Was It Something I Said? The Art of Giving (and getting) Actionable Critiques

Emma Jane Westby (UN-OCHA)
Location: Portland 252 Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.30, 10 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Bug reports, issue queues, pull requests, code reviews, flame-outs, rage-quits. Most of our participation in open source software happens in a text-based environment. It’s difficult to read the intention behind words, and very easy to misinterpret what someone is saying. And yet, overall, most open source projects are able to foster healthy community that supports their fellow participants.

Attendees will come out of this session with tips on:
- a framework for giving useful, and actionable criticism
- critique of critiques, examples of what’s useful, and what’s harmful
- making your reviews easy to implement (making your time investment worth while)
- writing useful reviews outside of your area of competence (i.e. how to review design when you’re not a designer; and how to review code when you’re not a coder)
- creating a better “ask” that results in the kind of feedback you actually want to receive

Getting better reviews makes us better at our job—and makes our software a better product. If you’re ready to take your reviews to the next level…if you’re ready to help others lift their work out of mediocrity with their head held high, be sure to attend this session with your friends and your nemesis.

Photo of Emma Jane Westby

Emma Jane Westby


Emma Jane Hogbin Westby leads the operations team for shared digital services at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). She is the author of O’Reilly’s Git for Teams and two books on web development.


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