Panel: Women in Open Source

Shared how I get involved with open source on GitHub and how one can get start contributing themselves.

Panel: Women in Open Source

Name ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

Girl Develop It SF - Panel: Women in Open Source

Location ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

Unity HQ - San Francisco, CA

Date ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

June 26th, 2018 - 6 pm to 8:30 pm

Role ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

Panelist - Women in Open Source

About ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

Open Source is a great way to find your community and get embedded in a public-facing software project! Come hear from women in open source about how they evaluate open source projects, how folks can dive into new code bases, and learn some best practices for contribution.

Quotes ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

A: It can add to your credibility as a developer, but it depends on the company whether your open source contributions help in the hiring process. -@fvcproductions

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

People confuse git and github, but theyโ€™re two different things. Git is a version control system, and Github is a place where people use git to manage open source projectsโ€ @fvcproductions

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

A: Open Source is a great way to demonstrate mature code practices, learn as a developer, and help build something that lasts. @fvcproductions

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

A: My first contribution was fixing a typo on a website! I was a Github user for a long time before I made my first contribution. The Github label โ€œnewcomers-onlyโ€ is standard for doing your first contribution. is also a great resource. -@fvcproductions

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

A: has 1789 PRs that open. Over 6000 have been closed. The reason that there are so many PRs is because of how accessible this repo is. There are contributing guidelines, and a code of conduct. Those are great resources. -@fvcproductions

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

You can use Githubโ€™s features to report or flag harassment and bullyingโ€ -@fvcproductions

GDI San Francisco on Twitter

When I get started with an open source project, I start with micro contributions. I write comments on PRs, write when I agree on other comments, and dive into documentation.โ€ @fvcproductions

Blog Posts ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

git init - tips for newbie open source contributors

Looking for a side project? Contributing to open source can be a great way to meet people and sharpen your software skills. Iโ€™d like to share some tips for getting involved with open source from myself and other speakers from Girl Develop It SFโ€™s Women in Open Source Panel hosted by Unity on June 26.

My Notes

Intro ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

Hey everyone - so happy to be here. Iโ€™m Frances and Iโ€™m currently a front end engineer at Slack on the Customer Acquisition team.

My team is in charge of and basically everything a user can interact with before downloading or using the actual app itself.

In terms of open source, I celebrated 5 years on GitHub back in April of this year. I joined in 2013.

And since joining Iโ€™ve been involved with all aspects of open source. - maintainer, contributor, backer, organization lead, etc - itโ€™s been a huge passion of mine for quite some time.

Questions ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

  • What are you looking to gain from contributing to one or more open source projects?
    • Credibility
  • What, based on your unique background, is it possible for you to position yourself to gain? What are you unlikely to be able to gain, based on your unique background?
    • Anyone can gain from contributing to open source
    • Requires more maturity than hackathons
  • How can junior contributors get an overview of the open source projects out there?
  • What should I do if someone responds negatively to my questions or pull request?
    • Talk about diversity & community profiles

Problem ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

October 19th, 2017

Open Source Survey

Open Source has a problem with diversity. GitHub recently conducted a survey which revealed that 95% of the respondents were identifying as male. This is even worse than in the tech industry overall, where the percentage is only about 76%. Every other week, there seems to be another case of a maintainer engaging in targeted harassment against minorities. People somehow deem it completely okay to let these things slide, though.

We collected responses from 5,500 randomly sampled respondents sourced from over 3,800 open source repositories on, and over 500 responses from a non-random sample of communities that work on other platforms.

Responses from about 6,000 random users on GitHub from about 4,000 different repos. And then about 500 from those off GitHub - like Bitbucket or GitLab. So in total 6,500 people and potentially 4,000 different projects.

Women are more likely than men to encounter language or content that makes them feel unwelcome (25% vs 15%) as well as stereotyping (12% vs 2%) and unsolicited sexual advances (6% vs 3%).

The gender imbalance in open source remains profound: 95% of respondents are men; just 3% are women and 1% are non-binary. Women are about as likely as men (68% vs 73%) to say they are very interested in making future contributions, but less likely to say they are very likely to actually do so (45% vs 61%).

Incomplete or outdated documentation is a pervasive problem, observed by 93% of respondents, yet 60% of contributors say they rarely or never contribute to documentation. When you run into documentation issues, help a maintainer out and open a pull request that improves them.

Solution ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ

  • Fill out community profile completely
  • Add issues with first-timers-only label
  • Emoji helps in being nice in responses

Community Profiles ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ


Community Profile

Resources ๐Ÿ”—๏ธŽ