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Assholes are killing your project (FOSDEM)

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Assholes are killing your project (FOSDEM)

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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 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, using quantified data and academic research from the social sciences, about the dramatic impact assholes are having on your organization today and 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 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, using quantified data and academic research from the social sciences, about the dramatic impact assholes are having on your organization today and how you can begin to repair it.

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Assholes are killing your project (FOSDEM)

  1. 1. Assholes are killing your project
  2. 2. Proving the problem: Gentoo Assholes removed Ubuntu launches Proto-assholes start receiving complaints Ohloh
  3. 3. Proving the problem: Glibc Move to Git Drepper inactive Ohloh
  4. 4. What isn't an asshole? Conflict is good
  5. 5. What is an asshole? A simple test After talking to the asshole, does the target feel oppressed, humiliated, de-energized, or belittled?
  6. 6. What is an asshole? Look for patterns
  7. 7. How many good interactions does it take to cancel out one bad one? Sutton
  8. 8. Sutton
  9. 9. Sutton
  10. 10. Sutton
  11. 11. Sutton
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. TCA: Total Cost of Asshole Team lead + Developer relations team + Project leadership + Recruiting & training new developers + Targets & witnesses __________________ Total Cost of Asshole Sutton
  15. 15. An asshole is incompetent Flickr: escapo
  16. 16. How do you fix it? Flickr: trp0
  17. 17. Flickr: kalandrakas
  18. 18. Flickr: hashir
  19. 19. How do you prevent it? Flickr: redefyne
  20. 20. Be quantitative Flickr: koenvereeken
  21. 21. Provide expectations Flickr: mount_otz
  22. 22. Want to learn more? Read these
  23. 23. In the long run, dealing with assholes is never worth it.
  24. 24. Donnie Berkholz dberkholz@redmonk.com Twitter/IRC: dberkholz

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