When Social Issues Do Not Matter in Technical Debates
and when they do
Katheryn Sutter PhD has a background in community development and policy analysis, concentrating on policy deliberations at the organizational level. She is also a long-time free-libre and open-source software (FLOSS) user and advocate.
No video of the event yet, sorry!
This talk addresses a set of meta-arguments frequently heard in collaborative software-development circles. For example, the dual demands in technical debates to both analyze participant-concerns rationally, and to simultaneously keep organizational cultures healthy. Projects are increasingly adopting codes of social conduct, but may still hear complaints that being nice is antithetical to critical intelligence. Others argue that group intelligence is also lost when minority perspectives are bullied into silence.
This talk introduces specific methods of getting beyond 'objectivity versus subjectivity' and 'facts versus values' conflicts in technical-policy discussions. The presentation will suggest learning to hear conflicts like a facilitator. There are some types of technical debates that do not hinge on social issues at their core. We will identify those factual types of debates and how validating their solutions differ from other conflicts, and how to tease out the differences when multiple conflicts are combined in the same statements. The first step is about learning and recognition; learning to recognize types of communication conflicts concerning the larger benefit of the group. Once we recognize them, we can seek resolutions that validate alternatives provided by those conflicts.
Suggestions offered here are based on the Theory of Communicative Rationality, of Jurgen Habermas.
- 2016 November 12 13:00
- 1 h
- Room 3179
- Seattle GNU/Linux Conference 2016