Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

22 May 2013, 10:40 a.m.

Some Recent Writing

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2013 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Several people recently liked my Geek Feminism post on learning to "scratch your own itch".

... somewhere along the way I got the impression that people usually get into open source via "scratching their own itch," and I mixed up prescriptive and descriptive to boot.... I really got stuck in when I saw a clear unmet need for documentation even though I wasn't personally going to use it. Sometimes I thought I was inferior -- surely I ought to have been thinking up my own projects, improving my work environment, and writing things that would help me out, thus getting me into a virtuous circle of learning?...

So in the long run one answer to this is that we have to work to make sure everyone has agency and feels it, their whole lives. But, given that some of us struggle with remembering our agency, and that it’s fine to have different learning styles, here are some ideas for priming the idea pump, or for alternate pathways into learning and getting into open stuff....

You might enjoy it. Some other stuff I've written elsewhere:

My sister and I are different and that's okay. We've never had a society where -- from birth to retirement -- the average girl and the average boy has experienced about the same amount of genuine encouragement in STEM. Let's try it!

On teasing-as-bonding. It takes a tremendous amount of trust and ease, or unspoken intracultural knowledge, to assume that someone else's mockery means "I like you, stick around." It's hard enough to get that message across *in person*; across timezones and cultures, and stripped down to Unicode, it's roulette.