It's OK to be Average

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B202/203


Open Source communities are often full of "the one who invented ___" people. They've written RFCs, gotten patents, published software that's already installed on every computer you'll ever buy. It can be kind of intimidating. But there's room for more than that--and welcoming more people can improve your project exponentially!


We regularly talk about how to get new people into an open source project, how to get the most out of our volunteers, and how to encourage people to become more involved.

This talk will work on the other side of that equation: meeting contributors where they’re at, welcoming folk who might not want to become core committers, learning what our projects can do to be more open to all.

And in the process, you’ll get a healthier, more vibrant, and much more diverse community. How cool is that!?

We’ll look at some examples of projects that do this well (and not so well!), talk through little things you can implement to make big changes, and cover both the technical and social sides of contributor care and feeding.

Speaking experience

I've spoken at conferences around the world, from Open Source Bridge to OSCON, KiwiFOO to LCA. I'm comfortable in formats from keynotes to Ignite, BarCamp to workshop. Not enough conferences video their talks, but you can see me speaking at LCA here:


  • Noirin

    Noirin Plunkett

    The Apache Software Foundation


    Noirin Plunkett is a jack of all trades, and a master of several. A technical writer by day, her open source work epitomizes the saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.

    Noirin got her open source start at Apache, helping out with the httpd documentation project. Within a year, she had been recruited to the conference planning team, which she now leads. She was involved in setting up the Community Development project at Apache, has previously acted as Org Admin for the Google Summer of Code (with more than 40 students!), and continues to contribute to projects as diverse as Infrastructure and Incubator. She sits on the boards of both the Apache Software Foundation and the Open Cloud Initiative.

    At home in Ireland, Noirin was a volunteer with the St John Ambulance – since moving to Switzerland, she’s had to find new ways to help save the world. Happily, open source has opened more than just technical doors, and when Christchurch suffered a devastating earthquake earlier this year, Noirin’s knowledge of OS disaster management software meant she could quickly step up to co-ordinate the night shift of volunteers working on the Christchurch Recovery Map at .

    When she’s not online, Noirin’s natural habitat is the dance floor, although she’s also a keen harpist & singer, and an excellent sous chef!