julia_beck: GIF with Sackboy and captions "cute. capable. determined!" + "OTW translationmasters!!" + "now with added jetpacks" (translation_masters)
[personal profile] julia_beck
Happy Ada Lovelace day!

Your task for today: highlight one excellent woman in tech. You have 20 minutes!

Truth to be told, if it weren't for the OTW, I'd spend these 20 minutes frantically trying to remember female game designers/writers (uuhmmm... Jennifer Hepler? *blank* ... ... oh brain, why so scatter?)

But since I am a happy little cog* in that glorious open culture contraption, I'm faced with an embarrassement of riches -- only one woman? /o\

My first inclination was to write about Kristen Murphy, our Webmasters chair. But that would mean ignoring allison morris, who has been coaxing Drupal into cooperation before her; and then I thought about how inspiring Elz has been to me; and of Rebecca, who has my undying gratitude because she rose up to become the "someone" in "someone should build that Archive translation interface..."

...cue INDECISION 2011...

Faced with so many choices I... decided to return to my initial inspiration, the one I'm acquainted with most closely.

Why am I choosing Kristen as my tech heroine?

Together with the webmasters team, she administers the various OTW websites, from our mains site transformativeworks.org to the Transformative Works and Cultures platform, all based on existing OSS like OJS or Drupal.

...that doesn't sound very creative on the face of it, does it?

But it means adapting and maintaining sometimes extremely recalcitrant content management systems and modules. That is, constant problem-solving and bug-sleuthing and hand-wringing (okay, the hand-wringing is usually my part, Kristen herself always exhibits extreme serenity under pressure.) I wasn't joking when I wrote about "coaxing Drupal into cooperation" above -- and Kristen, who took over liaising with the Translation committee from allison, has always been very diligent in trying to accommodate our translatorly needs, keeping us up to date, and in explaining problems and hiccups in a way that we can understand.

It's not that she can bend Drupal to do everything we want it to, sadly, hah. But her friendly, respectful and transparent communication inspires confidence that we'll get there, eventually, together. That is worth so much to me as someone who is very curious, but has all too often experienced equivalents of "just sit back and wait, you won't understand this anyway."

In fact, that "oh! I get this!" impulse has made me confident enough to lurk the Drupal forums and wanting to get more involved (*knocks on wood*), to the degree that I've now decided to learn PHP. (/o\ YES I am actually kind of terrified? Look I can't even play Metal Gear Solid without tears of frustration. Sad truth.)

I'm pretty sure I will be mediocre at best, and, knowing myself, I won't get very far before ultimately throwing my hands up in frustration. But what I've finally grokked is that it's perfectly okay to try scary technical things out ...and fail at them abyssmally.

I just shouldn't let my preconceptions keep me from trying. That's all.

(and imagine, it only took three years in the OTW for this to seep in! Hah. Those were some persistent internalized attitudes.)

Let's celebrate those preconception-busting heroines today :D Do tell/link me yours?

Related links:

- [personal profile] lucyp (herself an inspiration): portrait of [personal profile] lim

- the AO3 team's celebration of [personal profile] sidra

- plus, of course, the general OTW post on the subject

- [personal profile] via_ostiense's three heroines: undersigned.

* I adore the song and love the text -- I always sing along and grin, wrily.

Date: 2011-10-07 09:59 pm (UTC)
esteefee: (talky-hands)
From: [personal profile] esteefee
\Kristen/ so patient, persistent and fun to work with! and did I mention patient with all the foibles of the technologies we've chosen to use? what a great choice of heroines.

happy ada lovelace day!

Date: 2011-10-08 01:37 am (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
It's like I'm getting to know three quarters of the OTW today :D Thanks for posting!

Date: 2011-10-08 12:47 pm (UTC)
juniperphoenix: Spoof of the "Charlotte's Web" cover with text: "OTW Webmasters" (OTW: Webmasters)
From: [personal profile] juniperphoenix

Thank you for this; it was seriously the high point of my week. I'm so looking forward to working more closely with you next year. <3

*cheers on your PHP efforts*


julia_beck: Rectangular cake with white frosting and yellow inscription "AO3= <3" (Default)
Julia Beck

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