Category Archives: sxsw

About Our sxsx Panel, “Open Source: Tell me Why I Care”

This morning, I was lucky enough to be on the “Non-Developers to Open Source Acolytes: Tell Me Why I Care” panel with Annalee Newitz, Erica Rios, and Elisa Camahort organized by BlogHer. We had quite a few people attending, and some great questions and lively participation from the audience; one comment from Erica even drove the audience into spontaneous applause!

I love doing panel sessions, and this one was a lot of fun. Liz Henry was even kind enough to post a great play by play, live-blogging style post for the session, so I will skip the detailed summary here and point you to Liz’s detailed notes.

Kimberly Blessing even called this the “Best SXSW Panel Ever” … cool!

Update 3/14: A few additional reviews of the panel at InformationWeek,, BlogHer, On Women and Technology, and probably others I missed.

Picture is also courtesy of Liz Henry – thanks, Liz!

BarCamp Austin near sxsw

BarCamp Austin is running in parallel with sxsw today, so I have been spending the afternoon here at BarCamp. The side conversations with really cool people are one of the biggest benefits of a BarCamp. I found another person to help organize BarCamp Portland (Thanks Alex!), talked to Chris Messina and Tara Hunt about coming to kick off BarCamp Portland, hung out with Scott Kveton (is it a bad thing that we both have to travel from PDX to some other city to chat?), and discussions with many other cool people.

Chris and Tara also held a meetup to talk about co-working. We hope to get something like this started in Portland, so it was really interesting to hear about what has / has not worked for them. A few dos / don’ts: don’t hold it in a space where someone lives; do use word of mouth rather than marketing to attract interesting and like-minded people; do have good insurance. I should have taken better notes in this session, but it was just too interesting to open the computer.

They are also doing print on demand T-Shirts, which we should think about for Portland. Pick a size, pick a color, pick a design, give them a little $$, and viola! you have a T-Shirt (they even had small T-shirts!) If you know anyone in Portland who can bring a mobile, on demand printing unit, please drop me an email (geekygirldawn at the gmail).

Thoughts on Anonymity and Identity in Communities from SXSW

I just listened to an interesting panel at sxsw on World Domination via Collaboration. One of the many great conversations during this discussion related to anonymity in communities. One panelist allows anonymous comments on her blog because she wants to know what people really think, even if she don’t like it or agree with it. Another panelist mentioned Slashdot’s use of anonymous coward, which highlights the fact that people value comments more from people who share a name and identity. I also allow anonymous comments on my blog (with captcha and other spam filters). Some trolls hide behind anonymity to say nasty things, but I have been lucky so far to only have a few of those comments. I find that the vast majority of people commenting will chose to share a name or other identity, but I am not comfortable forcing it on people. I prefer to have people share an identity because they want to, not because it is required in order to leave a comment. Like many people, I value the comments from people who associate their comments with an identity over those who choose to remain anonymous.

The panel members talked about how people in a community can be anonymous from the standpoint of not sharing a real name / real identity, but having a log in and identity on the site. This is a better solution from a community perspective where people tend to interact together over a longer period of time. Community members get to know each other based on the site identity. I have noticed this recently with my interactions on Jyte. Some people share a real name, others share some other identity, but you get to know these people based on this identity whether it is an “anonymous” identity or a “real world” identity. Jyte uses OpenID, which is a great way to facilitate identity management within a community, since it gives people control over their identities and allows them to use their identity (or multiple identities) across sites.

I am looking forward to more really great sessions at sxsw this weekend!