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Sympathy - Empathy - Compassion

September 10, 2015 at 3:10am
Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 13:10Sympathy - Empathy - CompassionCommunication can be surprisingly hard.   Human beings talk a lot.  Well many humans do.  Some less so, Some more so, but I reckon, in general, there's a lot of daily jibber jabber.   Some of that talking is light hearted "Small Talk". Some of it is world changing speeches.  Some of it is the daily to and fro we need to get stuff done; at work, at play, at home.   Some talking leads to conflict.  Whilst thinking and talking about how to resolve conflict in more constructive ways, me and Gina Likins puzzled over how we could talk about compassion, and the important part it plays in conflict resolution.  We talked about Empathy and Sympathy, and examined various definitions of all these words.   In the end, this is what we came up with. We were thinking about Free and Open Source Software communities. But it seems to have resonated with others, so, I thought I'd post it here, and expand a little on each point.   Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion are "Big feels".  So, this is just my take on how we might more easily distinguish them from each other.  


This is when we feel sorry for someone.  We acknowledge that something has happened which isn't good for them, and is causing them some level of distress.  In the software world, it might be like noticing that someone has reported a bug.  


This goes a step further. This is when we really acknowledge something is wrong. Perhaps we've experienced it too, we understand the issue is real. In software terms, perhaps we can replicate the bug, and acknowledge it's an issue that needs addressing.  


The next step comes when we are motivated to help. We've not just acknowledged there's a problem, but are willing to do something to help fix it. In software terms, it means stepping up to help fix the bug that's been reported.   Bug trackers and issue queues can be sources of minor conflict.  We lack the non-verbal queues provided by tone of voice and body language that help when raising issues.  It's natural to feel defensive.  But perhaps, taking a moment to reflect on how we communicate, and what we hear, what we mean, and how we respond, could really help us get more done, together.
Categories: Planet Drupal

D8 Accelerate - Game over?

August 27, 2015 at 12:47am
Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 10:47D8 Accelerate Chook Raffle - Game Over!

The Drupal 8 Accelerate campaign has raised over two hundred and thirty thousand dollars ($233,519!!).  That's a lot of money! But our goal was to raise US$250,000 and we're running out of time. I've personally helped raise $12,500 and I'm aiming to raise 8% of the whole amount, which equals $20,000. I've got less than $7500 now to raise. Can you help me? Please chip in.

Most of my colleagues on the board have contributed anchor funding via their companies. As a micro-enterprise, my company Creative Contingencies is not in a position to be able to that, so I set out to crowdfund my share of the fundraising effort.

I'd really like to shout out and thank EVERYONE who has made a contribution to get me this far.Whether you donated cash, or helped to amplify my voice, thank you SO so soooo much. I am deeply grateful for your support.

If you can't, or don't want to contribute because you do enough for Drupal that's OK! I completely understand. You're awesome. :) But perhaps you know someone else who is using Drupal, who will be using Drupal you could ask to help us? Do you know someone or an organisation who gets untold value from the effort of our global community? Please ask them, on my behalf, to Make a Donation

If you don't know anyone, perhaps you can help simply by sharing my plea? I'd love that help. I really would!

And if you, like some others I've spoken with, don't think people should be paid to make Free Software then I urge you to read Ashe Dryden's piece on the ethics of unpaid labor in the Open Source Community. It made me think again.

Do you want to know more about how the money is being spent? 

Perhaps you want to find out how to apply to spend it on getting Drupal8 done?

Are you curious about the governance of the program?

And just once more, with feeling, I ask you to please consider making a donation.

So how much more do I need to get it done? To get to GAME OVER?

  • 1 donation x $7500 = game over!
  • 3 donations x $2500
  • 5 donations x $1500
  • 10 donations x $750
  • 15 donationsx $500 <== average donation
  • 75 donations x $100 <== most common donation
  • 100 donations x $75
  • 150 donations x $50
  • 500 donations x $15
  • 750 donations x $10 <== minimum donation

Thank you for reading this far. Really :-)

Categories: Planet Drupal

Landscape design: a great analogy for the web

July 10, 2015 at 7:16am
Friday, July 10, 2015 - 17:16Map of the garden at Versailles

I often find myself describing the digital domain to people who don't live and breathe it like I do. It's an intangible thing, and many of the concepts are coded in jargon. It doesn't help that every technology tool set uses it's own specific language, sometimes using the same words for very different things, or different words for the same things. What's a page? A widget? A layout? A template? A module, plugin or extension? It varies. The answer "depends".

Analogies can be a helpful communication tool to get the message across, and get everyone thinking in parallel.

One of my favourites, is to compare a web development project, to a landscape design project.

One of the first things you need to know, is who is this landscape for and what sort of landscape is it? The design required for a public park is very different to one suitable for the back courtyard of an inner city terrace house.

You also need to know what the maintenance resources will be. Will this be watered and tended daily? What about budget? Can we afford established plants, or should we plan to watch the garden grow from seeds or seedlings?

The key point of comparison, is that a garden, whether big or small, is a living thing. It will change, it will grow. It may die from neglect. It may become an un-manageable jungle without regular pruning and maintenance.

What analogies do you use to talk about digital design and development?

Image: XIIIfromTOKYO - Plan of the gardens of Versailles - Wikipedia - CC-BY-SA 3.0

Categories: Planet Drupal


July 5, 2015 at 1:11am
Sunday, July 5, 2015 - 11:11What is conflict?

I've given a "Constructive Conflict Resolution" talk twice now. First at DrupalCon Amsterdam, and again at DrupalCon Los Angeles. It's something I've been thinking about since joining the Drupal community working group a couple of years ago. I'm giving the talk again at OSCON in a couple of weeks. But this time, it will be different. Very different. Here's why.

After seeing tweets about Gina Likins keynote at ApacheCon earlier this year I reached out to her to ask if she'd be willing to collaborate with me about Conflict Resolution in open source, and ended up inviting her to co-present with me at OSCON. We've been working together over the past couple of weeks. It's been a joy, and a learning experience! I'm really excited about where the talk is heading now. If you're going to be at OSCON, please come along. If you're interested, please follow our tweets tagged #osconCCR.

Jen Krieger from interviewed Gina and I about our talk - here's the article: Teaching open source communities about conflict resolution

In the meantime, do you have stories of conflict in Open Source Communities to share?

  • How were they resolved?
  • Were they intractable?
  • Do the wounds still fester?
  • Was positive change an end result?
  • Do you have resources for dealing with conflict?

Tweet your thoughts to me @kattekrab

Categories: Planet Drupal

Certification: Necessary Evil?

July 2, 2015 at 4:14am
Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 14:14Certified Professional

I wrote this as a comment in response to Dries' post about the Acquia certification program - I thought I'd share it here too. I've commented there before.

I've also been conflicted about certifications. I still am. And this is because I fully appreciate the pros and cons. The more I've followed the issue, the more conflicted I've become about it.

My current stand, is this. Certifications are a necessary evil. Let me say a little on why that is.
I know many in the Drupal community are not in favour of certification, mostly because it can't possibly adequately validate their experience.

It also feels like an insult to be expected to submit to external assessment after years of service contributing to the code-base, and to the broader landscape of documentation, training, and professional service delivery.

Those in the know, know how to evaluate a fellow Drupalist. We know what to look for, and more importantly where to look. We know how to decode the secret signs. We can mutter the right incantations. We can ask people smart questions that uncover their deeper knowledge, and reveal their relevant experience.

That's our massive head start. Or privilege. 

Drupal is now a mature platform for web and digital communications. The new challenge that comes with that maturity, is that non-Drupalists are using Drupal. And non specialists are tasked with ensuring sites are built by competent people. These people don't have time to learn what we know. The best way we can help them, is to support some form of certification.

But there's a flip side. We've all laughed at the learning curve cartoon about Drupal. Because it's true. It is hard. And many people don't know where to start. Whilst a certification isn't going to solve this completely, it will help to solve it, because it begins to codify the knowledge many of us take for granted.

Once that knowledge is codified, it can be studied. Formally in classes, or informally through self-directed exploration and discovery.

It's a starting point.

I empathise with the nay-sayers. I really do. I feel it too. But on balance, I think we have to do this. But even more, I hope we can embrace it with more enthusiasm.

I really wish the Drupal Association had the resources to run and champion the certification system, but the truth is, as Dries outlines above, it's a very time-consuming and expensive proposition to do this work.

So, Acquia - you have my deep, albeit somewhat reluctant, gratitude!


Thanks Dries - great post.

(Drupal Association board member)

Categories: Planet Drupal

Comparing D7 and D8 outta the box

July 1, 2015 at 1:53am
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 11:53

I did another video the other day. This time I've got a D7 and D8 install open side by side, and compare the process of adding an article.

Categories: Planet Drupal