Kicking Impostor Syndrome In the Head

Denise Paolucci (Dreamwidth Studios)
Geek Lifestyle
Location: F151 Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.76, 21 ratings)

Impostor syndrome is the persistent internalized belief that no matter what your accomplishments might be, they don’t count enough to qualify you as a “real” [insert noun here], plus the corresponding fear that any minute, everybody’s going to figure out you’re totally faking it. It’s one of the leading reasons why users of open source software don’t become developers of open source software, and why many developers of open source software don’t step out of their comfort zone to try new things. (Plus, it makes you feel awful.)

In this session, we’ll address impostor syndrome from both a personal viewpoint — how you can help combat those feelings in yourself — and an affirmational viewpoint — how you can help others overcome their own impostor syndrome. We’ll also discuss ways open source contributors and projects can specifically fight impostor syndrome among their community contributors (and among people who would be contributors if they believed they were qualified enough to be). You’ll leave with a whole host of tips, tricks, and “mind hacks” to help get over the nagging fear somebody’s going to discover any minute that you’re a great big fraud.

Denise Paolucci

Dreamwidth Studios

Denise Paolucci is the co-founder of Dreamwidth Studios (, a blogging and community platform. She also serves on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative, a nonprofit working to improve the representation of women in “open stuff”. She’s been working in open source for fifteen years, and will talk your ear off about accessibility, disability, diversity, creativity, community, privacy, and knitting, although probably not all at the same time.


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