Podcast: Know Your History: Ethical Source with Coraline Ehmke

Coraline Ehmke’s path to the tech industry was non-traditional. It took someone to turn the key for her to find the community that she sought. 25 years later, Coraline is still working in tech and has been open about her experience as a trans person in the industry. Coraline is our guest this week on […]

Coraline Ehmke’s path to the tech industry was non-traditional. It took someone to turn the key for her to find the community that she sought. 25 years later, Coraline is still working in tech and has been open about her experience as a trans person in the industry.

Coraline is our guest this week on Collaborative Craft. She shared what it was like in the early days of the Internet and how the smoking lounge was the great equalizer. Coraline also discussed the evolution of open-source communities and why it is important for her to talk publicly about her personal journey. Coraline has been an inspiration for many of us at 8th Light, and we hope you can be inspired from our conversation as well.

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This podcast was produced by Dante32.

Episode Transcript

Know Your History: Ethical Source with Coraline Ehmke

[00:00:00] Jerome: I'm gonna steal Thomas' last question here, because I just wanted to ask it.

[00:00:06] Thomas: Sorry, a meta note: that was Jerome's question originally. I just said it out loud.

[00:00:10] Jerome: You know, we share, we swap.

[00:00:12] Thomas: We have one brain.

[00:00:13] Jerome: It's fluid.

[00:00:19] Thomas: Hi everyone, I'm Thomas Countz.

[00:00:21] Jerome: And I'm Jerome Goodrich.

[00:00:23] Thomas: And you're listening to Collaborative Craft, a podcast brought to you by 8th Light.

[00:00:29] Jerome: So Thomas, who are we talking to today?

[00:00:32] Thomas: Oh, I will tell you who we're talking to today. We are talking to Coraline Ada Ehmke. She is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, activist, and software engineer with over 25 years of experience in the technology industry.

She's best known as the creator of the Contributors Covenant, which is the first and most popular code of conduct for open source communities. She was recognized for her work in the Ruby community with a Ruby Hero Award in 2016, she created the Hippocratic License, an ethical source license prohibiting the use of open source in conjunction with human rights violations.

And today she is the co-founder and executive director of the Organization for Ethical Source. Which is a global, multidisciplinary community working to empower open-source developers by creating tools to ensure that their work is used for social good and in the service of human rights. It goes without saying that overall, Coraline works diligently to promote diversity, equity and justice in open source communities and the tech industry as a whole.

And today we get to talk to her.

[00:01:48] Jerome: Yes.

Coraline is a pioneer. She's a Maverick. She's been at this for such a long time and has been so influential in such a really meaningful way, but it's also kind of innocuous. You know, she's basically designed some of the ethical frameworks that we currently use to develop software. And given just the huge lever that software and specifically open source software has on our world today, it is an immense privilege and honor to get a glimpse into how she had the gall, right, to take on these ambitious projects. I'm just super stoked to hear from her.

[00:02:34] Thomas: Yeah. Likewise. If you have not heard Coraline Ada Ehmke's name, I guarantee you, you still have benefited from her work. I was that person, not that long ago.

I mean, when I started in the software world and in the open source world, not that long ago, contributor.md – I just took that for granted. I was like, yeah, you just do that. Every repo has that.

[00:02:58] Jerome: It's just like a README.

[00:03:00] Thomas: Exactly! Turns out, no, that's not- it didn't just come from anywhere. It literally came from the work that Coraline and her contemporaries did to make that a norm.

[00:03:12] Jerome: Incredible.

[00:03:13] Thomas: What an amazing privilege it is to hear about that journey. And in a lot of ways, like we talked about Eva, there's a lot in our industry that isn't like writing code that we're all still working on. And I think her stories are the stories we need to remember so that we remember how we solved these problems, the problems that we have solved, how we solved them in the first place.

Yeah. The ubiquity of her contributions is just insane. Like you said, you don't even think about it. I don't know if there's much more to say let's talk to her.

Actually, sorry, just one more thing before we jump into our conversation with Coraline. Another reason why I'm really excited to talk to her about the Organization for Ethical Source, is because it's like something that I feel like already exists in the future. So like my husband and I, we play this game all the time called Terraforming Mars. And you kind of like play as a corporation to Terraform the planet. And I can see like this Organization for Ethical Source being one of those like corporations, because as we get more and more into the future, like more and more of what we do is going to be tied into software in one way or another.

And we need institutions, like the Organization for Ethical Source to build frameworks and, I don't know, shape policy and be something that other corporations can subscribe to in order to manage the crazy world that we're heading into. So it's like, it feels like Coraline is like literally building the future right now.

[00:04:56] Jerome: Yeah. It's not only ubiquity, it's also longevity. Yeah, I can totally see. I'm even more excited to talk to her now. It's like, hurry up. Let's go.

[00:05:08] Thomas: All right. Let's jump into our conversation with Coraline.
Hello, Coraline. Welcome to Collaborative Craft. Thank you so much for taking the time to have a chat with us today.

[00:05:25] Coraline: Hi Thomas, hi Jerome. I'm so happy to be here with ya'll.

[00:05:29] Thomas: So to dive in, give me a 20,000 foot, I don't know, is that very high, 50,000 foot view of kind of what your day to day looks like now?

[00:05:42] Coraline: Well, I retired from corporate tech in April of this year after a 26-year career as an engineer, because the opportunity came up to pursue – I hate to say a social justice work because that term has some baggage with it – but essentially the opportunity for me to do the work that I've been doing since 2012/2013 that started with Contributor Covenant in taking that to a larger scale through the Organization for Ethical Source.

So my day-to-day is pretty wild now. I'm seeing a lot of things that are the water that engineers swim in. So yeah, my day-to-day is doing my life work and that is a tremendous privilege.

[00:06:30] Jerome: That's so awesome. I can already tell this is going to be an amazing conversation just based off of the fact that you referenced David Foster Wallace's commencement speech right out of the gate. I mean, it's one of my favorites. I'm just really curious, like, how did you start coding? What was your foray into the tech world like?

[00:06:52] Coraline: My dad was an engineer who worked in a factory town and we didn't have a lot of money, but we were comfortable. And when I was about maybe eight or nine years old, maybe a little younger, we had our first home computer.

The first one we had was a TRS AV, which was a Tandy/Radio Shack computer. And back then, of course, without the internet, how do you get programs? So we had magazines like Byte magazine and so on, that would have source code listings in them. And so the way you got software was by typing in source code. And editors weren't really a thing.

So, oftentimes you would type your entire program and find a syntax error somewhere. And it was non-trivial to fix it. So my point being you had to pay attention, right? So as an eight or nine-year-old kid, I thought the computer was cool, but once I got over the notion of it being cool, I'm like, well, what can I do with this?

So by paying attention to the source code in magazines like Byte, I started getting first, a degree of literacy, and then eventually a level of fluency that people using computers were generally speaking the same as people who were programming computers.

So in high school, we had a computer literacy class. It was a two year class. I was of course, very excited to take part in it. I was maybe a ninth grade, eighth grade/ninth grade. And there are people in my life who have like been there and like turned the key in the door. And the first person, well, I guess the second person, my dad would be the first, but I had the computer lit teacher.

His name was Mr. Williams. And the first assignment we got was to write a coin toss simulator. And because I already had at this point several years of programming under my belt. And because at that time I was kind of a show off. I did a graphical coin toss, but I did this animation of a hand and the thumb flies up and the coin, you know, twists in the air and comes back down.

And then it would tell like heads or tails. And the key that Mr. Williams turned in the door was, he said, "this class is not for you. I'm going to work with you directly. To use the skills you have and help you move those forward." So Mr. Williams essentially designed the curriculum for me and he enlisted my help in working with the other students from the class to help them with their learning journeys as well.

And that kindness, and the kindness coupled with the responsibility, I think really set a foundation that I've relied on throughout my entire tech career. So, you know, growing up with a computer and having all this validation of my skills. And everything I knew in high school, I'm going to go into computer programming. That's my path. It seemed natural. Right?

So I get to college and I signed up for a CS degree and I take my first computer programming course in college. I'm not going to share the name of this professor because I didn't like him, but we were learning C. We were programming in C and I don't think I had any experience with C at that point. And the semester-long project was to write software for an ATM.

And y'all I was bored. I was so bored. I was like, first of all, it's not going to take me a semester to write this. Secondly, I don't enjoy programming in C. And thirdly, like if this is what the job is going to be like, I can't do this. And so I faced like a real existential crisis because you know, the plans that I had in my head for how my life was going to turn out, oh, they didn't look so good anymore.

I ended up switching degrees to English and dropping out third semester. And that could have been the end of the story. But at this point I was living in Austin, Texas. And I had a friend who gave me an Atari STacy, which was a really unique computer in that it had MIDI support.

And for those of you who don't know, MIDI is a protocol for allowing musical instruments to talk to each other. So this computer was like designed for music production. And it came with a modem. So I got on BPSs, I got on the internet in 1993. I remember the URL of my first website.

It was www.bga.net/tildadantic/index.html. So, at this point, you know, I'm a college dropout. I have no real skills. My early twenties, I have no career ahead of me. I'm drifting. Right. And that's fine. When you're 20/21, you can drift a bit. That's fine. So I was living in Austin, Texas, and my girlfriend at the time helped me get a job.

Her dad was the VP of a company called National Instruments and they make the LabView programming language. And they did a lot of like hardware and software for scientific applications. So I got a job there, glamorous job, stuffing envelopes.

And coming up on another key turn here. So at that point in time, I was very early in my smoking career. There was a pavilion outside where at 10 o'clock in the morning, 12 o'clock in the afternoon and again at 3:00 in the afternoon, everyone would like go out and smoke. And in a way, the smoking pavilion was the great equalizer because here I am – a college dropout stuffing envelopes for living – and I am enjoying cigarettes with engineers, hardware and software engineers, executives, people at all levels of the company.

And we all have stuff to talk about. But especially I had a lot to talk about with the software engineers and the networking folks. So I built relationships with them over time. And I remember one day, it was 1994/1995, I'm talking to one of my smoking buddy friends. His name was Dave. And he said, Coraline I don't know if you heard, but we're putting together a team to build a website for us.

And I was like, oh, that's great. It'll be good for the company to get on the internet. And he said, well, what do you think that's going to do for your career? So I applied to the web team and yeah, I landed my first tech job, like completely by accident because I had the background and the context, but also because I smoked. And yeah, kind of a weird start, but I think a lot of the foundational things, you know Mr. Williams, recognizing that I had a talent or an inclination that didn't conform to the expectations of a 13/14-year-old kid and his kindness that he extended to me and the kindness that that they've extended it to me. So that's something that I've tried to carry with me throughout my career. Always looking for ways that I can open the door for somebody else.

[00:14:15] Thomas: Yeah. With that story, I'd love to talk about… even your earlier story also reminded me like getting code from a magazine. I mean, that's also kind of an example of very early community. I'd like to hear your thoughts about the community then, versus the community now. What the parallels are and how the tech community has used tech to advance the community.

[00:14:41] Coraline: Well, at the beginning there was no community. I think we kind of take for granted that one of the broad social, cultural changes that came about with the birth of the internet and more and more people going to the internet, was that finally there was that chance to create a community. And boy, did we get it wrong for a long time. And boy, we're still getting it wrong. And really the start of a community though became what today is called the demo scene. And I don't think we had a name for it then. When you cracked software, it became pretty common for you to put in- to take credit for it. So you would make maybe what we call splash screen or something. If you wanted to do something fancy or do an animation.

And of course you couldn't use your name because the feds. So you'd have your handle, your nick. And you'd be like, "oh, so-and-so cracked this. I bet it's really good." You know, your reputation would spread through these parties where people were copying floppies, and there's a certain degree of social currency in like seeing your own work show up at one of these parties.

So there was a sense of- there was a sense of pride there and I think, you know, maybe the beginning of that hacker spirit. So yeah, and then the internet comes along and now we can find people with similar interests to the nth degree of precision. And that was really helpful to me early on in the internet, because that was the first time I was able to, first of all, learn the word. And second of all, find out that there were transgender people in the world.

But what I worry about today is this endless mitosis, where our communities are dividing into smaller and smaller units, and we're not talking to each other very much. And I especially see this in the realm of social justice. It is absolutely essential for communities to have shared values and shared goals and a shared context.

And for that to be a supportive and safe environment. But I don't see a lot of talking across community bounds. And I think, the internet was good and bad for that. So I think, you know, we can talk about maybe an ecosystem as opposed to a tech community. Because in actuality, this ecosystem is like thousands of small social and cultural units. But that evolution itself, I think, is endemic to the technology. So that's kind of fascinating.

[00:17:10] Jerome: This notion of mitosis and dividing our communities into atoms. It reminded me of something that we talked about earlier. And I was wondering if you could talk about why you do most of your learning in public and what that means to you.

[00:17:32] Coraline: In the early 2010s, I won't go into all the full details, but I had a crisis.

And the decision that I had ahead of me was to take control of my life and my identity and transition. Do my gender transition. And there was no "community" around that, that was healthy or sustainable in any kind of way. And back then, it's amazing how much and how little has changed since then, but there weren't good role models. You know, being trans was shameful. It was taboo. It still is, but it's better. But that year, I saw a video of Lana Wachowski accepting the visibility award from HRC. And HRC is a very problematic organization that I won't get into, but a transgender woman was recognized as a role model.

And, for those of you who don't know the Wachowski sisters are most famous for The Matrix. And Lana Wachowski in the speech – and she's awesome, she's like just incredible. And so this is her first time appearing publicly since The Matrix. It wasn't widely known that she had transitioned. So this was my first time learning that. And she tells her story and it's very entertaining, very witty, and very acerbic.

And toward the end, like the theme of her talk was about public versus private life and the struggles she had making a public appearance or appearing in public and the scrutiny that that would subject her to. And that's something that she didn't want to experience, but towards the end of her speech, she said, "there's some things you do for yourself and there are some things you do for others. And she said the reason she was appearing in public, the reason she was doing that is because she too, didn't have role models. She too could not see herself in the world. And so she was sacrificing her privacy to help make a difference in the broader world. And that is exactly what I try to do.

I try to live up to that. It was that speech- Lana Wachowski was the first transgender woman that I saw that I was like, I can relate to her. And that was like a tremendous turning point in my life that gave me a glimmer of hope. So I learn in public, I make myself vulnerable, not only about being trans or about my story, but also the mental health challenges I face.

And it's all because I want to be that person who turns the key for someone else. I want to be the person that someone out there can see something of themselves in, and maybe give them a glimmer of hope that they can make a transformation as well. This is my basic operating principle. And it's painful and there's a real price for it.

Not only the psychological price of, you know, privacy and being subject to public scrutiny, but also the endless stream of harassment, death threats, doxing, and so on, that is always flavored with me being trans, me having mental health challenges, me having been too subtle at some point. All of those things are always used against me, they always frame the conversation. But I think it's worth it.

[00:21:05] Thomas: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that and sharing that story. And I will say you are a role model. If people don't share that with you or feel confident or comfortable in sharing it with you, I can certainly share that with you, that you are in the same way that she was for you, you are a role model for others.

So thank you for…

[00:21:26] Coraline: Thank you very much for saying that, Thomas.

[00:21:28] Thomas: Yeah. And thank you for all that you do. And I think that- speaking of what you do for others, I'd like to talk about the Contributors Covenant and how I am assuming- develop that with the same kind of perspective that this is for a community of people who are within this larger ecosystem that maybe don't have the tools or the voice or the agency to advocate for themselves. So we can develop this tool to kind of try to create space for that. Tell us about where that came from and how that developed and where it is now.

[00:22:07] Coraline: Sure. And I'm even going to do something that my co-mentor always reminds me to do and take credit for something.

[00:22:16] Thomas: Yes, do it.

[00:22:19] Coraline: So in the early 2010's, there was, you know, the tech-feminist movement.

There were people like Shannon Kane and Ash Striden and Julie Picanno, and many others. And they took me in. They took me under their wing and we were working loosely together. And one of the things that Ash Striden did, and again, this is something we take for granted, not even 10 years later. The group of us were working very hard to normalize, or even start with tech conferences, having codes of conduct.

And you would not believe what battle that was. And there were a lot of casualties in that battle. So, Ash built a website that was a pledge for people who were frequent speakers at conferences to commit to not speaking at conferences that did not have a code of conduct. And I was, a happy signature on that.

And I was very involved in those battles. And kind of from the community perspective I was like, well, tech conferences are one way that this community comes together, but we also do that in open source projects. I'm going to take credit for this, but I could be wrong. And if I'm wrong, I'm gonna be wrong publicly, like usually. I don't think people were thinking of open source projects as communities back then. So this was kind of a sideways concept for a lot of open source projects. And it was another battle. It just seemed like the right thing to do. It seemed like the same kind of mechanism for not only attracting people from different backgrounds and different experiences and different bad circumstances related to systems of oppression. It seemed to translate well.

So yeah, I sat down and wrote version one of Contributors Covenant and I take credit for inventing the code of conduct markdown. And I've been very honored, privileged, and burdened with evolving Contributors Covenant over time, as it became normalized, as it was put into practice and needed to evolve in response to that.

And I'm very proud of helping us make that step forward. In the early days, having a code of conduct in your open source project was a political statement. You know, we didn't have DEI programs at the corporate level. We didn't have any of this. So it was intended, in part, not only to create that safety, but also as a way for open source community leaders and contributors to signal, "Hey, we're going to do our best to make this safe for you. Hey, we're going to do our best to, you know, contextualize your lived experience and your living situation within a broader society in a way that we hope will be healthy and helpful and safe for you.

It signaled the intent at the very least and tried to provide a mechanism for putting that into practice. And now we're starting to talk about things like governance. With the Hippocratic License, we're starting to have conversations about norms. So it's all a continuation of that same work. It's the continuation of the theory that communities form around code.

And that's a journey.

[00:25:53] Jerome: That is so, so interesting. It's really interesting to me that you, that you say that it's still a theory. Can you dig in on that a little bit more?

[00:26:03] Coraline: The way I define a community is that it is a social group. And I'm saying this in the context of the online world, not necessarily all communities. It is a social group organized around shared interests or shared goals and shared values.

Codes of conduct. Contributors Covenant is intended to be the minimal set of shared values that hopefully are universal enough in their application and context to be a standard and the work I'm doing now with, you know, normative licensing and some work I have coming up on explicit social contracts.

All of these are built on the theory that online communities in the software commons or in the broader digital commons, have a set of shared values. And I would say that's not proven yet. But yeah, it's a theory. Can we agree across social, cultural, institutional, political spectrums that there exists a set of shared values?

And that the shared values brings us together in a way that makes us a coherent, safe, social group.

[00:27:25] Jerome: That's the risk of going on like a huge tangent. You're bringing me back to college and like my political theory classes and reading Hobbes's Leviathan and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the state of nature and all of that.

Like, we're trying to define what, I mean, the context there was society. Right. But, you know, transpose that with community and we're, we're talking about the same thing.

[00:27:51] Coraline: And Jerome, doing that, taking concepts from one domain and mapping them to another domain. If we're on Greater Than Code and y'all asked me what my superpower was, that's what my super power would be.

[00:28:06] Jerome: Good one.

[00:28:09] Thomas: I want to go back to this idea of signaling intent and that the code of conduct was the way to signal intent. And then now the work that you do, it feels like it is also signaling intent, but it's kind of, we pushed the envelope for- you've pushed the envelope forward with the introduction of these codes of conduct.

So now it's like, all right, that is the kind of minimum. And now what's after that. And it feels like that's the work that you're doing now. I know people can visit the website. It's in the show notes. But could you give us like an idea of where you're pushing the envelope now?

[00:28:48] Coraline: Yeah, from a tactical perspective, my goal for the next few years, and again, this is in collaboration now is to also normalize governance stop mark down. With you know, transitioning from the signal. Which signaling that you have these intentions for your community, that these are our values that our community has, that's got to come with accountability.

You know, it's a common refrain that intent is not magical. I think intent is important, but you have to take responsibility, not just for your intent, but for the real-world impact, for consequences. And that's something that again, is a revolutionary and kind of sideways idea for the way we approach tech, because we have this, you know, this prevalent notion that tech is neutral.

You know, we're just making hammers. And sure, you can kill someone with a hammer, but you can also build a house. So my response to that is we have laws against killing people with hammers. If you kill someone with a hammer, hopefully there's a consequence for it. And even as a hammer manufacturer, you can say a hammer can be used to kill people or build a house.

But if you're designing and marketing to and selling hammers to a gang of thugs that go around murdering people with hammers, you really can't claim that neutrality anymore.

[00:30:13] Thomas: Yeah. I want to draw a parallel to an earlier conversation Jerome and I had with Eva PenzeyMoog in her latest book which you wrote the forward for, Coraline.

It's so beautiful. And yeah, it's, I think her book is a lot about bringing awareness to, particularly to individuals who work in tech, around how easy it is to misuse tech, even when the intent isn't there. But I hear what you're saying, Coraline, it's even further than that. It's when, I mean, you kind of eliminate any friction that would prevent a piece of technology to be used for harm.

And therefore, yeah, intent becomes irrelevant because you've just made it a little bit too easy.

[00:31:02] Coraline: So, anyone with a was a passing familiarity or fluency with or literacy with InfoSec know that there's no such thing as a secure system. There is no way for any device to be part of a network with a 100% guarantee of safety.

So the approach that InfoSec takes, at least from my understanding of it, is a layered approach. And you have to be thoughtful about the layers that you add and each layer introduces a cost in terms of friction. And I would say this is reflected in a couple of different ways and can be thought of as a loosely applied ergonomics.

And as my friend and OES colleague says, ergonomics is the product of design and ethics. We make ethical decisions when we designed systems to incentivize certain behaviors and disincentivize other behaviors. This is largely used against us by tech gatekeepers. The bargain we have to strike with them is yielding agency, yielding digital autonomy, and yielding privacy in exchange for ergonomics. We have to pay them to make things easy.

I think in a similar way, we can look at disincentivizing bad actors, disincentivizing up use of technology. And part of how you do that is friction. The other part of how you do that is accountability, you need both of those things to be successful. And that's where we're going with the work we're doing with ethical source.

We have ethical licenses. We have codes of conduct. We have transparent, explicit, representative governance. And we have something new that I'm working on which is explicit social contracts. All of these are layers to increase friction for the technology we create to be abused and incentivize corporations who are amoral to do the right thing. That's the strategy.

[00:33:15] Jerome: We need to update the trolley problem with something a little more contemporary, I think.

[00:33:22] Coraline: Maybe we should introduce to the trolley problem the concept of brakes. That seems obvious to me, but yeah. Or why now.

[00:33:34] Jerome: I'm gonna steal Thomas' last question here, because I wanted to ask it.

[00:33:39] Thomas: Sorry, a meta note: that was Jerome's question originally, I just said it out loud.

[00:33:44] Jerome: You know, we share, we swap.

[00:33:46] Thomas: We have one brain.

[00:33:47] Jerome: It's fluid.

So yeah, just to kind of wrap things up, given all your experience in open source, I won't call it a community based on what we've talked about and your advocacy and trying to change it. What would you say to somebody that's looking to get started that wants to dip their toes in that world? And why might they want to become part of that in the first place?

[00:34:10] Coraline: I think kind of what reflects my thinking right now is, know your history.

I don't only mean that from a technical aspect, we keep reinventing the same things over and over and over again, and we make them more complicated and more difficult. So I would say know your history, not only from the technology side, but also as a result of me being 26 years in this career, just like y'all were doing where you want to know… where you're asking me questions about my, like kind of my origin story.

You know, our history as contributors to the online ecosystem, the internet, that's pretty short. Right. And the history of computing is also pretty short. We haven't even hit the hundred year mark. But we had people in the 1950s, Edmund Berkeley, who is credited for popularizing the notion of a personal computer who worked in the same Navy lab as Admiral Grace Hopper, and who went on to found the association for computing machinery, the ACM, as early as the 1950s was calling on, what were then referred to as computer people, to accept the outsize responsibility they had as a result of how powerful a lever computing technology is on a societal, cultural and global perspective. He was at a conference. He was invited to speak and he called on people in the audience to either take responsibility for what they were doing, you know, the cold war, war machine, or quit their jobs. And he called out people in the audience by name, including Admiral Grace Hopper. And the way our industry, our nascent industry responded for a call to take responsibility for impact was they got up and left the room. And people are still getting up and leaving the room.

So I would say, know your history, leverage your privilege, take advantage of the economics of software development that we're in right now and figure out how you can open a door for somebody else. How you can turn that key. And if you can't do it now, have a plan for getting there. But it has to be in the context of what came before.

And it has to be in the context of how the world is changing and how the world is constantly evolving and how we're constantly inventing new ways of hurting one another. So we have to also constantly be inventing new ways and iterating because that's what we're supposedly good at and iterating on problems related to the impact of- the outside's impact of the work that we're responsible for.

Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing all of your stories. I think the word I would use, even though it's probably 95 degrees in this room right now, is I am absolutely enthralled. Just thank you so much. Really entertaining, really informative. Really challenging. Yeah just thank you.

Thank you for that, Jerome and Thomas, and I appreciate the opportunity to share these stories.

[00:37:20] Jerome: Huge thanks again to Coraline. What an amazing person, what an amazing conversation. I felt like a child getting read a bedtime story.

And like a really inspirational one. I think my biggest takeaway from that conversation was really an appreciation for Coraline's commitment to being a Key Turner. To being somebody that opens the door for others and just an admiration for that drive and for her commitment to learning in public, her commitment to battling and fighting for us all to make the tech world and to make contributing to software and developing software, a safer space for everybody. It was just incredibly inspiring. And I think I can go nighty-night now with some really good dreams.

[00:38:20] Thomas: Yeah, truly, I mean, I said earlier, but like truly a role model for software developers, contributors and software users. What really struck me about our conversation was just like how much work there still is to do.

And that can sound pessimistic. Kind of like, we do a lot of throwbacks, but kind of like Eva's- the conversation with Eva. Like there is a kind of a wave of astonishment that comes over me when I realize how much work there is to do and that there's people doing the work and that it doesn't come from nothing.

I think I mentioned earlier how, like, I didn't know where contributors.md came from and now I know, and not only do I know that Coraline made that happen, I also know the work that went into it to make that happen. And like we have that amount of work and then some to do on all of the other problems facing tech.

And I love that she talked about really the focus around governance and transparency, and there's an equal amount of work to continue to do. And it's really inspiring to me. I don't know. I feel somehow, kind of like you like safer knowing that Coraline is working on this. I'm like, oh yeah. If anyone is going to really tackle these problems and come up with interesting collaborative and meaningful and impactful solutions, I mean, it's going to be her.

It doesn't mean that I don't want to help. I want to help in any way. And I think doing things- what now could seem like small things, like making sure you have a code of conduct, making sure you have contributors.md. And that like you read it and understand it and are prepared to, you know, enforce it. It's a lot of community stuff.

[00:40:12] Jerome: Yeah. I think it goes back to, you know, the story she shared about Edmund Berkeley and his call to action way back for what were, I guess, software developers back in the day, to really, you know, take ownership and ethical responsibility for what they put out in the world.

It's really interesting how far we've come. And, and like you were saying, just like how far we have to go.

[00:40:37] Thomas: And it's exciting, this industry/ecosystem, I think some people see it as just code and numbers and engineering. And I see it as like, yeah, all of these things that- it's an industry, it's an entire industry and it needs policy and frameworks and norms and customs and values. Those need to be defined.

[00:41:00] Jerome: And as you were saying before our conversation, it's the future.

[00:41:03] Thomas: It's the future. The future is now.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Collaborative Craft.

[00:41:17] Jerome: Check out the show notes for a link to this episode's transcript and to learn more about our guest.

[00:41:22] Thomas: Collaborative Craft is brought to you by 8th Light and produced by our friends at Dante32.

[00:41:28] Jerome: 8th Light is a software consultancy dedicated to increasing the quality of software in the world, by partnering with our clients to deliver custom solutions to ambitious projects.

[00:41:38] Thomas: To learn more about 8th Light and how we can help you grow your software development and design capabilities, visit our website 8thlight.com.

[00:41:46] Jerome: Thanks again for listening. And don't forget to subscribe to Collaborative Craft wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:41:52] Thomas: You can also follow us on Twitter at @collabcraftcast to join in the conversation and let us know who you'd like to hear from next.

[00:42:00] Jerome: We'd love to hear from you.

[00:42:02] Thomas: Bye.

Source: 8th Light