[Chaoss-members] Creation of a new project on Diversity and Inclusion Metrics/Software

Sean Goggins s at goggins.com
Fri Nov 10 20:19:45 UTC 2017

Hi Daniel and All:

I agree with the principle that CHAOSS should be focused on metrics. And this is a useful delineation as we wade into participating in more complex efforts, requiring contributions from across the OSS and LF communities. Things like Diversity and Inclusion. 

I *do* think, however, that we need to be concerned with how the metrics are used. How humans take our measurements and make sense of them is our responsibility, I think. There are values embedded in what we choose to measure, and values embedded in how we choose to measure those things. Algorithms have values, IMHO. 

Additional principles that might serve us:

1. Our rationale for choosing metrics should include a statement regarding the ways we could imagine the metric being used “incorrectly” … OR … perhaps a general principle that recognizes that measurement can cause harm, and that we aim to only produce metrics with a likelihood of doing more good than harm.
2. We acknowledge our metrics may be used by policy makers. We encourage policymakers to enter a discourse with our metrics and software groups in some way prior to using our metrics for policy making
3. The implementation of metrics in software should be transparent. 
4. Data used as inputs to metrics should be defined clearly, so that comparisons across source are not conflated inappropriately. 

Those could be more concise. But its friday afternoon and I am not producing concise. 


> On Nov 10, 2017, at 1:54 PM, D M German <dmg at turingmachine.org <mailto:dmg at turingmachine.org>> wrote:
> hi everybody,
> Daniel Izquierdo twisted the bytes to say:
> Daniel> Thanks for your comments!
> Daniel> In the short term, the goal is to keep measuring gender-diversity, as this is what we have so far.
> the more i think about it, the more I think that gender is just like any
> other categorical attribute of the contributor. From the point of view
> of metrics definition and implementation it is not different than, for
> example, geographical location.
> Metrics that capture gender are simply metrics that aggregate by the
> gender attribute, and are no different than the metrics that aggregate
> for any other categorical attribute of the user.
> I think one of the major challenges that OpenStack is facing is how to
> identify the gender of the developer.
> So perhaps this is an importnat distinction to make:
> are we talking about a project that identifies the gender of a
> developer (this is a hard and interesting problem).
> or
> are we talking about simply adding to the attributes of the user a field
> called gender that can be used for aggregation purposes? In that case
> hte metric has nothing special about it (this is trivial).
> Daniel> In the medium term, the goal is to understand how under
> Daniel> represented communities evolve over time, bring metrics of
> Daniel> interest and help OSS projects with this respect.
> In my opinon, this should not be the goal of CHAOSS. CHAOSS should not
> be concerned on how the metrics are used (to understand). CHAOSS should
> be about measuring only. CHAOSS should not be about making policy.
> --
> Daniel M. German                  "As De Gaulle used to say:
>                                   'Aim well, shoot fast
>   Henri Cartier Bresson ->        and get the hell out.'"
> http://turingmachine.org/ <http://turingmachine.org/>
> http://silvernegative.com/
> dmg (at) uvic (dot) ca
> replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .
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Sean P. Goggins
Associate Professor, Computer Science
Director, Data Science and Analytics Masters Program
University of Missouri
http://www.seangoggins.net <http://www.seangoggins.net/>

Computer Science:  http://engineering.missouri.edu/cs/  <http://engineering.missouri.edu/cs/>
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MU Informatics Institute http://muii.missouri.edu <http://muii.missouri.edu/> 
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