A new community survey was posted by the Solid Project yesterday. Here’s some background on who the Solid Project is and why we posted the survey.
Who is Solid Project? TL;DR - You! The survey is posted by the facilitators of the Solid Project DEI Team (of which I’m a member). Solid Project is an open source community organization that provides and manages this forum, the solidproject.org website, the solidcommunity.net server, Solid World, most other public aspects of Solid, as well as the ongoing work on specifications and core software. While private companies such as Inrupt and others support the project with donation of staff time and a small amount of funds, Solid Project is a volunteer community project. The facilitator teams are composed of Inrupt employees, members of other companies and research groups, and unaffiliated people such as me.
Everyone is invited to join and participate either as an individual or as part of a Solid Project team. The process is very simple - want to join a team? Just ask. Want to be a team facilitator, to form a new team, or to join a specification panel? Submit an application. This process is completely transparent and is available for viewing/editing in the community-edited documentation of process and code of conduct.
Why the survey? Because we want the Solid community to provide a vibrant, diverse, inclusive, equitable environment and we want you to become engaged. So we need to figure out who the community is, what our needs are, what resources we can find or develop to best meet those needs, who else we need to draw in to the community. Help us! Fill out the survey! Regardless of your skill level, volunteer to help create and manage the website, events, servers, code, specifications and all the other stuff that takes so much time and energy.
We can build Solid! We can build it together! Join us!
I appreciate the spirit but do want to note that simple and transparent does not mean there are not barriers for newcomers. Some kind of targetted one-on-one or small group onboarding program could potentially help, though I recognise that those already involved have enough on their plate already.
The formality of participation in teams means that confidence/imposter syndrome/obligation to make sufficient contributions are real issues.
The changing spec feels like the carpet is continually moving under other activities, and more ad-hoc contributions such as issues and PRs get very ad-hoc responses (ironically the process repo has both issues about this and stale PRs). The forum is probably the easiest place to participate but is more or less disconnected from everything else, more or less by design.
I didn’t think of these points when I filled out the survey, but did want to emphasise in response to this post that despite what is said, the current set-up seems to be looking only for highly experienced, confident participants who are planning to make substantial sustained contributions. Maybe that’s the right group to aim for, but it might help explain why there’s problems with recruitment.
I recognize that those already involved have enough on their plate already
Thank you. That is true.
the current set-up seems to be looking only for highly experienced, confident participants who are planning to make substantial sustained contributions
I’d like to hear more of your experiences with this, please private message me or ping me in the chat. The formation of the DEI team, the survey, and my message above are all signs that we are aware of this situation and want the community’s help in reorienting to being more inclusive.
I am delighted to see this attention for community-building. In prior topics I also gave feedback on some of this. Like here: Proposal: Simplify the Solid organization structure