Open Source and Feelings: Maintenance as Empathy Work

Short Form


"Maintainers shouldn't be passive, otherwise the project can lack vision, and being aggressive risks alienating new contributors. An assertive maintainer can make the project fun for contributors while retaining a sense of purpose and direction."


Open Source is community driven. The work that project maintainers do influences the character of the community around a project.

To effectively build community maintainers should empathize and encourage contributions. This is difficult because some contributors are timid while others are ambitious.

In this session we will discuss how maintainers can encourage new contributors, foster a spirit of generosity, and work with contributors.

Speaking experience

I gave a lightning talk at Ruby on Ales about my gem [dude](

I am comfortable with public speaking but inexperiened speaking at technical conferences.