should totally do this out and I appreciate the point that you made about having a responsibility to do that because I really feel like if we do not put a focus on the end user as part of our offer development process is exactly as you said people will not use free software but I think that GeneGo hills essay about the fact that do for a user of free software the most important feature of that software is that it is free and I respect that a great deal but I cannot go to my family and tell them to please please please make use of freight open-source software because it's so important because it's free you know it's it's it's it respect your freedom there to say yes that's great 1 think you I just need added a text file right and it's so without that relentless focus on the user and quality for the user we're going to lose people I think that had has sat implications for us is technologies but I think it has some implications for the way the world works so thank you and appreciate your point I We also because if not we can all the coffee which you know is compelling I do begin image preheated at the end