Category: Quick Thought

Just a quick thought.

New glasses

New glassesTook a break from World Domination Summit this afternoon to pick up my new pair of glasses from Myoptic. You can’t tell from the photo, but the sides have a tortoise shell pattern. I still love my old frames as well, so those are getting new lens. For the first time ever, my “backup” pair of glasses will have a current prescription. Nice to have given how much I travel and how poorly I see without corrective lenses.

Another thing you can’t tell from the photo? The lenses are progressive. There is a very small difference between the amount of correction I need for distance and close-up, but it’s enough to cause significant eye strain given how much I read and use the computer. I’m so glad I switched to progressive lenses. It’s well worth the expense (although my current insurance covers them entirely) and adjustment period.


My summer conference season kicks-off this week with Open Source Bridge

Just a quick post to note that my summer conference season begins this week with Open Source Bridge. If you’re local, or happen to be in Portland this week, please consider joining us. There are still tickets available and we also offer a number of ways to participate for free or at a reduced rate.

Also, there will be a number of Mozillians in attendance and some Firefox-related activities in the Hacker Lounge. If you’re interested in joining Mozilla on any of these great projects, be sure to stop by! Evenings in the Hacker Lounge are free with a community pass.

After Open Source Bridge, you’ll find me at the following conferences:

Let me know if you’re attending to so we can connect. See also: Lanyrd.

Why I Go to Conferences

Usually by 9pm on a given evening, I am winding down, feeling introspective and generally not chatty. However, this Sunday evening I had just arrived home after attending PyCon in Santa Clara, California. Upon realizing I was talking Sherri’s ears off, I stopped to ask, “Am I always like this after I get home from a conference.” The answer was a definitive: “Yes.”

It got me thinking about about why I go to conferences.

Not For the Technical Content

Perhaps this is heretical to say, but for whatever reason, it’s really difficult for me to learn technical topics deeply at conferences. I learn best in environments where I can minimize distractions, go at my own pace and engage one on one with my subject matter and instructor.  Conference learning is the antithesis of this: tons of distractions, the speakers set the pace and the learning is one to many, even in the smallest sessions and tutorials.

This does not mean that I get nothing from technical talks. Some are very inspiring and give me ideas of subjects to look up and study later, when I get home.

For the Community

Conferences connect me with community, and that is their most important offering. Over the years, I have found there is simply no substitute for time spent with people in real spaces.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love that our world is made smaller by technology. I love that I can work for Mozilla remotely using Skype, Vidyo, IRC and other internet-based technologies. I enjoy the convenience of being able to attend local planning meetings without leaving my home. It’s allowed me to continue participating even though my family obligations have increased substantially over the last year.

But technology doesn’t provide the same sense of connection and of belonging that I get from joining the physical space of my community. At conferences I see people I never see in person except at conferences. I run into people  with whom I have trouble connecting online due to our mutually busy schedules or offset timezones. At conferences I am able to interact with whole, three dimensional persons rather than flat images or disembodied voices. Because of this, conversation itself feels as if it has greater depth and meaning.

The connections that I form and strengthen at conferences have a lasting and cumulative effect. They provide the connective agent that makes online interactions between in-person events stronger and more productive. The people that I meet at community events become my friends, colleagues, peers, managers and mentors.

Why do you go to conferences and other community events?

Please Join Me in Supporting the Ada Initiative

The Ada Initiative is a not for profit organization with the goal of supporting women in open technology and culture. The organization is currently fundraising for operating expenses through March of next year. They are very close to reaching their goal, but need your help! I’m a recurring supporter of the organization, and have just made another donation in solidarity with Sumana and Leonard’s generous offer of a $10,000 matching donation towards this goal.

If you want women to increase women’s participation in open source and you want women to feel welcome and safe doing so, please consider a contribution. Your money will be used for many awesome programs, including: imposter syndrome training, career development resources, supporting women in submitting their first patches, resources for conference organizers, and much more.

My First Internet Death Threat (Trigger Warning)

Trigger warning: Violence against women, homophobia and fat-shaming.

Friday morning I woke up to find I’d received my first internet death threat. It was in response to my blog post about accountability. I’m posting the contents of the entire message below so that others have an idea of the kind garbage others and I have to endure when we choose to speak on social justice issues.

Unfortunately, the commenter was used an IP anonymizer, so there is no way to determine their identity. Is it a colleague or a total stranger? There’s no way to know.

Here’s the comment. Consider the trigger warning above before you decide whether or not to read on.

Jesus stop whining you stupid dyke. No one gives a shit what you think, and if you keep attention whoring like this you’re going to end up with your fat throat slit if one of us can manage to find a knife deep enough to penetrate your layers of blubber.

Point is, you’re just a useless, loudmouthed lesbian. Personally, I think you should consider leaving Mozilla or better yet do the world (and your parents) a favor and kill yourself already. You’re worthless fat waste of space and posting this garbage does nothing to promote Mozilla’s image. Grab an ounce of self-worth and delete your shitty blog, cunt.

I’ve known for a long time that those who speak out about anti-oppression and other social justice issues receive death threats. I now know first-hand how unsettling it is to be on the receiving end of such threats. It’s made me re-think my habit of checking email first thing in the morning before I’m fully awake an functional. What it hasn’t done is discouraged me from talking about these issues. If anything, being the target of such speech is just a reminder about how important it is for those of us in marginalized groups to be visible and to be heard when we feel we are able to do so.

Update 8 October 12:19: A couple of people have asked me to post the email headers and IP address of the person who left the comment. Unfortunately, it was left as a comment via WordPress so I don’t have email headers. What I do have is the IP address and reverse lookup as captured by Apache and WordPress software: IP:, It’s my understanding that there is no way to track the identity of someone who has used Tor, but I’m happy to share my Apache logs with anyone who thinks they might be able to get some more info from them. Also, the person gave the email address “,” but I assume that is not their own because why use Tor and then give your real email?

Mozilla Now Has Guidelines for Community Participation

Mitchell Baker announced today on mozilla.governance that Community Participation Guidelines have been posted.

While I remain critical of the version that has been put forth (for reasons I don’t have time to articulate now, but will try to later), I recognize adoption of any standard for participation as a step in the right direction.

Thank you to all those involved in moving this forward and getting it published.

Note: If you haven’t been following this issue, read my previous posts on the subject here and here.

To the Anonymous Mozilla Member Making Threats on My Blog

Update (31 December 2016): This person was identified easily via their IP address, which matched that of one used regularly by a Mozilla staff member. After a protracted effort on my part, our head of HR assured me the person had been appropriately reprimanded. (As was I, incidentally, for not being able to “work things out” with this person.) I left Mozilla in August 2015. The staff member who threatened me, on the other hand, was rewarded with a promotion and now manages a team of seven people. 

I’m not going to publish any of your comments, so you might as well stop leaving them. Also, you’ve been reported to Mozilla leadership.

I will, however, share this bit with everyone here so they understand what kind of crap I and others receive simply for speaking out about the issues that are important to us. writes (emphasis mine):

Or, to put it another way, we don’t want you two around, really. You’ve spent months creating drama and attacking anyone who disagrees with you in the most passive-aggressive “I’m a poor victim” fashion.

Feel free to find the door to more perfect folks who agree with your politics and allowed means of expression.

Still No Code of Conduct at Mozilla

It’s been nearly four months since events at Mozilla lead several of us to call for adoption of a code of conduct. And yet we do not have one.

I can’t tell if progress is stalled, or if we’re just not hearing of updates. The last post to mozilla.governance on the topic occurred in early May. What’s going on? Why does this appear to be a non-priority for our leadership?

Regardless of the reasons, four months is a long time to wait for something that was long overdue to begin with. It’s a long time to wait to have reassurance from my community that I, and others like me, are welcome, and that discriminatory behavior against us will not be tolerated.