I’m thinking a lot about why Open Source Bridge is happening.
One of the ideas that keeps popping up for me is constructive conflict. Searching for some inspiration, I googled “open source in-person collaboration” and came across David Eaves’ post “Why collaborative skills matter in open source.” His main point about the collapse of transaction costs comes from Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody, which I am also reading.
That led me to an older post David wrote about the difference between collaboration and cooperation. And, suddenly, the light turned on.
Yesterday, as I mapped out the five minute “why we’re here” talk I’ll give to kick off the conference, I said to Audrey, “Above everything else, our goal is collaboration.”
Between people new ideas are produced as the result of conflict. Without conflict, we don’t have collaboration, we only have accommodation and cooperation. And I completely agree that online communities encourage cooperation, sometimes at the expense of collaboration.
How do we encourage more collaboration? At least for now, Audrey and I have both focused on in-person connections. For the highly-distributed projects, this poses several problems – cultural, logistical and financial.
One thing that I like about pub culture is the tendency to end up talking with people you don’t know. Sometimes they’re drunk, sometimes they have very strong opinions. Occassionally, you end up with a memorable conversation that changes how you think.
I’ll be giving a short introduction to the first keynote speakers for Open Source Bridge (for the morning of June 17), and was thinking about this when I came across a blog post about the Demise of Should (via @cshirky).
What I’m writing about is how being confronted, sometimes rudely, can help you gain a little perspective. I know that I live in an open source echo chamber most of the time. But last night I got an ear full from a couple people who think that open source people are ignorant, entitled assholes.
I’ll leave out the punchline… but suffice to say, I had a pretty entertaining drinking buddy for the night.
How do you find opinions in our industry that differ from your own? How often do you have conversations with others, in person, where someone strongly disagrees with you?
Photo courtesy of Jaako under Creative Commons.
Just before heading off to PgCon, I wrote about offline community and how it has positively impacted the tech community in Portland, OR. Specifically, I talked about the factors I thought encouraged women to participate.
My own experience with Postgres has been incredibly positive and welcoming. I always wish that I had more time to contribute.
I did find a little time this weekend to upgrade the PostgreSQL User Group site to the latest supported version of Drupal. We’re still on version 5.x, and hopefully I’ll be able to upgrade that to version 6.x soon. We’ve had a few problems with spammers, but I added a CAPTCHA that I hope isn’t too annoying for everyone.
If you have ideas for how to display the information on the PUGs site in a better way, please get in touch. I have a couple things I’d like to add soon – like a map of locations, and a better preview of recently posted articles.