17–19 October 2016: Conference & Tutorials
19–20 October 2016: Training
London, UK

Exploring privilege in open source communities

Taylor Barnett (Keen IO)
16:55–17:35 Tuesday, 18/10/2016
Collaboration and community
Location: Buckingham Room Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 2 ratings)

What you'll learn

  • Learn actionable strategies you can deploy in your open source community to break down the barriers of privilege
  • Understand the types of privileges that can be barriers to participation in open source communities


Behind most open source software projects, there’s an open source community that supports it. In many of these communities, privilege is rarely discussed. While it’s not an easy topic to talk about, exploring privilege is necessary if we want to make sure open source is truly open for everyone. Taylor Barnett explores a number of sources of privilege, including axes of identity like race and gender and factors such as family responsibilities, financial resources, and the luxury of free time, and considers how they can affect our own and others’ participation in open source—particularly focusing on how privilege can be a barrier to collaboration.

Taylor also discusses what we can do to build and support larger, more inclusive, and healthier open source communities through strategies like finding ways to lend privilege, modifying community power structures, redefining what a contributor is, making sure everyone (interface and experience designers, community managers, documentation writers, project managers, bug reporters, code reviewers, etc.) is a first-class open source citizen, and supporting beginners, those with only small amounts of contribution time available, or others who lack certain privileges. Join Taylor to unpack and understand our privileges together and create change within our communities.

Photo of Taylor Barnett

Taylor Barnett

Keen IO

Taylor Barnett is an Austinite and developer who loves helping build inclusive communities. Taylor is on the Community team at Keen IO, where she tries to be an empathic voice within Documentation and Support, builds fun projects, and helps developers through code, conversations, and high fives. She also strives to help Keen IO become a better corporate open source citizen. Taylor was introduced to developer communities while studying computer science at the University of Texas at Austin. She helped create an early student hackathon and focused on growing the student developer community at UT Austin and at other universities worldwide in an inclusive manner. She was also an early advocate and leader for adopting measures to help increase inclusivity in hackathons. Today, Taylor mentors multiple student hacker organizations and their members. She was one of the founding members of the Women Who Code Austin chapter, where she is currently an organizer and helps mentor members.