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Assholes are killing your project (OSCON)
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Assholes are killing your project (OSCON)


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The strength of your community is the best predictor of your project’s long-term viability. What happens when that community is gradually infiltrated by assholes, who infect everyone else with their …

The strength of your community is the best predictor of your project’s long-term viability. What happens when that community is gradually infiltrated by assholes, who infect everyone else with their constant negativity and personal attacks? Although someone may be a valuable technical contributor, that person will never contribute as much to the project as the many others who are scared away and demotivated.

This talk will teach you about the dramatic impact assholes are having on your organization today and will show you how you can begin to repair it.

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  • 1. Assholes are killing your project
  • 2. Community is critical ContributorsReputation Results
  • 3. Your ability to get resultsdepends on your community.
  • 4. What makes a great community?Most of us Assholes The best
  • 5. Proving the problem: Gentoo Assholes removed Ubuntu launches Proto-assholes start receiving complaints Ohloh
  • 6. Proving the problem: Glibc Move to Git Drepper leaves Ohloh
  • 7. What isnt an asshole?Conflict is good
  • 8. What is an asshole? Look for patterns
  • 9. Assholes who look noble on the surface● Cookie licking● Manipulative behaviors for “community good”● Backchannelers
  • 10. What is an asshole? Two tests1. After talking to the asshole, does the target feel oppressed, humiliated, de-energized, or belittled?2. Does the asshole target those less powerful?
  • 11. How many goodinteractions doesit take to cancelout one bad one? Sutton
  • 12. Sutton
  • 13. Sutton
  • 14. Sutton
  • 15. Sutton
  • 16. Nuancing Impact● Assholes don’t vex equally● Serious impact on community diversity leads to further degradation of community health
  • 17. Men tend to Fight Pearson & Porath Flickr: undergroundbastard
  • 18. Women tend towardFlight Pearson & Porath Flickr: noeluap
  • 19. Problems assholes cause to targets● 48% decreased their effort● 47% worked less time● 38% dropped their quality● 66% declined in performance● 80% lost time worrying● 63% lost time avoiding● 78% became less committed● 25% quit; 20% of witnesses quit! Sutton
  • 20. Cascadingeffectsamplifythe problem Flickr: wsdot
  • 21. Problems assholes cause to projects● Reduced innovation & creativity● Reduced cooperation & cohesion● Cost of targets retribution toward project● Impaired cooperation from external projects & people● Impaired ability to attract the best & brightest● Recruiting more assholes Sutton
  • 22. TCA: Total Cost of Asshole Team lead+ Developer relations team+ Project leadership+ Recruiting & training new developers+ Targets & witnesses __________________ Total Cost of Asshole Sutton
  • 23. An asshole is incompetent Flickr: escapo
  • 24. Dealingwith Assholes a.k.a.How to Steel Your Spine
  • 25. How do you fix it? Flickr: trp0
  • 26. Flickr: kalandrakas
  • 27. Flickr: hashir
  • 28. Flickr: shannonmary
  • 29. How do you prevent it? Flickr: redefyne
  • 30. Be quantitative Flickr: koenvereeken
  • 31. Keep your standards high Flickr: soldiersmediacenter
  • 32. Provide expectations Flickr: mount_otz
  • 33. Want to learn more? Read these
  • 34. In the long run,dealing with assholes is never worth it.
  • 35. Donnie Berkholzdberkholz@redmonk.comTwitter/IRC: dberkholzLeslie Hawthornhawthorn@redhat.comTwitter: lhawthornIRC: lh