@brainwane@social.coop avatar



Indian-American gal who likes to make people laugh. #OpenSource entrepreneur, programmer, tech writer and encourager, stand-up comedian, advocate for transparency in government software and data.

New York City #NYC, Changeset Consulting, #RecurseCenter, #WisCon, #MetaFilter, #Python packaging, Geek Feminism, #Dreamwidth, harihareswara.net.

Hope you're having the best possible day.

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brainwane, to random
@brainwane@social.coop avatar

This line in "The Great Gatsby" (as Nick Carraway's riding the train from Long Island into New York City) is a transitional fossil record:

"My commutation ticket came back to me with a dark stain from his hand."

Because the modern verb "commuting" and nouns "commuter" and "commute"....

stem from names for multi-ride railroad/streetcar passes that truncated or "commuted" fare payments ("commute" here being the same verb we use in "commuted their original prison sentence").

brainwane, to random
@brainwane@social.coop avatar

Really happy to share https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/ux-research-design/ !

Back in 2020, during grant-funded work on the next-generation pip resolver, @sprblm did fascinating user experience research & design work. https://pyfound.blogspot.com/search/label/pip

They wrote several useful documents that took a while to get merged, but now live in pip's documentation! Like:

how to design a survey https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/ux-research-design/guidance/#designing-surveys

how users think pip should react to dependency conflicts https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/ux-research-design/research-results/override-conflicting-dependencies/

security practices https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/ux-research-design/research-results/users-and-security/

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

It was so valuable to get to work with UX experts on pip. Example: https://github.com/pypa/pip/issues/8377 their research findings helped us improve the format and content of the "ResolutionImpossible" error message, so users could actually work out what went wrong and how to fix it.

There's a wealth of information in the resources that Superbloom (formerly Simply Secure) developed.

Not just for for Python packaging tools developers! For anyone working on developer experience, especially on the command line!

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

The thing I want to shout from the rooftops is: THIS IS POSSIBLE.

#opensource projects can hire UX experts, who gather quantitative & qualitative data, and who then recommend specific choices. Maintainers don't just have to guess how to design good, usable features and interfaces.

Yes, even for command-line tools.

Yes, even without a big company running the project. We got grants: https://pyfound.blogspot.com/2019/12/moss-czi-support-pip.html

And toolchains can pool resources to invest & learn together! https://www.harihareswara.net/posts/2023/user-support-equanimity-potential-cross-project-tools-practices-open-source/

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@convexer Thanks for your question!

First: I have, in coaching & advising open source maintainers, many times found that they're surprised that it's possible to hire UX experts (or tech writers, or project managers) as contractors. Or they're surprised that it's possible to find people who have those domain skills as well as experience with open source workflows. Or: they have considered hiring existing code contributors, but haven't extrapolated that they could also hire & onboard new folks.

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@convexer But to answer the question you posed:

I don't know whether the UX world as a whole has that culture, but then again, software dev is a big world and only part of it has FLOSS contribution norms.

@sprblm wrote a useful guide https://superbloom.design/learning/blog/a-devs-guide-to-design-in-open-source-software/ . Has a summary of some difficulties in OSS projects finding + collaborating with volunteer UX designers.

https://opensourcedesign.net/ is a place one can find & talk with UX experts interested in FLOSS volunteering and/or paid FLOSS gigs.

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@convexer And: 2 generalizations based on my experience:

Some front-end web developers have skills in user experience design; fewer have skills in user experience research. (Nicole Harris https://whoisnicoleharris.com/ , who has worked with me on Python packaging, has all three.)

FLOSS projects' maintainers sometimes ask for design help with logos or project websites, less often ask for help designing user interfaces, and rarely ask for help doing user research.

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@convexer Of those tasks, user research often takes the most time -- not just hours directly doing the work, but calendar time, since researchers need to coordinate a lot with other people. Researchers need to schedule tests/interviews with users, and get feedback from developers to iterate on research questions. Which means a researcher needs to keep state in their head for a long duration, and possibly nudge maintainers for responses when maintainers have other urgent tasks....

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@convexer ... so the shape and duration of the work makes it unlike a lot of volunteer contribution tasks that maintainers are used to overseeing.

Maintainers who are willing to use their budgets to pay for UX research work are committing to it, and that makes it more likely they'll put in the work, weeks and months later, to collaborate and make the work successful.

I'm sharing pip's experience to help make it more possible for maintainers to connect with at least parts of UX world...

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@convexer .... and although I have witnessed successful volunteer UX/UI design in FLOSS (usually for individual logos, project websites, or GUI features), I can't think of volunteer user experience research at the quality of the Superbloom work on pip. And I think that's not just because of UX industry culture; I think that's likely significantly because the inherent shape of the work, plus current FLOSS culture, prevent it.

A response, if not a satisfying answer!

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@doctormo Very neat! What's the best link to find out more?

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

Someone asked an interesting question about FLOSS and volunteer UX contributions, and I responded with some thoughts: https://social.coop/@brainwane/112281654668624991

Most important thing there: https://superbloom.design/learning/blog/a-devs-guide-to-design-in-open-source-software/ on "challenges in doing design in open source software" and how to mitigate them. Includes several training resources for open source teams.

brainwane, to python
@brainwane@social.coop avatar

Developers who use or contribute to Flask, Click, Jinja, or other parts of Pallets, designers who work atop them, and sysadmins who administer them:

Consider proposing a 5-15 min talk for the inaugural FlaskCon!

Some topics you might consider:

case studies
your experience as a newbie


FlaskCon will be in Pittsburgh on May 17th within

brainwane, to random
@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@bernat Hi! It would be great if you added a redirect on your blog so links to your 2020 pip resolver work posts didn't 404. But I've created


so that links in the pip docs at https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/ux-research-design/research-results/#read-more will work again.

rejinl, to Artist
@rejinl@masto.nyc avatar

, who died this week, had commercial representation, had work shown in and collected by museums, books were written about her, she even published children's books that were in every public school classroom I ever taught in. Yet this week she is being described as un- or under- recognized. "Never got the recognition she deserved."

This is well meaning, but it is a kind of erasure of the success of a . How much success would it take to be recognized as success?

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@rejinl That is a really interesting question. Thank you for asking it.

jdforrester, to random
@jdforrester@mastodon.social avatar

Blossomfall; a discarded coffee cup

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@jdforrester I enjoy your photos and this is no exception!

jmduke, to random
@jmduke@hachyderm.io avatar

pleased to announce that my single greatest collection — of words — has now been ported over to the new personal site.


@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@jmduke cool!

I think the formatting breaks halfway through

jessamyn, to random

Putting "Nothing About Us Without Us" into Practice in Small/Rural Libraries

"Staff in Athens, MI, had originally planned to use their LTC (libraries transform communities) funds to buy collection materials for individuals with reading disabilities. Discussions with community members revealed that their primary audience was "not as interested..." as they were in updates that would make it easier to enter the building... 70% indicated a need for easier physical access."


@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@jessamyn What a great writeup. Thanks for sharing it!

mattl, to random
@mattl@social.coop avatar

Hello. How’s everyone doing? I’ve barely slept in the last few weeks which is a lot of fun.

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@mattl @evan my deep sympathies

brainwane, to opensource
@brainwane@social.coop avatar

btw we've been thinking about sustainability & structural imbalances in funding and use of free and #opensource software for several years; the "Recent Discussion on Unfairness in #FLOSS Economics" bibliography I compiled in https://www.harihareswara.net/posts/2016/recent-discussion-on-unfairness-in-floss-economics/ goes back to 2005

and it's been intertwined with our experiences of burnout, & of setting expectations regarding #maintainer obligations, that whole time

thus, in https://www.harihareswara.net/posts/2023/user-support-equanimity-potential-cross-project-tools-practices-open-source/ , I consider concrete solidarity steps #maintainers could take

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@Di4na Thanks for your response. Yeah it's odd that those links don't work; I saw Julia Evans https://github.com/pypa/pip/pull/10745#issuecomment-2052221644 just asked if she could read them. I hope this helps spur folks to get the pull request fixed up and merged.

@brainwane@social.coop avatar
hannah, to random
@hannah@posts.rat.pictures avatar

You could just release the entire medici book i'm editing as a Dune sequel if you search and replace "alum" with "spice" and "Pope" with "Emperor" and "Pazzi" with "Harkonnen"

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@hannah Oh WOW that seems like it must have taken a TON of work! Thank you!

brainwane, to random
@brainwane@social.coop avatar

"Hmmm, I want to listen to some peppy music as company as I do this bit of tidying."

[looking at the subset of music that I've copied from the household digital library to my phone]

[most of it is Mountain Goats, Guster, Vienna Teng, Dar Williams, Belle and Sebastian, and similar, often melancholy]

Thank goodness for the KEXP Song of the Day podcast! Example:


@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@semitones I saw that! They are saying "Starting on Monday, April 15th, a new podcast focused on music discovery launches in the same feed." so I hope that is good too.

sethmlarson, to python
@sethmlarson@fosstodon.org avatar

urllib3, 's most-used HTTP client library, is fundraising to add HTTP/2 support and ensure long-term sustainability of the project.

Retoots and shares are appreciated 🙏


@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@sethmlarson The fact of this fundraiser is interesting to me - of course I hope you succeed, but also, I'm reflecting on y'all deliberately moving away from grant funding, and toward a sustainable broad base of support from orgs and individuals that use the software. You have demonstrated you can reliably convert money into desired work, and thus you can credibly use that proof as you fundraise widely.

Reminded me of https://suegardner.org/2014/11/30/whats-wrong-with-restricted-grants/ and https://suegardner.org/2013/10/20/whats-really-wrong-with-nonprofits-and-how-we-can-fix-it/ .

mekkaokereke, (edited ) to random
@mekkaokereke@hachyderm.io avatar

Happy !

I'm still not onto Black history. I'm still on white US history.

Q: Why were Black folk so happy when OJ was acquitted? To be honest, it feels disgusting. Why does it seem like you're happy he got away with murder?

A: Racism. Black folk did not like OJ that much. In fact, many Black people think he did it. Black folk didn't "celebrate OJ." Black folk celebrated the hope that a brutally unjust, evil, and racist system, could be defeated at all.

@brainwane@social.coop avatar

@mekkaokereke Found this thread via https://www.metafilter.com/203292/OJ-Simpson-dead-at-76#8547003 , was grateful to read it, and learned a lot. Thanks.

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