Keeping your culture afloat through a tidal wave of interest ~~\o/~~

*
Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B204

Excerpt

During the height of interest to the project, there were often several new people arriving in the channel per day. That may not sound like a lot, but everyone had questions and would be interested in different things; it could take a twenty minute conversation or so with someone who knew a lot about the project in order to properly greet, inform, and orient new people. The founders didn't have a few spare hours around the clock to personally devote to making sure that each new arrival was welcomed, felt welcomed, had their questions answered, and had their willingness to contribute channeled into something which needed the help and suited their skills. There was a lot about this that we could have automated or dumped into a higher-latency format like email. The first time someone proposed automating the welcoming dance it was like they'd slapped me in the face. The personal touch bit was crucial, and automating it would have struck all the wrong notes. The project was supposed to be for people, by people, and showing that we're human and we're committed to keeping it small and personal was crucial to keeping the culture intact.

Description

How do you keep a project’s culture true to its core principles when it’s faced with overwhelming interest? In this talk, Azz and Kat draw from experience as early adopters of the Dreamwidth project, both from observing the founders build the culture they wanted to have, and their contributing roles in encouraging the culture in the face of a sudden surge of interest.

These elements helped keep Dreamwidth’s core contributor social culture intact and improving even through a barrage of interest:

  • Diversity Statement & Guiding Principles: a cultural manifesto which serves as a cultural compass when all other navigation has been lost. In the case of conflicts, the Diversity Statement & Guiding Principles usually win.
  • Quotes Database: celebrating the awesome things people said, documenting the things we think are awesome, and putting our best foot forward to people unfamiliar with the culture.
  • Jargon page: documenting the things we know in common, because rolling into a room where everybody already seems to know each other and have hundreds of in-jokes can be terrifying.
  • The Welcoming Dance: streamlining new arrival orientation by identifying the common elements for every new arrival, but keeping it human, friendly, and personalized.

Tags

Wikis, chat, quotes database, the human touch, principles

Speaking experience

This would be Azz's first adult speaking experience outside of school. Kat has given several other talks.

Speakers

  • 20140320 152010

    Azure Lunatic

    Dreamwidth

    Biography

    Specialist in Yelling as a Service. New contributor orientation specialist, code tour guide, and spamwhacker at Dreamwidth.org. Reader, writer, crocheter, geek.

    Sessions

      • Title: Keeping your culture afloat through a tidal wave of interest ~~\o/~~
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B204
      • Time: 3:454:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        During the height of interest to the project, there were often several new people arriving in the channel per day. That may not sound like a lot, but everyone had questions and would be interested in different things; it could take a twenty minute conversation or so with someone who knew a lot about the project in order to properly greet, inform, and orient new people. The founders didn’t have a few spare hours around the clock to personally devote to making sure that each new arrival was welcomed, felt welcomed, had their questions answered, and had their willingness to contribute channeled into something which needed the help and suited their skills. There was a lot about this that we could have automated or dumped into a higher-latency format like email. The first time someone proposed automating the welcoming dance it was like they’d slapped me in the face. The personal touch bit was crucial, and automating it would have struck all the wrong notes. The project was supposed to be for people, by people, and showing that we’re human and we’re committed to keeping it small and personal was crucial to keeping the culture intact.

      • Speakers: Azure Lunatic, Kat Toomajian
  • 10348290 707746120295 1809797067456875267 n

    Kat Toomajian

    Dreamwidth Studios, LLC

    Biography

    Kat heads up the Dreamwidth Support team, and specializes in user/developer interaction. In her spare time, Kat enjoys recreating history with the Society for Creative Anachronism, being a total loss claims rep for an insurance company, napping, and playing “where did you stash mommy’s socks?” with her ferrets, Hermes and Isaac.

    Sessions

      • Title: Hacking In-Group Bias for Fun and Profit
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B302/303
      • Time: 1:302:15pm
      • Excerpt:

        Our lives and social interactions are governed by sociology and psychology. As geeks, we strive to understand how the technology around us works, and we strive to find ways to make it better. Society is basically one big, complex piece of technology, and, like all technology, it is hackable. This talk will explain how you can do that.

      • Speakers: Kat Toomajian
      • Title: Keeping your culture afloat through a tidal wave of interest ~~\o/~~
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B204
      • Time: 3:454:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        During the height of interest to the project, there were often several new people arriving in the channel per day. That may not sound like a lot, but everyone had questions and would be interested in different things; it could take a twenty minute conversation or so with someone who knew a lot about the project in order to properly greet, inform, and orient new people. The founders didn’t have a few spare hours around the clock to personally devote to making sure that each new arrival was welcomed, felt welcomed, had their questions answered, and had their willingness to contribute channeled into something which needed the help and suited their skills. There was a lot about this that we could have automated or dumped into a higher-latency format like email. The first time someone proposed automating the welcoming dance it was like they’d slapped me in the face. The personal touch bit was crucial, and automating it would have struck all the wrong notes. The project was supposed to be for people, by people, and showing that we’re human and we’re committed to keeping it small and personal was crucial to keeping the culture intact.

      • Speakers: Azure Lunatic, Kat Toomajian