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Assholes are killing your project

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Assholes are killing your project

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The strength of your community is the best predictor of your project’s long-term viability. What happens when your community is gradually infiltrated by assholes, who infect everyone else with their constant negativity and personal attacks? 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.

The strength of your community is the best predictor of your project’s long-term viability. What happens when your community is gradually infiltrated by assholes, who infect everyone else with their constant negativity and personal attacks? 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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Assholes are killing your project

  1. 1. Assholes are killing your project
  2. 2. Reputation Results Contributors The Community Circle
  3. 3. Your ability to get results depends on your community.
  4. 4. What makes a great community? The best Assholes Most of us
  5. 5. What isn't an asshole? Conflict is good You need to differentiate between personal attacks and technical criticisms.
  6. 6. What is an asshole? Two tests <ul><li>After talking to the asshole, does the target feel oppressed, humiliated, de-energized, or belittled?
  7. 7. Does the asshole target those less powerful? </li></ul>
  8. 8. What is an asshole? Look for patterns Everyone has a bad day sometimes. For assholes, every day is a bad day.
  9. 9. How many good interactions does it take to cancel out one bad one?
  10. 13. 5 good for 1 bad. Your team needs 5/6 positive people just to break even!
  11. 14. Fight Flickr: undergroundbastard Men tend to
  12. 15. Flight Flickr: noeluap Women tend toward By tolerating assholes, you alienate women
  13. 16. Problems assholes cause to targets <ul><li>48% decreased their effort
  14. 17. 47% worked less time
  15. 18. 38% dropped their quality
  16. 19. 66% declined in performance
  17. 20. 80% lost time worrying
  18. 21. 63% lost time avoiding
  19. 22. 78% became less committed
  20. 23. 25% quit; 20% of witnesses quit! </li></ul>
  21. 24. Cascading effects amplify the problem Flickr: wsdot Cascading effects amplify the problem
  22. 25. Flickr: wsdot Word of mouth transforms one asshole into an avalanche
  23. 26. Problems assholes cause to projects <ul><li>Reduced innovation & creativity
  24. 27. Reduced cooperation & cohesion
  25. 28. Cost of targets' retribution toward project
  26. 29. Impaired cooperation from external projects & people
  27. 30. Impaired ability to attract the best & brightest
  28. 31. Recruiting more assholes </li></ul>
  29. 32. TCA: Total Cost of Asshole Team lead Developer relations team Project leadership Recruiting & training new developers Targets & witnesses __________________ Total Cost of Asshole + + + +
  30. 33. An asshole is incompetent Flickr: escapo Social and technical ability are orthogonal. One never balances out the other.
  31. 34. How do you fix it? Flickr: trp0
  32. 35. Flickr: kalandrakas Personal interactions— Have a conference
  33. 36. Flickr: hashir People need somewhere to complain and a sense that action will happen— rapid feedback
  34. 37. Flickr: shannonmary Are you here to fix people or accomplish your goals? At some point, it's time to cut off the detour.
  35. 38. How do you prevent it? Flickr: redefyne
  36. 39. Flickr: koenvereeken Be quantitative Show that social aspects have metrics, too. Developers believe numbers.
  37. 40. Flickr: soldiersmediacenter What are your standards? Is “good” really good enough? You are a SWAT team, you need great!
  38. 41. Flickr: mount_otz Provide expectations Nobody knows your culture when they start. Do you want them to learn it from an asshole? Provide a code of conduct.
  39. 42. Want to learn more? Read these
  40. 43. In the long run, dealing with assholes is never worth it.
  41. 44. Donnie Berkholz Gentoo Linux [email_address]

Editor's Notes

  • Why do I think you came to this talk? Why am I giving it?
  • Community is critical Best predictor of long-term viability How do you attract new contributors and users? Your brand. Function of your ability to create results. Key point: Ability to accomplish your mission
  • Good to Great Continual improvement – greatness is a process Metrics Are a few assholes balanced by a few amazing people? – come back to this later
  • Intent to harm not required Difference between how a person treats the powerless and the powerful is a great judge of character
  • Pattern! States vs traits. Consistency across places and times Tolerance builds up over time. You don&apos;t realize who&apos;s an asshole.
  • Are a few assholes balanced by a few amazing people? Negative interactions 5x worse than positive
  • Are a few assholes balanced by a few amazing people? Negative interactions 5x worse than positive
  • Are a few assholes balanced by a few amazing people? Negative interactions 5x worse than positive
  • Are a few assholes balanced by a few amazing people? Negative interactions 5x worse than positive
  • Are a few assholes balanced by a few amazing people? Negative interactions 5x worse than positive
  • Male targets: reciprocity Female targets: avoidance (Pearson &amp; Porath) – pic: fight vs flight Targets hold leaders at fault Role models
  • Male targets: reciprocity Female targets: avoidance (Pearson &amp; Porath) – pic: fight vs flight Targets hold leaders at fault Role models
  • External cooperation &amp; recruitment: based on reputation, caused by word of mouth Recruitment is different in FLOSS from biz; everyone has the power
  • Refusal to confront reality Dreadful stats - 50% of targets considered quitting, 12% of targets quit. One asshole, multiple targets. Reputation: word of mouth. Cascade
  • Technical and social ability are orthogonal. A good coder has one; a good developer has both.
  • Personal interactions Modeling Reporting: encourage; have a place; respond; rapid feedback Is it your job to change them?
  • Personal interactions Modeling
  • Reporting: encourage; have a place; respond; rapid feedback
  • Is it your job to change them?
  • Culture is like molasses, not like code. Problem of change in diffuse organizations: persuasion, shared interests, reputation
  • Be quantitative
  • Recruitment standards – is “good” good enough?
  • Clear expectations set a baseline: code of conduct
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