Community Leadership Summit Wiki

Models we use to understand the world

Community Leadership Summit, 23 July 2011

Models we use to understand the world


religious view -- accepting what has occurred, vs scientific (inquiry)


a broader thing re dichotomies
you may think you already understand where the other person's coming from.
Nobody's the bad guy in their own story.

Douglas Ambort:

there's a patterns book. by Argyle et al. Not Christopher Alexander or the Design Patterns book. But I might get stuck trying to shoehorn in an idea into a pattern someone else came up with. So now I create my own metaphors.

Andy Oram:

in some conflicts, words get different connotations from different "sides"
logic idea: iterating over time things will get better. logical positivism. sometimes wrong. there's no system so perfect it can't be improved.
Design Patterns: no one really used it just after Gang of Four book -- now they're built into languages.


unexamined expectations, models we don't think about.

Ryan Singer:

re God's Debris, Scott Adams book. Mind as delusion generator. You discard one for another more useful delusion when some stimulus comes along that breaks your current delusion.

All models are wrong but some are useful...


culture is what is invisible to you
example: survival of the fittest, competition is good. Kathy tries to get people to see that we're all cooperating all the time. More prominent, but not part of our logical model.




when you collaborate, you need ... lowest common denominator ... we're all raised with various defaults... hard to adapt how you relate to other people


more hope for us now that there's more travel & more ease to see people not like you

invisible homogeneity

all about subtle differences

What analogies do you keep making?

Andy Oram:
Lots of people don't appreciate what it means to improve someone's writing.
some people are amazed at how much I improve something.


try to go on strike? sometimes you can't

Absence blindness problem - we're dialed in to notice the presence, not the absence of things
good job means no problems
a good manager is practically invisible

status reports help make those things salient.

job descriptions give us boundaries

Another idea:

these are the little things that make us feel belittled, scorned, etc.
per the tumblr

whether you're marginalized or not, reading it & understanding how these things can be harmful helps create a new level of awareness

privilege knapsack
huge eye-opener. I was a rich white woman & didn't even realize it!

has BUNCHES & BUNCHES OF THESE because she is a behavioral scientist!

Internal vs external locus of control
some people are taught to look internally vs externally for authority
"think for yourself" (taking initiative, leading) -- might be a mismatch between you & your family/environment

there's value in giving a set channel like GSoC for people with external locus of control to come into FLOSS. We think they'll eventually ramp into being self-starters, but will & should they?


chapter of a book on educating for peace. We didn't have students who could analyze how a bomb would fall

Exit, Voice, & Loyalty
If you don't like your government, org, etc.
If you are seeing structurally bad things, a good question is, why isn't Exit possible?
often, persistent bad arrangements are because of a tax on exit

affiliation != role in the authority structure

no one pays each other, so he's immune to a lot of bullshit.
he can opt out of traditional way of interfacing with org, so divorces

cherrypicking subrelationships?
or a partnership model instead of domination

"prince model" of relationship

appropriate fidelity

it's not that high is better, it's that there is always a tradeoff.
in UI it is apt, if you want to walk someone through, paper, high functional fidelity... Comparably, if you have someone who just wants pixels, you can invest in that, gloss over functional fidelity.

(don't want to say "stakeholders" because of vampires?)


emergent behavior

communities/orgs as emergent behavior. scifi as large scale mirror of FLOSS. some similarities in organizing

organizations are organisms

"business plans are DNA"
slime molds -- act like one common unit, but each amoeba can leave or join.
as a part of that whole, parts are less than would be?

FOSS as optimal thing vs ethical things

in FLOSS we all live in this, navigate with/by it