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Smashing the Barriers to OSS Contribution


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In this presentation, we discuss the challenges facing neurodivergent individuals when contributing to open source, brainstorm solutions to these challenges, and hope to come together as a community to create an open source guide as a reference for other OSS communities to use to be more inclusive of those that are neurodiverse and wanting to contribute to an OSS project.

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Smashing the Barriers to OSS Contribution

  1. 1. Smashing the Barriers to OSS Contribution Facilitator: Kiran “Rin” Oliver [@kiran_oliver, GitHub @celanthe, Pronouns: They/She] Currently job seeking!
  2. 2. About This Session ● The goal of this session is to identify challenges and pain points that neurodiverse people experience when contributing to OSS, and to brainstorm solutions to these challenges, which will then be compiled into a guide/ learning resource for the OSS community as a whole. ● We will be participating in a group activity to help facilitate conversation ● No question or contribution to the discussion is too small! If you do not feel comfortable sharing, that’s okay too. ● Make space for people of all experiences. Be kind. Twitter: @kiran_oliver
  3. 3. Introductions [Image description: Baby wolf howling in field of green grass and purple flowers. Text reads: “Please feel free to introduce yourself. (Smiley face) ] Twitter: @kiran_oliver
  4. 4. What is neurodiversity? ● Neurodiversity is an umbrella term for the following: Autism, ADD/ADHD, Tourette’s, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, specific speech conditions, and sensory processing conditions. Now, on to the fun!
  5. 5. Breakout Activity ● Break out into pairs or groups of three ● Discuss the challenges you have faced when contributing to OSS as a neurodiverse individual, if you identify as such, or the challenges you have faced contributing to OSS even as someone who is neurotypical. Participants will put each item on a separate sticky note. ● I ask that neurotypical participants also add on their sticky notes how their challenge[s] would have been made more difficult if they were neurodiverse. *You do not have to disclose your neurodiversity status if you don’t feel comfortable doing so!* ● Participants will then put the sticky notes on a wall, and I will then organise the questions on the sticky notes into related clusters and ask participants to identify any themes that are present. These themes will then be grouped. Twitter: @kiran_oliver
  6. 6. Discussion ● Let’s work together to further identify the themes, if there are any, that are present from our sticky notes! ● What insights do you have after looking at the grouped notes? [image description: Man in sunglasses and a white t-shirt sprinkling seasoning on food] Twitter: @kiran_oliver
  7. 7. Digging Deeper: Finding Solutions ● Brainstorm: What are some potential solutions to the challenges presented on our sticky notes? How do these solutions differ based on scope? Twitter: @kiran_oliverImage description: Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter saying, “I checked this out weeks ago for a bit of light reading.”
  8. 8. What We’ve Learned ● Now that we’ve identified these issues, let’s gather all of the information. ● Explore how themes on the chart intersect with one another, and what we’ve learned from these intersections. Twitter: @kiran_oliver Image description -- A red oval in the center of a whiteboard, with 8 various rectangles surrounding it. Each rectangle has an arrow pointingback towards the red oval. A hand holding a marker is in the right hand corner.
  9. 9. My Experience in OSS as a Neurodiverse Person [Image description: L: Baby with brown hair and a green and white shirt clenching fist triumphantly. Text reads: “YESSS! I love story time!” R: MozFest Neurodiversity Space Logo] Twitter: @kiran_oliver
  10. 10. Wrap Up & Next Steps ● Are you interested in participating in the creation of an open source GitHub Repository to create a guide detailing what we have learned in this session? Please contact me on Twitter @kiran_oliver or on GitHub @celanthe. Thank you so much for coming to my presentation! I truly appreciate it! Twitter: @kiran_oliverImage description: Rainbow text on tan background saying ‘Thank you!” with Pusheenthe cat (a large, cutely stylised gray cat) underneath it.