Eclipse Community Forums
Forum Search:

Search      Help    Register    Login    Home
Home » General (non-technical) » Eclipse Foundation » Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community
Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1278711] Thu, 27 March 2014 18:50 Go to next message
Tamar Cohen is currently offline Tamar Cohen
Messages: 100
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
Hi all --

Kim Moir and I had an excellent discussion at EclipseCon about how to encourage diversity at the conference, which started an email thread that I thought we could open up to the wider community. I am not a diversity expert at all, but I definitely noticed the demographic at EclipseCon tended to be white men, and tended to be seasoned software developers. I would love to see our community become more diverse, both at EclipseCon and outside of it. I'm particularly interested in getting more women involved, but other races and more junior developers would be great too.

Here are some of the ideas we were emailing about:

Having a bigger intro track at EclipseCon:
My young, female coworker who came to the conference told me that at the beginning of the conference she felt very overwhelmed, in combination because there were so many men but more so that everyone was older than she is, and way more expert than she is. I think if the conference had an intro track, both for overview of what are the different areas of Eclipse and then more in depth, how to use it as an IDE, how to develop RCP, that sort of thing.

KM: I think there is a cognitive bias because many of the current program committee members are people who have worked in the community for many years and thus are advanced users. Then the talks they pick are quite advanced.

Documentation:
I also still think that Eclipse documentation is a very weak area, and having a "documentathon" where people get together and flesh out some documentation would be great.

Project assistance:
I also think that a lot of the time I get stuck on something that should be more straightforward (i.e. if we had better documentation) but it's not, and I get stuck (and I'm not a novice)... and then I end up asking for help on the newsgroups, but having a "help me on my project" room I think would be very cool.

Infrastructure examples:
Having a showcase of infrastructure things for how people use Eclipse in their corporations / institutions might be good too, and having a forum to discuss what works and what doesn't work. For example the majority of people I work with detest IDEs, especially Eclipse, and have an idea that it is really slow and heavy and requires mousing, and so they just use emacs and command line and have no visual debugger (gak).

So all of these ideas get more along the lines of making developing in or on or with Eclipse more accessible, but not really focused on women. I think having specific women-focused events, speakers, and mentors would be wonderful.

From Kim:
I'm not sure how much reading you've done about how to make communities more inclusive and diverse. I've done some on the geek feminism wiki, the Ada iniative posts, and also Ashe Dryden writes a lot of great posts. In fact, she is a consultant who is paid to make open source communities more diverse.

Jessica McKellar has done stellar work in making the of Python community and PyCon speakers more diverse.

http://pyvideo.org/video/719/diversity-in-practice-how-the-boston-python-user
http://pyfound.blogspot.ca/2013/08/congratulations-to-jessica-mckellar.html

As an aside, there she also had an open invitation to the Python community to serve on the program committee for PyCon. For instance, even if you were new to Python, you could volunteer to review talk submissions and vote. Very cool.

I also think that there could be more than just one woman on the program committee next year. People like Alexandra Schladebeck, Mélanie Bats, Beth Tibbits come to mind. I'm sure there are more.

I think there needs to be a lot of work done to make the community more inclusive as a whole before we get more women or other minority groups to submit talk proposals.

I would like to make this push for diversity to include some men in the community too. It is not the role of the minorities to do all the work to make a community more diverse, we need the community as a whole to support it.

Tamar again:
Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to read this, any ideas or discussion we can get going would be excellent.

Thanks!
Tamar



Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1279162 is a reply to message #1278711] Fri, 28 March 2014 10:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Paul Verest is currently offline Paul Verest
Messages: 32
Registered: March 2013
Member
Eclipse community representation from non-English speaking world is also week.
Some used services like Youtube, Wordpress are not available in China, so using them is ignoring China special case.
Eclipse IDE is not optimized for use with slow and unstable Internet connection, e.g. Africa, overpopulated China.
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1280514 is a reply to message #1279162] Sun, 30 March 2014 13:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gunnar Wagenknecht is currently offline Gunnar Wagenknecht
Messages: 452
Registered: July 2009
Location: Germany ✈ Vancouver
Senior Member

Paul,

On 2014-03-28 10:13:29 +0000, Paul Verest said:
> Eclipse IDE is not optimized for use with slow and unstable Internet
> connection, e.g. Africa, overpopulated China.

Can you clarify if you are talking about the Eclipse IDE or the Eclipse
websites? The IDE doesn't require an internet connection at all. But I
can imagine that the website is slow in China. It might be worth to
consider hosting a mirror in that ares. I have created and maintained a
data center in Shanghai outside of Europe. Therefore, I understand you
pain about the slow/unreliable connections.

-Gunnar

--
Gunnar Wagenknecht
gunnar@xxxxxxxx
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1280519 is a reply to message #1278711] Sun, 30 March 2014 13:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gunnar Wagenknecht is currently offline Gunnar Wagenknecht
Messages: 452
Registered: July 2009
Location: Germany ✈ Vancouver
Senior Member

Hi Tamara,

That's very interesting feedback. Thanks for forwarding it.

On 2014-03-27 18:50:34 +0000, Tamar Cohen said:
> Having a bigger intro track at EclipseCon:
> My young, female coworker who came to the conference told me that at
> the beginning of the conference she felt very overwhelmed, in
> combination because there were so many men but more so that everyone
> was older than she is, and way more expert than she is. I think if the
> conference had an intro track, both for overview of what are the
> different areas of Eclipse and then more in depth, how to use it as an
> IDE, how to develop RCP, that sort of thing.
>
> KM: I think there is a cognitive bias because many of the current
> program committee members are people who have worked in the community
> for many years and thus are advanced users. Then the talks they pick
> are quite advanced.

Disclaimer: I was on the PC but I can't speak for the whole PC. But we
tried making a balance between introductory content and hot topics.
Usually it's the limitation of speaking lots that forces to do a
tradeoff. Frankly, the introductory type of content is declining as
well. There were fewer submissions related to that. We also pushed
really hard to give new speakers an opportunity.

> As an aside, there she also had an open invitation to the Python
> community to serve on the program committee for PyCon. For instance,
> even if you were new to Python, you could volunteer to review talk
> submissions and vote. Very cool.

The EclipseCon submission system is totally open, i.e. everybody can
monitor incoming submissions and comment on them. We take this feedback
seriously but again, it was pretty low. I also remember that we tried
to announce this bigger in the previous years but only little success.
It definetly is a huge win for any PC of you have live feedback from
your community when picking talks.

-Gunnar


--
Gunnar Wagenknecht
gunnar@xxxxxxxx
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1281146 is a reply to message #1278711] Mon, 31 March 2014 12:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ian Skerrett is currently offline Ian Skerrett
Messages: 198
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
Hi Tamar,

Thank you very much for posting this. I would love to increase the number of women and other minority groups attending EclipseCon and in general the Eclipse community.

I certainly agree we need to make sure there are women on the EclipseCon program committee. As you pointed out, we have lots of great women who could participate. We can certainly make sure this happens next year.

The comment about more introductory material is a very good point. As Gunnar mentions, the PC always gets way too many submissions for the number of slots so it is always a balance. However, maybe we have over rotated away from introductory material.

We can also help sponsor or organize women-focused events. I wonder if there are some on-line events we could organize to get things going?

The first step might be to get some key people in the community who would like to help out. I will reach out to some people to make sure that at least see this forum thread.

Thanks again to you and Kim for starting the discussion.

Ian




Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1281246 is a reply to message #1281146] Mon, 31 March 2014 15:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Beth Tibbitts is currently offline Beth Tibbitts
Messages: 226
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
Thanks Ian for alerting me to this thread.

Actually, I was also quite bothered by the lack of diversity this year. I don't know if it's worse this year (I skipped a year or two, travel budget limited) and was really amazed
at the lack of women there. Often I was the only woman in the room in some talks and meetings. Or almost.

Other software communities have always started out that way - male dominated - but grew out of it.
I just retired last year from 36 years at IBM in software development. Attending software conferences over the years in various domains including Artificial Intelligence, then Java, then Eclipse, then Supercomputing/HPC, every other genre "grew out" of the original male-dominated focus, or at least had some strong niches that were more representative of women, but it hit me really hard this month at EclipseCon that it appears Eclipse hasn't.
Now working for another organization (for now), and back at EclipseCon, I was looking forward to getting re-engaged... and was hit hard by the lack of female participants this year.
And as noted previously in this thread, other minority groups as well.

I think more intro-level talks would help. I agree about the (assumed) bias from uber-seasoned Eclipse developers on the Program Committee. I think talks based on education and documentation would also help.
Even as an experienced developer (since soon after it was open-sourced) , I would have liked to attend some intro-level talks just to see what it looks like from the other side, starting eclipse development now when it's already "mature."
I looked interestingly at the "Committer boot camp" talk but i think something else conflicted. A women-focused event or BOF would help too, so we "find" each other. I almost posted that on the BOF board but all my evenings were taken.
Hey, a topic table at lunch would have been a good idea.

Other software genres have grown out of an initial male-dominated aspect, hopefully we can do the same for Eclipse.

...Beth Tibbitts
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1281318 is a reply to message #1281246] Mon, 31 March 2014 18:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Arthorne is currently offline John Arthorne
Messages: 174
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
The idea of an introductory track is a good one. While there is undoubtedly selection bias by the PC I think it is much more pervasive than that. Often speakers are much more interested in talking about what they did in the past year, rather than what they built 5-10 years ago. This is typically a more advanced or specialized new feature that is interesting to expert attendees. There is usually not a huge selection of talks submitted with a beginner focus for the PC to work with. Of course this is a reinforcing cycle, in that attendees begin to expect very advanced talks, speakers submit only advanced talks, and the first time attendee probably feels overwhelmed and doesn't come back!

This is why I think the idea of a dedicated track is so interesting. It breaks this cycle, encouraging speakers to submit more introductory material, thus giving the PC a better selection of those talks to build a great program with. It is something that needs to start with the CfP and have related marketing to bring the audience in.
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1281330 is a reply to message #1278711] Mon, 31 March 2014 18:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gilles Iachelini is currently offline Gilles Iachelini
Messages: 3
Registered: November 2013
Junior Member
Hi there,

I am visiting EclipseCon NA since 2008 and I have encountered various changes in the program as well. There were much more introductionary talks in the past. Personally I always questionend myself what they were for. Now I know. But one must admit that the level of quality has improved over the years dramatically. Thats something to keep up with as well!

The "documentathon" is a very good idea. I would also propose a "Deletathon": People gathering together and delete unused, unneccessary or probably not-working code.

The aspect of "infrastructure examples" sounds very interesting and seems something everyone wants to know. How are people doing their stuff with eclipse and other technologies to achieve a seemingly smooth process of software developement or whatever they try to achieve.
For example when I was doing a talk about a railway company using eclipse, people asked plenty of questions how we managed the messaging, which got almost nothing to do with eclipse, but people were so interested about it, I was thinking about proposing a talk rather about that. Still, the conference is called EclipseCon.
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1281742 is a reply to message #1278711] Tue, 01 April 2014 09:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tracy Miranda is currently offline Tracy Miranda
Messages: 16
Registered: July 2009
Junior Member
Hi all,

I'd like to add my perspective into the mix. I have attended many EclipseCon NA including the first one in 2004 and this one, 2014. I am as diverse as the come: female, of Indian-origin, and a mother too. I am a seasoned dev, and these days I am more likely than anything to be keenly aware of things like being a freelancer (everyone seems so corporate-y to me) or being short (ok, I jest a bit but at 5'2" I will admit to prefering having tech conversations sitting down Smile
So three cheers for efforts on diversity in all respects at EclipseCon!

At Eclipsecon 2004 the demographic was mostly white male developers from IBM.
So in some respects the crowd was more diverse this year: many more different companies, many more Europeans and nationalities outside NA.
At Eclipse 2014 I was at a table with a lecturer and student from University of Zululand, SA (amongst others) having an interesting discussion about mobile app dev platforms. So I feel the diversity is better. That being said, there is more to be done. I completely agree that there has been little progress with respect to women attendees. And yes it is definitely biased towards more advanced developers.

+1 for an intro track:
I am a seasoned software dev now, but back at my first conference I was really a hardware engineer who was just learning Java and how to use Eclipse & tools in general. I distinctly remember a talk called 'Eclipse APIs: Lines in the Sand' - it was the first time I heard about APIs and it was like a magical awakening to a world of software best practices. For me the first two eclipsecons were synonymous with learning software best practices and processes, as well as the ins & outs of the platform. I feel I was lucky in that way to "grow up" with the community but it is a shame that those kinds of talks are lost for current new members. Back then Eclipse was just IDE & platform, so I know this is tough when there is so much more too it, but well worth it to find a way.

On EclipseCon 2014:
Despite the diversity issues, I do find whenever I attend Eclipsecon and make an effort to talk to someone I am rewarded with great conversations and most people are friendly and open (making allowances for shyness and introverts). This year was no exception. Being part of the CDT summit and having 2 sit-down dinners was a major help too. Little things also made a big difference: having nice alternatives to pizza at the exhibition, Beth coming up to me to say 'hello' for instance. In turn I try to connect with newer attendees when I can (indeed Kim I enjoyed chatting to you the first day at lunch and listening in on your supercomputing NASA vs Oakridge conversation). I do also give an inner cheer when I hear a woman-speaker (like your one Tamar). I have 1-2 ideas for talks for EclipseCon France which I guess I should really get on and submit (but of course one is highly specialized, for a specific crowd). I'd love to talk about beginner stuff, with my work as a freelancer I get to see lots of different ways people work but haven't thought about what would work in a talk. I do love the Eclipse community and the crowd that come to the conferences and I'd like to do what I can to ensure everyone has a good experience and wants to come back!

I'd love to help in any way I can - I particularly like the sounds of infrastructure examples (I also exist in worlds where command-line is king) and mentoring projects. I know lots of other developers who would value being involved too.

Tracy
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1283143 is a reply to message #1281742] Thu, 03 April 2014 05:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Alexandra Schladebeck is currently offline Alexandra Schladebeck
Messages: 1155
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
Hi,

Thanks Ian for the heads up about this thread and also to Tamar for the mention in the original post.

I also noticed that there were not many women at EclipseCon. This isn't something that bothers me on a personal level, and I've never been made to feel unwelcome, disadvantaged or uncomfortable by any aspect of being in a minority. At least from my perspective, once someone is *at* EclipseCon, there are great conversations to be had and the whole atmosphere is incredibly inclusive. That is, in my mind, a huge plus.

I agree though that it certainly shouldn't be the case that women, or any other group, feel that EclipseCon is not welcoming to them either in terms of the call for papers, or the program content, or the possibilities for interaction. I've been to a few EclipseCons now, and can't say whether the percentage of e.g. women has increased - do we have any numbers on that? Can we say how the percentage of (again, e.g.) women at EclipseCon compares to the percentage in the IT industry?

Some ideas and thoughts:
- I quite like the idea of ensuring that there are some talks specifically aimed at beginners. I like it because it welcomes anyone (regardless of gender, orientation, race, ...) who is new to EclipseCon and to development in general. Making sure that Eclipse and EclipseCon stays relevant for new adopters is something worth striving for.

- Perhaps another area we should look at is "first timers to EclipseCon" - people who are not "new" to development, but who are new at EclipseCon. There's usually a good feeling when we make all the "first timers" stand up in an opening session - maybe we should organize BOFs or other events for these people too. I know that some conferences write (or get people in their community to write) "how to get the most out of ..." blogs or articles before the conference. Maybe there could even be a meetup the evening before the conference for first timers and/or beginners.

- I also have nothing against the idea of a women's table at lunch (actually, I convinced Anne to do one at EclipseCon 2013), but maybe it would be more inclusive to everyone to have "newbies" tables. Maybe even with some "oldies" volunteering to sit on each table to forge the link between newbies and experienced people.

- Suggestions for more evening events (documentathon I like in particular) and online events is also a good idea.

I do tend against things that are only focused on one particular minority - I'd rather see moves to being more inclusive generally (which is why beginners/first timers talks and activities interest me so much). It's hard to explain, but I'd like to see people deciding to attend / put in a talk because they feel the conference is, as a whole, relevant and welcoming to them - not because there is currently a specific drive for their flavor of minority.

Having said that, if there's anywhere I can help in terms of the female non-developer demographic, then I'd be thrilled to help others notice what a great community we are.

Alex

[Updated on: Thu, 03 April 2014 07:20]

Report message to a moderator

Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1284123 is a reply to message #1283143] Fri, 04 April 2014 05:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ed Merks is currently offline Ed Merks
Messages: 26137
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
Alex,

Comments below.

On 03/04/2014 7:07 AM, Alexandra Schladebeck wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Thanks Ian for the heads up about this thread and also to Tamar for
> the mention in the original post.
>
> I also noticed that there were not many women at EclipseCon. This
> isn't something that bothers me on a personal level, and I've never
> been made to feel unwelcome, disadvantaged or uncomfortable by any
> aspect of being in a minority. At least from my perspective, once
> someone is *at* EclipseCon, there are great conversations to be had
> and the whole atmosphere is incredibly inclusive. That is, in my mind,
> a huge plus.
You're always one of my favorite EclipseCon attendees. Your mere
presence in a room a pleasure. :-) For me personally the biggest reason
to attend EclipseCons, I've attended all but one, is the personal
interactions with a diverse community. I'll attend even if I don't have
a talk.
>
> I agree though that it certainly shouldn't be the case that women, or
> any other group, feel that EclipseCon is not welcoming to them either
> in terms of the call for papers, or the program content, or the
> possibilities for interaction.
Having been on the committee several times in past years, I believe
there is always an effort to be welcoming. And, personally, I'd rather
give someone else present, than present myself...
> I've been to a few EclipseCons now, and can't say whether the
> percentage of e.g. women has increased do we have any numbers on that?
It seems relatively unchanged, but yes, I can't say.
> Can we say how the percentage of (again, e.g.) women at EclipseCon
> compares to the percentage in the IT industry?
That's always a key question. An unbiased filtering mechanism ought to
produce analogous percentages. E.g., how does the percentage of women
speakers relative to the number of attendees compare to that for men?
>
> Some ideas and thoughts:
> - I quite like the idea of ensuring that there are some talks
> specifically aimed at beginners. I like it because it welcomes anyone
> (regardless of gender, orientation, race, ...) who is new to
> EclipseCon and to development in general. Making sure that Eclipse and
> EclipseCon stays relevant for new adopters is something worth striving
> for.
I've not considered proposing introductory talks because I figured I've
said it all by now, but that's not considering the very import point
that there are always new attendees interested in such things...
> - Perhaps another area we should look at is "first timers to
> EclipseCon" people who are not "new" to development, but who are new
> at EclipseCon. There's usually a good feeling when we make all the
> "first timers" stand up in an opening session maybe we should
> organize BOFs or other events for these people too. I know that some
> conferences write (or get people in their community to write) "how to
> get the most out of ..." blogs or articles before the conference.
> Maybe there could even be a meetup the evening before the conference
> for first timers and/or beginners.
For me one of the valuable things about EclipseCon is meeting with users
of my software, to lean what they're doing and discover their pain
points as well as their desires for new features. Perhaps some type of
meet-the-experts would be a good way to encourage such interactions,
integrating the newbies with the old timers.
>
> - I also have nothing against the idea of a women's table at lunch
> (actually, I convinced Anne to do one at EclipseCon 2013), but maybe
> it would be more inclusive to everyone to have "newbies" tables.
> Maybe even with some "oldies" volunteering to sit on each table to
> forge the link between newbies and experienced people.
One should always be cautious of things that have the flavor of
segregation. Of course there are lunch tables for specialized
interests, so it fits in well with that theme.
> - Suggestions for more evening events (documentathon I like in
> particular) and online events is also a good idea.
I love evening events!
> I do tend against things that are only focused on one particular minority
Yes, the segregation thing is always cause for concern...
> I'd rather see moves to being more inclusive generally (which is why
> beginners/first timers talks and activities interest me so much). It's
> hard to explain, but I'd like to see people deciding to attend / put
> in a talk because they feel the conference is, as a whole, relevant
> and welcoming to them not because there is currently a specific drive
> for their flavor of minority.
Yes, and not every minority is visible.
> Having said that, if there's anywhere I can help in terms of the
> female non-developer demographic, then I'd be thrilled to help others
> notice what a great community we are.
Thanks for taking the time to chime in and the offer for help. See you
next time!

> Alex
Re: Encouraging diversity in the Eclipse community [message #1290980 is a reply to message #1284123] Thu, 10 April 2014 15:57 Go to previous message
Tamar Cohen is currently offline Tamar Cohen
Messages: 100
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
I'm so glad to see that this conversation is growing!

I also would like to discuss ways to support more collaboration outside of EclipseCon.

For example, there are many excellent talks at our conferences, what about filming and publishing the content after the conference? Possibly too late for past conferences but perhaps we can look at this going forward? What happened to the footage of the talks that were filmed?

I like Ian's idea of organizing an online event to get things going, I'm not sure exactly what you had in mind or what an online event is, would that be webcast presentations with ability for feedback?

Do we have any data about the # of users who post questions to the newsgroups as compared to the # of downloads of Eclipse? I have a hunch that most people don't post questions to the newsgroups. Would there be a way to promote Eclipse newsgroup usage? I tend to use the web interface to post my newsgroup responses and search within the newsgroups, and I must say -- it looks a bit dated, and often is hard to navigate to a "correct" answer if someone has asked a similar question to mine. Functionality like the ability to upvote a good answer might help. Do we correlate questions in the newsgroups to documentation improvements?


Thanks to everybody for your input / feedback.

Tamar
Previous Topic:Looking for someone for a plugin dev presentation
Next Topic:Mail notification links don't work any longer
Goto Forum:
  


Current Time: Thu Oct 23 21:21:55 GMT 2014

Powered by FUDForum. Page generated in 0.02675 seconds
.:: Contact :: Home ::.

Powered by: FUDforum 3.0.2.
Copyright ©2001-2010 FUDforum Bulletin Board Software