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@zkat zkat/
Created Jan 13, 2017

What would you like to do?
Director nomination for Kat Marchán

Yes hi it's me

Hi! I'm Kat, and I want to throw my hat in as one of the nominees for Individual Membership Director for the Node.js Foundation. Why? Because the Foundation needs to do more for its individual members. All of them.

Do you have a place at the table?

JavaScript is one of the fastest-growing and most popular programming languages in the world, and Node is its primary platform for backend usage. npm's own userbase is estimated to be around 4 million, and downloads number at around 1.6 billion every week. Every single npm user is also a Node.js user in some capacity.

How many of those people have their interests represented in leadership? Which groups of people have we served best? Which groups do we never hear about? Who are the contributors, really? Do we want to change that? How could we?

I want to answer these questions. I believe that there are enough people out there who feel left out of the process, not because of their ability, but because of who they are, that Node.js needs to step up and commit to making itself a platform where individuals can apply their time and skill to make this great common tool more useful for their own use, and by extension benefit the rest of us.

Making Node.js a Better Place

I believe, both from personal experience and from conversations with a wide range of individuals, that the Node.js project is not the best it can be at welcoming and supporting the wide variety of people that make up its userbase. I see the Individual Membership Director positions as an important seat at the table meant to represent their -- your -- voices. As such, if I'm elected into that position, I will push hard for Node to get a better sense of how it's doing, and use that information to develop and execute a plan for making sure Node benefits from the wide range of talents and perspectives of its userbase, rather than the subset represented right now. To such end, I want to offer the following efforts as part of my board membership:

  • Survey the Node.js community to get a sense of where they're from, who they are, and what they need. This way, we can better find where our current weaknesses and blind spots are -- this survey will be intended to reach the widest audience possible, and include both technical and personal details that users are willing to volunteer.
  • Use the survey results to advocate for fund allocation on the Foundation side intended to help address any weak points it found. This can take the shape of anything from new community events/initiatives to improved internal processes and new outreach strategies.
  • Work with the TSC and other relevant working groups on the technical side of Node to help bring a wider variety of people into their contribution base and make sure those who come in and are willing to contribute positively are able to stick around and keep making Node better. Initiative on this front could range anywhere from improving processes to more accessible documentation to training existing leadership to identify and manage community issues.

Let Me Be Your Voice

As one of the core engineers for the npm CLI, I've helped manage one of the busiest issue trackers on Github. This has given me and the rest of my team a particular perspective on the wider Node.js community, specially internationally -- many Node users will never even invoke node in the command line, but they'll certainly follow instructions to use npm to install some other command line tool with which to continue their work.

I also participate in a wide variety of communities intended for developers who belong to groups that tend to be underrepresented in the tech community, including in Node -- LGBTQ+ people, women, people of color, non-native English speakers (or those who do not speak English at all). I even manage some of these communities, myself. I believe my direct connection to these groups -- and my own membership of several of them -- give me a unique perspective and ability to speak up for their needs and concerns. As Node becomes popular and more businesses continue to choose it as the platform of choice for building their own products, I believe it's my personal responsibility to do my best to make sure those in our society who are the most vulnerable are able to benefit and profit from the privileges that members of the tech industry are able to enjoy. If there's any single strongest personal reason for nominating myself, it's to try my best to help in this regard.

Finally, I have concrete experience with the sorts of processes that can be implemented to improve this situation in the JavaScript community: I launched in 2016 as an experiment intended to develop tools to promote healthy coexistence and cooperation between folks who usually find it hard to interact. Thus far, it's proven to be a great success. Previously, I was one of the founding members of the Node.js Inclusivity Working group, where I learned about Node Core and the Node Foundation's processes and governance. I was also previously a nominee for the Node.js TSC based on both those efforts, and my technical contributions as an npm developer.

Vote for Kat!

In conclusion, I believe that the single greatest concern facing the Node community right now is the issue surrounding those who are currently unable to participate. As a technical member of this community, I believe the current situation deprives us of valuable technical perspective and talent, and that changing that will only increase the quality of everything we do, and open new doors for the future of Node.js as a platform, an open source project, and a community of individuals.

I hope you will grant me the opportunity of sitting at the table where I could help those voices -- your voices -- be heard.

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