Where PostgreSQL succeeds and what to do next

Response to my earlier post about meritocracy was overwhelming.

Also, Robert posted a response focusing on code, and how the PostgreSQL project works around Commitfest.

Addressing some criticisms

I talked to Bruce Momjian about a few things that I said toward the end of my earlier post. Things that may have offended people in our community.

We focused mainly on that I brought a discussion of the outside world into the microcosm of PostgreSQL. And that I brought two things together: intrinsic ability of an individual to succeed, and the value of an individual’s contribution to Postgres itself.

I talked about a world that is filled with people who are poor, uneducated or disenfranchised who we, as a project, probably just can’t reach. And that by mentioning these facts, which Bruce and I agreed were facts, I was confusing and insulting people who contribute so much time and hard work to our project.

What PostgreSQL does well

To clarify, PostgreSQL does an admirable job of promoting and encouraging the work of the people who step up and contribute code. Robert’s post about Commitfest shows how much effort goes into finding and encouraging the type of people that we’d like to contribute more code, review our code and document it.

As a project, we also do pretty well with encouraging non-code contributions. In particular, I think we do very well with conferences: finding creative ways of sponsoring them, seeking out and developing new speakers, and helping start user groups. The focus has always been on finding the right people, in the communities that we see growing, and encouraging them. Today, we see conferences and great Postgres representation in Japan, Russia, Canada, the US, China, Cuba, the European Union and Brazil. And there are more.

So, I think that we (Postgres) are succeeding, and growing.

I brought up my criticisms in the context of Robert’s original post, and a request that I lay out my concerns about invoking meritocracy. The concerns I expressed are more about the outside world, how that world impacts Postgres, and how Postgres can impact the rest of the world.

I do think we can do more to create structures that encourage participation, the Commitfest being a great example of how to implement and succeed in the future. I’ve seen a few people step up and offer help in the last couple weeks, and I’ll encourage them in their work. And hopefully talk about their successes here.

What do we do next?

What I wanted to do was provoke a larger discussion about what we could be doing. I didn’t offer any particular solutions. I just asked that we think for a moment about what we might be able to do

And that, magically, happened.

David Fetter asked: “Which of those barriers do you see as important to address first?”

I’d like to connect Postgres more with the people in regions that our community doesn’t yet reach.

So, I’ve put up a survey asking people who live in high population regions that our community doesn’t really serve at all – most of Africa and the Middle East.

Please take a moment and let us know how you use Postgres, and what ways the Postgres community can connect with you.

The plan over the next six months is to both find ways of getting Postgres experts to give talks in those regions, and to find ways of supporting more people who want to be advocates for Postgres.