Text Lacks Empathy

*
Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B202/203

Excerpt

Have you ever written a nice friendly email and gotten a reply that seems like they read a whole different email?

Textual communication has special problems. This talk will help you mitigate them: ensuring that what you mean to say is what is understood; interpreting messages that seem totally out of whack; and increasing empathic bandwidth.

Description

Have you ever written a nice friendly email and gotten a reply that seems like they read a whole different email?

In Open Source communities we write to each other all the time, but we’re not really writing, we’re speaking with our fingers. Text is our primary way to communicate, but text has problems. Speaking conveys subtle emotional cues that as social animals we rely on; text strips them out. A thoughtful correspondent can put those emotions back, but we’re often not thoughtful.

This talk is about the special problems of textual communication: mitigating them; ensuring that what you mean to say is what is understood; interpreting messages that seem totally out of whack; and increasing empathic bandwidth.

Speaking experience

Schwern has been speaking at Open Source conferences for over 12 years (Noirin was stuck in secondary school then). Both have spoken at OSCON, Open Source Bridge, LCA, OSDC and Kiwi Foo.

A sampling of videos of Schwern's talks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9smvof85xOc
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5248422316660075262
http://blip.tv/open-source-developers-conference/git-for-ages-4-and-up-4460524

A sampling of videos of Noirin's talks:
http://blip.tv/open-source-developers-conference/baby-steps-into-open-source-incubation-and-mentoring-at-apache-4450638
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISh-du6U_2k

Speakers

  • Noirin

    Noirin Plunkett

    The Apache Software Foundation

    Biography

    Noirin Plunkett is a jack of all trades, and a master of several. A technical writer by day, her open source work epitomizes the saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.

    Noirin got her open source start at Apache, helping out with the httpd documentation project. Within a year, she had been recruited to the conference planning team, which she now leads. She was involved in setting up the Community Development project at Apache, has previously acted as Org Admin for the Google Summer of Code (with more than 40 students!), and continues to contribute to projects as diverse as Infrastructure and Incubator. She sits on the boards of both the Apache Software Foundation and the Open Cloud Initiative.

    At home in Ireland, Noirin was a volunteer with the St John Ambulance – since moving to Switzerland, she’s had to find new ways to help save the world. Happily, open source has opened more than just technical doors, and when Christchurch suffered a devastating earthquake earlier this year, Noirin’s knowledge of OS disaster management software meant she could quickly step up to co-ordinate the night shift of volunteers working on the Christchurch Recovery Map at http://eq.org.nz/ .

    When she’s not online, Noirin’s natural habitat is the dance floor, although she’s also a keen harpist & singer, and an excellent sous chef!

    Sessions

      • Title: Text Lacks Empathy
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B202/203
      • Time: 2:303:15pm
      • Excerpt:

        Have you ever written a nice friendly email and gotten a reply that seems like they read a whole different email?

        Textual communication has special problems. This talk will help you mitigate them: ensuring that what you mean to say is what is understood; interpreting messages that seem totally out of whack; and increasing empathic bandwidth.

      • Speakers: Michael Schwern, Noirin Plunkett
  • Schwern round tuit oscon 2005

    Biography

    Schwern has a copy of Perl 6, he lets Larry Wall borrow it and take notes.

    Schwern once sneezed into a microphone and the text-to-speech conversion was a regex that turns crap into gold.

    Damian Conway and Schwern once had an arm wrestling contest. The superposition still hasn’t collapsed.

    Schwern was the keynote speaker at the first YAPC::Mars.

    When Schwern runs a smoke test, the fire department is notified.

    Dan Brown analyzed a JAPH Schwern wrote and discovered it contained the Bible.

    Schwern writes Perl code that writes Makefiles that write shell scripts on VMS.

    Schwern does not commit to master, master commits to Schwern.

    SETI broadcast some of Schwern’s Perl code into space. 8 years later they got a reply thanking them for the improved hyper drive plans.

    Schwern once accidentally typed “git pull —hard” and dragged Github’s server room 10 miles.

    There are no free namespaces on CPAN, there are just modules Schwern has not written yet.

    Schwern’s tears are said to cure cancer, unfortunately his Perl code gives it right back.

    Sessions

      • Title: Text Lacks Empathy
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B202/203
      • Time: 2:303:15pm
      • Excerpt:

        Have you ever written a nice friendly email and gotten a reply that seems like they read a whole different email?

        Textual communication has special problems. This talk will help you mitigate them: ensuring that what you mean to say is what is understood; interpreting messages that seem totally out of whack; and increasing empathic bandwidth.

      • Speakers: Michael Schwern, Noirin Plunkett
      • Title: The Style of Style Guides
      • Track: Chemistry
      • Room: B302/303
      • Time: 11:0011:45am
      • Excerpt:

        When you code, should you indent 2, 4 or 8 characters? Where should you put the braces? What should your variables and functions be named? Is it worth having an argument about any of this?

        This talk offers an analytical approach to deciding which elements of style will benefit your code. We’ll discover which is the “best style” and which is the style you should use.

      • Speakers: Michael Schwern