otsukare Thoughts after a day of work

The values of sharing and archiving when working

This was written in the spirit of sharing and self-instropecting the way I prefer working.

I had a simple conversation (edited for expressing a general idea and not focusing on a specific case) about participation (after a request of a 1-1 meeting). I replied:

About the off-discussions, I will encourage you to do everything on record. It is a lot better and more inclusive and helps to keep history of the discussions. So use the issues tracker, the mailing-list, etc. :) but let's make it in public, not 1 to 1. ;)

which the person replied:

yes on the documentation part. but I want to gather information first, so a 1:1 would be great. Just to get a feeling in which direction the project should head.

I was about to send an email as an answer, but thought it would be better for a wider audience, and it would also probably help clarify my own ideas about it.

The thing which makes me uncomfortable is, I guess, this part: yes on the documentation part. but I want to gather information first. The gather information part, the process in which we assemble ideas to come up with a draft is essential to me in terms of understanding the path as a group we take, because the voyage is more important than the destination. There's not that much difference for me in between the gather information and the documentation part. This is probably due to two things in my life:

The more inclusive we are when drafting things, exploring ideas, recording them, the better it is for the community as large. Community doesn't necessary mean the world. It could be the community of interests. It's all about the context. Even if only two persons are discussing the issue, the fact that it is on record and archived will/might help, even the silent readers.

  • some might confirm their own opinions.
  • or they might be encouraged to make their own point because they have a slight disagreement.
  • or they might bring to the table a point that the two persons in the 1:1 had not thought about.
  • And quite important to me, it automatically describes the past, and leaves a trail of data making it easier to connect the dots in 10 to 20 years from now.

I understand that I surprise people by my own determination (stubbornness) to work this way. We are imperfect souls. We do mistakes. And we are afraid to do them in public. The typical example for me is my JavaScript skills, but on the long term, it helped me a lot more to do my naive mistakes and acknowledged them in recorded environment than to get stucked. People want to help. Our own mistakes help others. It's also why the amazing work—86 episodes already!—done my Mike Conley, The Joy of Coding, is essential to an healthy community and encouragement to the rest of the people. If you had to watch one, just start with the first one. See how Mike is stumbling, hesitating, going back and forth, how he is documenting is thoughts process. This is liberating for others who are less comfortable with this type of code.

So when you think you are ashamed, struggling with imperfect thoughts, if you need a push in the back to encourage you to go on records, just think about all the people you will help doing that. The people less knowledgeable than you. Yes they exist. That's the altruistic part. And think about all the things you will learn in the process with people more knowledgeable than you. That's the amazing self-development part.

Comments

Thinking in The Open

A post by Akshay S Dinesh on January 18, 2017 - Thinking in The Open

… how cool it would be if every idea that every person has is documented and permanently stored on the internet.

Slightly related to this comment from Akshay: Paper trail

Otsukare!