[nomination]for Fellowship Council renewal and activism

Paul Sutton zleap at zleap.net
Tue Sep 17 10:08:36 UTC 2019

On 16/09/2019 18:24, Christian Imhorst wrote:
> Hi Florian,
> sorry for my late reply.
> Am 28.05.19 um 07:26 schrieb Florian Snow:
>> Christian Imhorst <christian.imhorst at fsfe.org> writes:
>>> We need more diversity in the Free Software movement, because it means
>>> respecting people as they are, without prejudice. Diversity brings
>>> solutions to complex problems of the present and the future we can not
>>> handle with solutions from the past. This requires people who see the
>>> world with different eyes. People have to be able to contribute to the
>>> Free Software movement with their whole personality as they are.
>> I completely agree!  We are actively taking steps to make our staff and
>> teams more diverse.  It is by no means an easy task because the pool of
>> active contributors that we usually draw from for our teams, is not very
>> diverse.  If you have any ideas in this regard or just generally want to
>> help, please let me know.
> If you want more diversity, the first question must be: Why doesn't it
> work? The answer, that there are simply no woman, for example, just
> white cis man is imho something made easy.
> As I wrote on Mastodon: We need diversity in the FSFE to move forward
> our work on Free Software and freedom. Diversity is an indicator of and
> is indispensable for freedom. But how can we achieve that? We have to
> remove any and all barriers for speakers and activists to share their
> expertise and knowledge with the community. That means encouragement,
> financial support, childcare offers, a culture of being welcome. We have
> to bring voices not normally heard to our community. We need more
> mentors and supporters, not heroes.
> Our goals at the FSFE is inclusion not separation. And this is a really
> important thing for me and fundamental for my support. And I hope that
> we'll not stop at what we've achieved and that we will continue and
> become better -- and I know we will.
> These are my ideas in this regard and generally I want to help. :-)
> Best,
> Christian

There are programmes such as Outreachy which is designed to try and
address this in terms of offering paid internships to under represented

I am in Torbay, tried to promote this, and I get no engagement.  The one
diversity group in Torbay, the leader has e-mail but never seems to
reply,  I don't think a lot of the adults are that computer literate,
while children and young people are,  so it makes it very hard to reach
them via those who are not very computer literate.

Granted a lot of people just use facebook, which apparently many young
people don't use as it is for 'old people' or that is the impression I
get. I have heard that mastodon is quite popular with young people but I
have no data to back that up.

Perhaps we should try some of the aid agencies which work with children
in say Africa to provide education to girls,  I think one of the
agencies that sponsors girls advertises on UK tv.

Another thing is what skills do we need from people?,  it is all very
well saying we need help but help people to help us.  So:

If we need say ruby developers where can I go to learn these skills,
codecademy spring to mind, which is great for step by step learning,
sites such as repl.it allow people to experiment and share their own
code, so perhaps we could do that, as in come up with a sort of
programme / framework of learning / support via existing platforms,  to
help them get to where we need them to contribute.

if we also set this up so there is a specific start date and some sort
of low entry criteria,  then we should be able to take someone and
perhaps give them some useful skills,  once completed and they start to
contribute, we should endorse people on LinkedIn etc for those skills.

I am typing this from my own viewpoint in that I have some skills but
don't know how to take those to the next level.   There are lots of
initiatives to help people learn the very basics of IT and computers but
then very little in the way of a pathway beyond that, unless you sign up
to a local brick college or like me know about the online courses that
are available via Open University, edx, codecademy and many many others.

I think the learning machine has created resources for teaching the
basic ITQ qualification but with open tools such as libreoffice and
encourages the use of free software and even contributions to this.

Just a thought

Paul Sutton

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