Badges?  We don't need no stinking badges!


How to encourage participation in Evergreen

Grace Dunbar 

Vice President, Equinox Software

IRC handle: graced

IRC handle?

What is this... CB Radio?


... and now I have the theme song from "Convoy" in my head.

One of the primary exclusion factors (anywhere) is insular jargon.


Like perhaps:

Or maybe even:

Barriers to Entry

According to Larry Wall, author of the Perl programming language, there are three great virtues of a computer programmer: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris


  1. Laziness: The quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful and document what you wrote so you don't have to answer so many questions about it.
  2. Impatience: The anger you feel when the computer is being lazy. This makes you write programs that don't just react to your needs, but actually anticipate them. Or at least pretend to.
  3. Hubris: The quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won't want to say bad things about.
"Programming Perl", 2nd Edition, O'Reilly & Associates, 1996

The Fear Factor

Entering into an existing team or group can be intimidating.

And we often feel like we don't fit in.

It seems even harder when we're all separated by keyboards (or helmets and body armor).


The Fear Factor, cont.


  • don't feel qualified
  • don't want to give a "wrong" answer
  • don't want to step on someone's toes
  • don't want to look stupid
  • don't have time

And, of course we...

Time is generally not on my side (unless my organization is)

Because Open Source Communities succeed based on  involvement from all levels of users.  

Without it the project will ultimately fail. 


But community participation and time is critical.


Libraries and open source are an amazing match. They are both driven by their communities and their desire to ensure freedom of information.

So... how do we encourage more participation?

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was your software

So, K.I.S.S.


No, no, wrong KISS.

Keep It Simple, Seriously.

Start Small, Start Local

  • Choose something small (see previous slide)
  • Choose something that the team has a passion for
  • Build a local team
    • Your department
    • Your branch library
    • Your system
    • Your state
  • Get together in person!

There are a lot of things that are easier to do with a team.

Good teams have three things

  • Collaboration
    • Share ideas!
    • Librarians are great at collaboration.
  • Contention
    • It's okay to disagree!
      • In fact, it's actually helpful.
    • Librarians are not always great at this.
  • Compromise
    • Great teams find compromise.
      • (Cookies never hurt.)

I can't write code, what can I do?

Write documentation.

Review documentation.

Report bugs.

Test bug fixes.

Suggest new or improved development.

Serve on an Evergreen committee.

Host a workshop.

Run for the Evergreen Oversight Board.

Oh... gosh... not much except

Help with the Evergreen web site.

Answer user questions on the mailing list.

Cheer others on.

Give YOUR perspective

Improve workflow design.

Report typos (yes, really).

Present at a conference!

What can my organization do?

Be intentional about committing resources.

Demonstrate that commitment by:

  • showing up
  • listening
  • creating opportunities
  • setting aside dedicated time
  • rewarding involvement

But How? 

  • You'd be amazed at what people will do for a T-shirt. 
  • Kudos and karma.
    • y'all++
  • Flair.  
    • Buttons, Stickers, Swag, Tchotchkes


And remember:

  • Give them a physical "makers space".
  • Give them a virtual "makers space".
  • Allow for wild ideas and failure, after all, you're rewarding involvement, not success... right?

And Badges!

So, in retrospect, we actually do need some stinking badges.

The Evergreen 2.6 release

BARTON Medal of Steadfastness (for contributing in general to the code review process)

SILVER Recipients (at least 3 bugs)

Chris Sharp, Dan Scott, Grace Dunbar, Jason Etheridge, Jason Stephenson, Kathy Lussier, Lebbeous Fogle-Weekley, Remington Steed

And, finally, never underestimate the power of a kind word.


Badges? We don't need no stinking badges! Evergreen 2015

By Grace Dunbar

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges! Evergreen 2015

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