View Full Version : Developing a mission statement

October 13th, 2005, 10:53 AM
So this forum has been opened for nearly half a year and has eight threads...hmm, it seems that it could be doing better.

Perhaps sapo wishes I wouldn't do this, but I'd like to revisit his idea: What are Ubuntu Women doing?

I just ran into this forum today and got a little excited. Because I saw it as an opportunity to get involved (esp. with an issue relevant to me) and I have been long thinking of how I could "give back" to Ubuntu. But after reading through the forum, I was a little disappointed that there has been such little activity. Moreover, after all the reading, I don't really understand what the mission of UW is. Here's what panickedthumb said in the very beginning:

This forum section is for Ubuntu Women, a group designed to make women feel more comfortable in the Ubuntu Community and the Linux Community at large.

What hasn't happened since this statement was made in May 2005 is a consensus of what UW will do to reach its objective of making "women feel more comfortable in the Ubuntu Community." I have a feeling many of the nearly 4,000 people who saw this post, and briefly glanced at some others, ended up moving on because they didn't understand what this forum is doing. At least this was almost the case with me. After reading virtually everything on the forum, I was about to walk away since I couldn't see where I could fit in. However, I have decided to be a little bold, stay a little longer, and suggest that what this forum/group needs is a real mission statement.

So, back to what sapo said about getting involved in a project. Like some others have already noted, I think his core idea is a good start: have UW work together on a concrete project that could contribute to the Ubuntu Community. Of course, there was some understandable conflict about what project exactly (consensus seems to be: "NOT flowery, cute teddy bear themes").

Anyways, I think I'll just suggest a couple of other ideas and see if it can elicit comment:

Recruit new (Ubuntu) Linux users. I have thought about having a local Ubuntu presentation to attract new user interest for a number of months. For the last year I was living in the netherlands of China and thought it could be a very good chance to promote Ubuntu in a place where most people never heard of it. Well, I didn't follow through on that...but now I live in Hong Kong. And actually, I think Hong Kong has even more need for Linux promotion. So the idea is still brewing. But during this brainstorming, I have looked for online materials about how to do a Linux party and didn't find much at all. Perhaps, I looked in the wrong places, or maybe it really is a project where someone/some group could do something. Either way, UW could create materials for promoting Ubuntu (like OO impress presentations, fliers, videos, etc) or they could create materials that specifically promote Ubuntu to women. We could also work on localizing the materials to languages other than English.

Promote "women visibility" in the community. I have only seen this forum today and only ran across it by chance (it's in awfully small print). Is there also a mailing list? A wiki? I read a thread about an IRC room, is it still alive? Could we find a way to promote the group to the rest of the community? The presence of women in Ubuntu seems invisible to many people (hence, this group, right?). But even this group doesn't seem that visible, can we "market" it somehow?

Other ideas I read on the forum:

Teach users new tricks. Urbandryad said:

Maybe as a project, ubuntu women can TEACH other women in this forum how to program? You can start with me, how do I start learning to make my own program? C++ or Perl or Java or all three or none of these? I can teach women in turn to do html and webpage publishing, use Word programs, and the like.
In my personal experience, women computer users are often interested in learning new skills but feel intimidated. Back in my undergraduate compsci program, we had an ACM chapter that organized tutorial sessions. Often they were about things we should have known but didn't have the chance to learn in class or maybe were too intimidated to learn on our own. For instance, basic Unix shell commands or Java for C++ programmers. UW could do something similar. Sure, there are a lot of HOWTOs out on the net, but are they friendly and approachable? I have found a number of HOWTOs that seem to assume a Ph.D. in computer science before you even get to the meat of it.

October 13th, 2005, 06:39 PM
Hallo Xingmu,

thank you for summarizing the discussion on UW and for proposing to develop a mission statement.

Reading through your message I remembered my own feelings of both attractedness and disappointment. Now it seems to me the discussion became more lively in the last weeks and I am enjoying learning from new ideas.

I would wish to share an idea of mine that get even clearer by thinking your post over:

To make someone feel comfortable with something, it's vital to get he/she _involved_. The idea of getting women _involved_ with IT, involved with Linux, involved with Ubuntu seems to me extremely important.

What I mean is - it's not doing something for women (and help them stay passive) but it's doing something with women or - better - get women things done on their own.

Helping women in Linux maybe the same as helping women to play a more active part in using IT and to helping them to overcome the traditional shyness of technical issues.

I hope I could bring my point across.
What do you think about it?

Just another topic at the end - as for projects maybe worthy to be worked on:

I am working on a little project called "Ubuntu for Senior Beginners" bearing in mind to configure Ubuntu in a way most comfortably and securely to use for elderly people nearly without technical skills. It's dedicated to open the door to Cyberworld to those left behind by the rapid development over the last decades.

I started with icons for an easy-to-use connection to the internet, stuffing firefox with useful bookmarks instead of the standard ones and amarok stuffed with RSS for podcasts. At the moment I am working on the online manual to have all materials needed at hand for the Seniors. ...

And - I am working hard to persuade my mother to give it a try... and maybe - she'll turn into a pro-active Ubuntu user just before the end of the year.

Any comments and proposals are highly appreciated.


October 13th, 2005, 11:31 PM

As a female Ubuntu user, I have created a #ubuntu-women channel that I run on freenode.net and have attained permission for a Ubuntu women logo. Look at my avatar; that's what it basically looks like. I would like to get it cleaned up a bit by a more professional GIMP user.

I am leery of mission statements unless they are really good ones (read: People actually carry them out.) But if you want to discuss a mission statement, PM me, email me at morganlandry at gmail dot com or join me at #ubuntu-women on freenode.net.

I would like to participate more, but I only have so much ideas, power, and most importantly, time. I would love to teach programming (like linuxchix does with its courses) and promote development (like debian-women does) and have interviews and our own site (like debian-women). But I need help. Would any of you be willing to help out?


October 14th, 2005, 04:48 AM
Hi there,

I just popped in to research the size of the Ubuntu Women community and was delighted to trip over this post.

If you would like any assistace / could offer any assistance in promoting Linux to new users (both male and female!) we'd be delighted if you participated in our team, no matter how much, or how little time you could devote.

It's great to hear about others promoting Linux, in particular Ubuntu. Keep up the good work! ;)