In the last article, we finally went beyond theory to some practical tips on how to improve communication in your community. In this article, we get even more practical, offering some easy to follow tips which will make a material difference in your communities.
There are two concrete things—one piece of advice for both community developers and individuals seeking to join a community, and one piece of advice for community projects interested in encouraging greater geographical diversity. Each one has a number of consequences.
In the preceding article, we covered the six dimensions of culture according to Geert Hofstede, and explored the consequences that these dimensions may have on people’s cultural attitudes. In this article, we explore some more practical ways to uncover cultural assumptions through good communication.
Sociology theory is all well and good, but how can we apply this to interactions in our communities? Is it possible to apply Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory to real-life interactions in community projects?
In the previous article, we outlined how cultural dissonance can cause issues when cultures collide. In this article, we talk about what makes up cultural identity, and perhaps help you become more aware of your own cultural assumptions.
In "Cultures and Organizations", the sociologist Geert Hofstede identified six dimensions for characterizing a culture. The effects of these dimensions can be analyzed according to multiple characteristics of a culture, including education, social structure, political and economic systems, religious attitudes, traditions, and customs.
Communities are messy. What makes them messy is the relationships between the humans who make up those communities. Humans are complex beings, each with their own sets of experiences and assumptions which they bring into a relationship, and when the underlying assumptions about how the world works do not match, we get into trouble.
One colleague of mine has described culture as "the way that humans in a community actually do things." The things we say and do consciously are the tip of the iceberg—many of our reactions and feelings are unconscious, and based on underlying values and assumptions about society which we may not even be aware we have.
Editor’s Note: Speaker notes for FOSDEM 2017 talk in Community DevRoom (video included).
I have a somewhat embarrassing admission: I’ve been working in (or at least near) open source software for a little more than two years and, before All Things Open last month, I didn’t really understood the subtleties around different types of open source licenses.
I wasn’t a total IP ignoramous. I even took a graduate-level class in media law while I was in journalism school and we covered copyright in great detail. So, I understood that according to US law, everything was copyrighted upon creation (or more accurately, when fixed in a set medium). And I understood that there were open source licenses that essentially released works from copyright.
But (here’s the admission) I thought "copyleft" was a specific license. I learned otherwise when Andrew Hall, a lawyer with Fenwick and West, LLP, who specializes in IP law, explained in his Open Source Licensing & Business Models talk that copyleft is not a specific license, but rather a term that describes all licenses that allow derivative works, but require derivates (if distributed) to use the same license as the original work.