OpenThreads: The Community of OpenStreetMap Mailing List

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OpenStreetMap exists with what Gabriella Coleman calls a collaborative ethical temperament - one that explicitly honors transparency, accessibility, and openness for the purpose of participation. …

OpenStreetMap exists with what Gabriella Coleman calls a collaborative ethical temperament - one that explicitly honors transparency, accessibility, and openness for the purpose of participation. Vibrant and open dialog is key in encouraging and facilitating this participation. But are the doors really open to anyone?

In this talk Alyssa will introduce openthreads, a platform for the analysis and visualization of listserves. Through the openthreads methodology, alongside various visualizations of OSM mailing lists, she’ll demonstrate how OSM dialogs start and exist over time. Who has a voice? What does it mean to participate in OSM discussions? And what can we do to hold ourselves accountable in creating an even more diverse community of participation?

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  • 1. OpenThreadsthe community of open street map mailing lists@alyssapwright
  • 2. Teaser.graphs! data! sex! oh my!** in this context sex equates with gender
  • 3. fwdnewreply600030000Messages By Type Messages By Genderfemalemaleunknown800040000OSM DEVMessages By Day2010 2011 2012 20132040600Dates: Jan 2010 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 992* | Messages: 13446 | Threads: 2496
  • 4. fwdnewreply1600080000Messages By Type Messages By Genderfemalemaleunknown20000100000OSM TALKMessages By Day2010 2011 2012 201340801200Dates: Jan 2010 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 1094 | Messages: 20554 | Threads: 3065
  • 5. femalemaleunknown14007000Messages By Genderfwdnewreply200010000Messages By TypeTalk USMessages By Day2008 2010 2011 20132050600Dates: December 2007 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 397 | Messages: 10753 | Threads: 199720122009
  • 6. female (11%)male (61%)unknown (28%)14007000Messages By Genderfwdnewreply200010000Messages By TypeHOT OSMMessages By Day2010 2011 2012 20131020300Dates: March 2010 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 331 | Messages: 3180 | Threads: 942
  • 7. Don’t you have a hobby?why do this.
  • 8. apw217member since May 2007
  • 9. ART
  • 10. Every Metro StationMadrid, Spain
  • 11. Then I left.I didn’t know about community.
  • 12. apwrightmember since March 2013
  • 13. US
  • 14. Hello World.The “Community” is OSM
  • 15. See the US Bylaws, Local Charter Agreement,OSM US website, MapBox Knight NewsChallenge, every media quote, OSM Press Kit,and too many academic papers to count.Proof
  • 16. Who is our community?
  • 17. Who is our community?Seeking well-educated (white) male with apenchant for high paying tech jobs.Academics also accepted.
  • 18. What was that?Where are the women, you ask?
  • 19. -----interactive session!-----
  • 20. female representation in geospatial industry?
  • 21. 40%Census 2000 and 2009 American Community Surveyfemale representation in geospatial industry?
  • 22. female graduates from geospatial programs?
  • 23. 34%National GIS Academic Program Survey 2012female graduates from geospatial programs?
  • 24. female computer science graduates ?
  • 25. 25%female computer science graduates ?
  • 26. % of women who have heard of OSM?
  • 27. 23%% of women who have heard of OSM?Stephens 2013
  • 28. % of women speakers at this conference?
  • 29. % of women speakers at this conference?12%
  • 30. % of women contributors in OpenStreetMap?
  • 31. 3%Budhathoki et al 2010 | Stark 2011 | Lechner 2011% of women contributors in OpenStreetMap?
  • 32. % of women participants in open source?
  • 33. 1%% of women participants in open source?Ghosh et al. 2002
  • 34. How did this happen?
  • 35. There are many possible reasons...
  • 36. Maybe the few restrictions on how peopletreat each other creates permission fordiscrimination.Reagle, 2013
  • 37. Maybe there is inertia. I mean, this was acommunity started by men with a particularideology...why fight men stuck in theirways?Judd Atkin, 2012
  • 38. Maybe there’s an incentive and motivationgap. (e.g., Women and men relate to awardstructures differently.)Judd Atkin, 2012
  • 39. Maybe women and men have differentcommunication styles and the currentconversations just ain’t cutting it forboth.Judd Atkin, 2012
  • 40. Maybe there’s active hostility towardswomen.Wikipedia, 2012
  • 41. Why does this matter?
  • 42. “Maybe girls just don’t like
  • 43. computers,
  • 44. or maps,
  • 45. or open stuff.”(paraphrased mansplaining)
  • 46. “Maybe OSM
  • 47. is a man’s field,
  • 48. like construction work
  • 49. or firefighting.”(paraphrased from OSGeo)
  • 50. (was that uncomfortable?)
  • 51. This is a serious problem.
  • 52. 01
  • 53. Maps are biased bythe norms, traditions,assumptions, and politicalbiases of the map maker.J.B Harley 198901
  • 54. tag=amenity=baby_hatchA baby hatch is a place where mothers canbring their babies, usually newborn, andleave them anonymously in a safe place to befound and cared for. A baby hatch is alsoknown as "safe haven".Monica Stephens 2013
  • 55. tag=amenity=kindergartenA kindergarten, also known as a nursery orplaygroup. A place for looking afterpreschool children and (typically) givingearly education.Monica Stephens 2013
  • 56. proposed feature=childcareMonica Stephens 2013A place for children to do homework, playand spend time otherwise after school orkindergarten.
  • 57. Monica Stephens 2013
  • 58. J.B Harley 1989
  • 59. J.B Harley 1989
  • 60. 02
  • 61. Open source communitiesserve as a model forcivic engagement.02
  • 62. 03
  • 63. The collective intelligenceof diversityLam et al 2011 | Callahan & Herring 2011
  • 64. not only expands the reach of our mapsLam et al 2011 | Callahan & Herring 2011The collective intelligenceof diversity
  • 65. but the sustainability of our tools.Lam et al 2011 | Callahan & Herring 2011
  • 66. In case you were sleeping:
  • 67. The future of our workdepends on “converting” morewhite males
  • 68. and more other under-represented groups.
  • 69. So, what can we do?
  • 70. Stop being assholes?
  • 71. The mailing listtemper tantrum.
  • 72. The joust fortechnical supremacy.
  • 73. Hi Newbie: Read thefucking manual?
  • 74. Stop engaging?
  • 75. The hesitation...to ask for help,to participate,to question.
  • 76. Doesn’t matter.Mailing lists suckanyway.
  • 77. It’s not the toolIt’s the interaction.
  • 78. Start LookingStart gathering dataabout what’s really going on.
  • 79. Measured ProgressStart gender focused initiativeswith measurable goals.
  • 80. And do it together.WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE.
  • 81. OpenThreads
  • 82. Looks at the rhetoric of onlinecommunications acknowledging them ascomplicated spaces. Rife with the messinessof human relationships.
  • 83. Mailing lists have been important platformsfor online interaction. We can learn fromthem as we create future social spaces.
  • 84. Methodology
  • 85. 00Assemble the TeamSeamus TuohyTech Lead | Rhetorical Analysis (Open Technology Institute)Georgia BullenCreative Lead | Data Visualization (Open Technology Institute)Alyssa WrightProduct Manager | Professional Nagging (OpenGeo)
  • 86. 01Frame the ProblemOpen GovernmentMemorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
  • 87. 02Ask the Questions
  • 88. 03Structure the DataParticipantauthor of an emailMessagebody of an emailThreadseries of messages posted as replies to each other
  • 89. 03participantparticipantIDtotalPostsaverageRepliesstarter : threads started / total #engagement : Average number of replies a user has per threadresponse : replies/ totalcontrol : # of replies / # threads started by participanttimeSpent : total time spentnamelistgenderentryTimelastPostmessagesthreadstype: participant
  • 90. 03messagemsgIDlistminutes : time spent metric - words per email (given a words perminute count)msgType : message type, categorical (forward, question, reply, ...)date : sent timedategender : gender of the senderthreadIDparticipantIDtype: message
  • 91. 03threadthreadIDwritingTime : minutes spentliststart timedateend timedatecalendarTime: total calendar time of the threadgenderBalance : count of genderparticipantsmessagestype: thread
  • 92. 04Parse the Mailing ListsTypesdiscussion | user | developerFormatpipermail | mailmanTechnologycouchDB | python | d3
  • 93. 04https://github.com/elationfoundation/openThreadsgithub
  • 94. 04http://bit.ly/17Ai1L4sketches
  • 95. 05Visualize to AnalyzeAn initial observation
  • 96. Messages By Genderfemale (5%)male (94%)unknown (2%)20000100000female (5%)male (87%)unknown (8%)10005000Gender of ParticipantsOSM TalkDates: Jan 2010 - May 2013User Profiles: 1094 | Messages: 20554 | Threads: 3065Gender of Participantsfemale (3%)male (88%)unknown (9%)7503750Messages By Genderfemale (3%)male (96%)unknown (1%)800040000OSM DEVDates: Jan 2010 - May 2013User Profiles: 992 | Messages: 13446 | Threads: 2496
  • 97. female (4%)male (95%)unknown (1%)14007000Messages By GenderGender of Participantsfemale (11%)male (58%)unknown (31%)2501250Talk USDates: December 2007 - May 2013User Profiles: 397 | Messages: 10753 | Threads: 1997Messages By Genderfemale (5%)male (94%)unknown (2%)20000100000female (5%)male (87%)unknown (8%)10005000Gender of ParticipantsOSM TalkDates: Jan 2010 - May 2013User Profiles: 1094 | Messages: 20554 | Threads: 3065
  • 98. female (21%)male (46%)unknown (33%)14007000Messages By Genderfemale (11%)male (61%)unknown (28%)2501250Gender of ParticipantsHOT OSMDates: March 2010 - May 2013User Profiles: 331 | Messages: 3180 | Threads: 942Gender of Participantsfemale (11%)male (58%)unknown (31%)2501250female (4%)male (95%)unknown (1%)14007000Messages By GenderTalk USDates: December 2007 - May 2013User Profiles: 397 | Messages: 10753 | Threads: 1997
  • 99. OSM DEVTALK OSMTALK USHOT OSMGender of Participants100%50%0Messages by Gender100%50%0FemaleMaleUnknown
  • 100. fwdnewreply600030000Messages By Type Messages By Genderfemale (3%)male (96%)unknown (1%)800040000OSM DEVMessages By Day2010 2011 2012 20132040600Dates: Jan 2010 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 992* | Messages: 13446 | Threads: 2496
  • 101. fwdnewreply1600080000Messages By Type Messages By Genderfemale (5%)male (94%)unknown (2%)800040000OSM TALKMessages By Day2010 2011 2012 201340801200Dates: Jan 2010 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 1094 | Messages: 20554 | Threads: 3065
  • 102. female (4%)male (95%)unknown (1%)14007000Messages By Genderfwdnewreply200010000Messages By TypeTalk USMessages By Day2008 2010 2011 20132050600Dates: December 2007 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 397 | Messages: 10753 | Threads: 199720122009
  • 103. female (21%)male (46%)unknown (33%)14007000Messages By Genderfwdnewreply200010000Messages By TypeHOT OSMMessages By Day2010 2011 2012 20131020300Dates: March 2010 - May 2013 | User Profiles: 331 | Messages: 3180 | Threads: 942
  • 104. Technical ChallengesPeople use multiple e-mails/namesidentifying the identity behind a voice can be difficultGender is difficult to parserequires community reviewHeaders: StandardizedBodies: Not StandardizedEmail datesvaries in format05
  • 105. 06What’s Next?
  • 106. 06Activity ScoreQuantity of initiated messagesQuantity of responsesTime taken to respond
  • 107. 06Influence ScoreInitiated conversationsRatio of initial poster vs others in the threadDialogue with new people
  • 108. 06Relation ScoreMale > Male | Female > FemaleMale > Female | Female > Male
  • 109. 06Keep Going.more lists +more questions +more visualizations +more analysis +more awareness +more self-reflection +more focused initiatives =more diversity + better OSM
  • 110. OpenThreadshttps://github.com/elationfoundation/openThreads@alyssapwright
  • 111. Appendix
  • 112. GNOME
  • 113. Internship for GNOME project10 OSS project involvedSuccess
  • 114. Address women directly.Accept non-students and non-coders.Connect women with mentors.Require a contributionNo pressure for really ambitious projects.Approach
  • 115. Etsy
  • 116. GNOMEattracted 500% more female engineersSuccess
  • 117. GNOMEInvesttrained junior women for hiringPartneralliances with other organizationsMake a Public Standsuccess breeds successApproach
  • 118. RecommendationAddress GenderMake gender an explicit part of anyintervention. Increasing gender increasesrepresentation of other groups as well.
  • 119. Personal RecommendationConsciously come from a place of trust.Do not attack.Make a public commitment.Talk openly about what’s not working.Use research to focus on action.