Grants:TPS/Sucheta Ghoshal/Open Source Bridge 2013/Report

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Event name: Open Source Bridge 2013

Description of your participation:

I was a speaker at Open Source Bridge 2013 of the talk titled as - We, the people. I interacted with many of the contributors and community members in Wikimedia Foundation itself and also from the other communities as well. To name a few, it was great meeting up with Sumana Harihareswara, Roan Kattaow, Andre Klapper, Alolita Sharma, Runa Bhattacharjee, Amir Aharoni, Brandon Harris - from Wikimedia Foundation and many more from other communities like Mozilla, DreamWidth, OpenHatch, WordPress and a few more.

What lessons were learned that could help others in similar events? Open Source Bridge happens to be a very efficiently organized conference with a very friendly lot of people around. Which may not be a very new thing to mention, but a very important one, as I felt. The people involved, are a very major part of any conference, and that worked out very well. The volunteers, coordinators, made everything easier, especially during the times of ones sessions/talks - the coordinators assigned were there to remind us of keeping a copy of the slides on the USB drives that we were provided with and did take care of other matters as well. There's a bit to learn in every portion of almost anything. I believe, this was an important lesson too, to be friendly and helpful overall and to take care of these specific details in particular. Denise Paolucci's session on Kicking Imposter Syndrome in the head was a precious one - which before teaching us how to fight with syndrome, helped us realize that how a whole lot of other people is suffering from problems, much similar to ours. "Make mistakes publicly" - is a line from one of her slides that is still echoing in my head. I was quite amazed by the way she was describing certain things as they sounded quite familiar, sometimes my own story - which was really great. Alolita Sharma of Wikimedia Foundation presented a session much important as well. Roan and Trevour's session on Wikipedia's new editing experience - The Visual Editor, is something I found really great. The project is one of the most important ones that are going on, and the presentation was nice as well. Visual Editor has still got a lot to cover, no doubt, but it has covered a lot as well - with a neat path which can be taken by some fellow developer any day, the magic of Open Source, it is. I am sure it must have attracted a lot of motivated contributors already and more to come forward. I have been attending a few Open Source events in India too, what I found extremely amazing was a actually a very little fact. Here goes the story - I did not see any huge banner of Open Source Bridge 2013, in front of the venue The Elliot Centre. It was clean and neat with a little piece of paper pasted on the front door with all the details. I liked this because it evidently did not involve a lot of advertisement and effort to drag an awful lot of not-so-much interested participants but made sure that the genuinely interested ones would find their way through. This was brilliant!

What impact did your participation have on the Wikimedia Mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

My session went nicely with a lovely bit of humour, followed by a serious discussion on Indian Technology Culture, Free Software and Open Source Culture and Community Activities. I have my slides available under CC Attribution License here. One great thing came up during the discussion which reminded us how important it is to have the existing Open Source communities in touch with each other. We realized how much it is important to attract volunteers who would stick around with passion. Not that, it would always be known beforehand - but my story had a success scenario in one such attempt. While Denise's talk taught us, how much it is also our responsibility to be friendly and nice in a way which would not scare away the new contributors and also create a nice and healthy environment for them. Asheesh on his talk covered a lot on this particular topic, and also about the outreach programmes like GSoC and OPW - how they are shaping up. So we ended up having a nice discussion there as well, on how outreach could done more productive. I am sure, discussion aren't the only thing that helps to change the scene, if something demands a change - but they are surely a start and I am determined to use this experience to improve my Wikimedia Related activities.

Detail of expenditures:

  • US Visa Fees: USD 151
  • Flight Expense (Round-trip economy class fare from India to Portland and back): USD 1492.
  • My stay at Hotel Monaco was also funded by Wikimedia Foundation, which did not happen to fall under this budget as I found out later.
  • Total: USD 1643

Amount underspent/left-over (please specify currency): I was funded with USD 2500. Amount underspent: USD 857