OpenSourceBash – lowering the barrier to contribute to OpenSource

Hello everyone,

tl;dr: We (I and @anouk) are organising OpenSourceBash during wwwtf in Berlin and we’d like OpenTechSchool Berlin to be an official organiser and the recipient of the donations given.


With Hackership, but also outside of that, we are working with plenty of developers all the time. And although many want to contribute to Open Source, they are often intimidated. Blocked by that, they often don’t even take the first steps necessary to find out open source isn’t as big, bad and threatening as it appears. Further more on the other side, there are plenty of noble and great open source projects out there looking for help, maintainers and contributors. During What The Fest Week (end of Sept, around CSSConf and JSConfEU), we will have plenty of people from both these groups here in Berlin. We want to get them together


An evening event, with three batches of five presentations during which OpenSource Teams each have five minutes to present their project and explain the audience what and how they can contribute to it. Between those batches are breaks for the audience to interact with the teams closer. There will also be food and drinks to make sure it is a pleasant evening (coming from sponsors).

What I want from OpenTechSchool

I think lowering the barrier to contribute to open source falls well in line with the values and goals of OpenTechSchool and I’d like this to be run under its banner officially. What does that mean, primarily three things to agree to:

  1. I’d like to name OTS the official organiser (and make Hackership a partnering one)
  2. accept the donations made for the tickets
  3. spread the word about the event – especially among the learners, who might be interested but too afraid to contribute to open source

A word on the donations

Ticket prices are “donate as much as you want” (including zero) – with a recommended donation of 10EUR. This donation would directly – without any further fees – go to OTS. No one has to pay anything if they don’t want to. That said, we’ve had bad experience with reaching diverse audiences with completely open events before. That’s why we’ll assign a third of the tickets in a first-come-first-serve-fashion through the donation model and have another third be on application only. Those “community” tickets are awarded to women and people of groups marginalized in tech only and are reviewed on a roling basis. This is an experiment.

You can find out more about the event planned at

(Of course, if you have any other leads for interesting projects, send them our way, too)


I’ll also try a new feature that comes with our latest update to get an idea of what people are thinking quickly – a poll:

  • Yes, totally. :heart: it! :tada:
  • :heart: on donations
    :no_entry: on organiser
  • :heart: on organiser
    :no_entry: on donations thing
  • :no_entry: on the entire proposal

0 voters

1 Like

Just one minor nit: Posting this to Chapters/Berlin and does definitely not help in including other chapters in global matters.

I did consider this a local matter as it is a local event (of a local chapter). But posted it here so everyone can participate. I didn’t want to spam everyone world-wide on the questions whether a local chapter wants to support/run an event…


@ben @anouk

i vote yes! how are you paying for the venue out of curiosity? is it donated?

my one objection— if people pay €10 i understand food and drink are free but why also for
free tickets? people should really pay for some things, or? i mean, otherwise they could bring their own food and drink. i understand free training from coaches who feel thats what they wish to do with their time but free food and drink i find a bit over the top tbh.

when we do so many things for free, we teach the community to expect free things so when things cost money they just think-- meh, i’ll just wait for the free thing. i don’t think its doing anyone any real favours. some things simply cost money in this world.

1 Like

From the top of my head:

Agree with Rachel, I find the pricing thing a bit weird. I’d prefer to ask for donations in another way it that’s what we want. And also not sure what you “get”.

For an OTS event to me it’s a bit too little hands-on but I understand there’s limited time. Would be cool to have some kind of co-hacking/workshop thing with reps from projects but also just a few “general” coaches that know about tech and open-source projects and participants who want to start contributing to their favorite project getting some support and helping each other. :slight_smile:

1 Like

While I agree with Martin and Rachel I have to say I find this to be a pretty cool event. A break-out session afterwards would probably help a lot. I like that it may bridge the gap from beginners to being contributors to open source projects and get project authors on board to teach things that contributors might need to know.


from my perspective it is important to give people who paid nothing or less the same as thing as those who paid the full price. to not exclude, to not create an awkward “can I see your ticket?”-situation at every place, to make them feel welcome and to show friendliness. i would be okay with letting everyone donate for drinks and food separately. i also think it is fine for people to expect some basic stuff like a chair at an event and some water for free. in the end we want them to work (probably voluntarily in most cases) on free software.

And money—yes, small amount too—are definitely a barrier.

1 Like

Regarding the pricing, first I’d like to state again:

Yes. We are currently talking to wikimedia as well as soundcloud and see about availability of their spaces.

I think there is a misunderstanding here what this event is doing: it is a one-time evening events with 15 lightning talks. There won’t be any training on side, nor do we ask from anyone more than 5 minutes of their time presenting their projects, which is very much in their self-interest.

Many companies and cowos (including beta-house and co.up) give their spaces for such an event for free. Depending on the sponsors, we (as HS, as OTS in Berlin but also at other places) also did have food occasionally at these kind of events in the past – we haven’t advertised with that necessarily, but Soundcloud, Zalando and Wikimedia do sponsor food for that kinda stuff on a regular basis (mostly Pizza or sandwiches though, which we want to change, too).

Of course you are free to bring your own food and drinks, but it is also just nice if you can chat with people while having drink and eating stuff. Especially for connecting with people this is so much more effective – why do you think conferences take so much care about this kinda stuff? And connecting these people is the exact purpose of the event. Hence: providing food and drinks is really helping the cause a lot here.

I’d like to reiterate nicolai here:

I think that is very important. At the same time I very much agree with @rachel that there are things that cost money. No one has any intention to actually pay anyones work for this, that wouldn’t cover any costs what so ever. But asking for a donation, giving a recommendation on what the organisation thinks is appropriate, reminds people that things cost money – and gives them a very convenient way to support he organisation behind it. And let’s face it, we are organising events for a highly paid and very privileged part of society. Asking them to chip in, so that OTS in return can print stickers to promote its events more – to the parts of the society it tries to include – is not a bad thing.

I am also hoping by stating that donation price – even if you can put it down to 0EUR – that people stop for a moment and think if they are actually gonna come. I hate to organise events, where we had to turn down sooooo many people and still have so much more space available because too many people just “secured themselves a space in case they might want to go” – and clicked the button without ever thinking about it (hence the reason I didn’t put this event on Facebook or Meetup).

Will that work? I have no idea. That’s the point of an experiment after all: to learn from it.

I am a little confused right now. While I read a good amount of criticism and discussion here (making me believe people do not want the event to be associated with OTS), looking at the current stats of the polls, I see a 100% agreement for the proposal:

@rachel, @xMartin, @robert, @bastianalbers, @nicolai: did you folks vote?

The reason I am confused is that I am writing a blog post showcasing the first bunch of projects and announcing new organising partners (Women Who Code Berlin joined in yesterday) and I am wondering if I am making OTS the organiser now or not… Shed any light for me?

that graphic is annoying. i just randomly clicked on it thinking it would take me to some other page and it counted my vote and i can’t take it back even though it was incorrect.

i vote yes as i said already. i vote yes on donations.
if all the food is donated then fine. but generally conferences actually spend a ton of money on food and drink and in that case-- no it should not be free for all. here though that is apparently not the case.

maybe you should write something encouraging people who get a ticket to actually show up.
that is another factor i forgot about. the free ticket trigger happy people who like to get a ticket just in case.

also-- are there efforts to make it a more diverse event? i agree it will likely be a group of “priviledged” people attending and in that case free everything doesnt have the impact one could hope for with ‘free’. i also have the impression people probably think OTS is made up of “priviledged” people so they wouldnt necessarily feel an extended motivation to donate.

what about if the money went directly to another cause , like peace innovation labs efforts to create a refugee community coding lab ? people may see that kind of project as more in need of funding and might therefore be more inclined to donate. just a thought :slight_smile:

I voted yes on both fronts, as i think this is a great event. I don’t think my comment should be read dramatically different. I would like to ask to make the donation part feel as undemanding as possible to conform with the “open and free” core values. I think this is a great initiative and, as i said, could be a perfect bridge for beginners to being contributor. I guess as there’s no “Yes, but this would be nice:” voting option your confusion arises.

Haha, yeah, this thread is going a bit crazy (I’m part of this, I know). I feel in general (as usual) there’s a “go for it” feeling and everyone wants to discuss details. I am ok with this being an OTS event. I don’t feel it is a very uniquely OTS-style event, hence my suggestion, but that’s ok… I definitely like it.

About the details: We really need to discuss and create guidelines or conventions how to deal with fees and donations. As to the diversity and inclusiveness I think if you read all the available information in this post and the website everything seems to be taken care of.

I do like the approach of experimenting with a few details.

currently redesigning that part, trying to make it less confusing and more open. Not really something to vote on or anything, but wanted to share the work in progress on stuff:


I didn’t have a “yes, with minor edits – see comment” option but more specific ones. So, for future reference, if we want to do this kinda vote again, I’d recommend the four scaled version (we also use at peer review’s often):

  • Yes, go for it
  • Yes, go for it, some minor remarks – see commments
  • Not without significant changes – see comments
  • Really no way

Where the first two are “yes”, the second stating what kinda changes someone “would like to see”, but once done they can go without question. The third asking to resubmit only after significant changes had been done and well the last, should be clear :wink: .

Yes, sometimes disclosing your vote would also definitely help :slight_smile: