Nextcloud conference 2019: Laura Gaetano

Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/nextcloud-conference-2019-laura-gaetano/

Photo by Zoë Noble

Meet Laura

Laura is a designer and developer and the former organizer of Rails Girls Summer of Code — a 3-
month scholarship program to support women in the Open Source community. With a
background in the visual arts and a non-traditional career path, she landed in tech as a web
developer somewhat by accident. Laura is passionate about Taekwondo, making things, open
source software, feminism, music and space (as in rockets).

Presentation

Laura will be at Nextcloud conference 2019!

Panel: Making Open Source more diverse

September 15 – Sunday – 12:00

Check out the schedule for both days of the conference!

Have you got your ticket? What are you waiting for? Register now! Or shoot us an email to events@nextcloud.com for a free contributor ticket! Remember that no contribution is too small to ask.

Register now!

How it all started

Laura attended a Rails Girls event in Vienna in 2013. Rails Girls is a distributed initiative around the world to support women in making their first steps in programming learning the Ruby programming language. Even though she had built websites before (using html&css) and wanted to become a “web designer” when she was in high school, this was her first experience using Ruby and, most importantly, finding a local community of people who were as excited about building things as she were. Laura was interested in giving back, so she became a coach at other Rails Girls events around Europe (Brussels, The Hague, Milan to name a few) and volunteered for Rails Girls Summer of Code next to her programming job.

“One thing led to another and a couple of years later I found myself leading the RGSoC program. Along with this position came the responsibility to educate myself on diversity and inclusion and forced me to be more aware of issues beyond gender diversity. It was a great (and uncomfortable) experience for me because I got to lead a team of awesome volunteers and was learning something new at the same time.”

Fighting for a better internet

Because of Laura’s experience and background, fighting for a better internet to her primarily means to think about inclusion: How do we build communities that are healthy and supportive, where people from marginalized groups feel accepted? How do we educate developers, managers, and people in leadership positions to think about accessibility first rather than making it a “nice to have”? How do we create a sustainable system to support the open source projects we are all dependent on in our day-to-day work?


“These are super difficult questions because in some cases it means completely rethinking the
systems and communities we are a part of and evaluating whether they really work; it also means
that we need to make space for people to speak and amplify the voices of marginalized folks.”

Current projects


“I’m currently taking a bit of a break to redirect my career away from management into design. I
hope to spend the next few months finishing the #DailyUI challenge — a 100-day design challenge which I started back in October and paused in mid-February”

Laura will be posting the #DailyUI work on this twitter thread.

There’s a few things Laura wants to start doing more of: writing, working on open source, collaborating with people; but she is not really sure what’s coming next, so our best bet is to follow her on Medium and twitter to stay up-to-date.

Check Laura Gaetano’s talk at the Nextcloud Conference and register now!

Grab your ticket here!

Contributors, app developers and all people who want to attend the conference but can’t afford to buy a ticket can shoot us an email to events@nextcloud.com and get a ticket free of charge.

See you in Berlin!

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please keep politics out of nextcloud…

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No, the correct sentence is: “please keep toxic comments and toxic people out of nextcloud…” :slight_smile:

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And that is what we are working on, that is why we need more people like Laura involved and more panels where we can discuss positive solutions to keep the community diverse and healthy. A community where everybody feels safe, welcomed and included.

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Well Camilosan, what if someone considers identity politics toxic and therefore don’t feel safe to speak my mind?

And please stop saying you want everybody to feel safe: It’s called feminism not humanism. This ideology singles out half the population and frankly: I find it toxic.

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Yes, it is called feminism and the idea behind it is to fight for equal rights for everyone. Historically women, people of color, gays, transsexuals and other political minorities are in disadvantage because we have being oppressed for centuries - e.g. women could not vote until recently, the definition of family in some countries laws does not include gay couples, in the USA black people are still the majority between the poorest population, it is the same in Brazil. That is not the case for the white/straight/male population. In no way the oppressed can be toxic against the oppressing part of the population. That is just not possible. We are only trying to get to have the same rights that has already been given to everyone else that fits in what society defines as the norm.

Anyone has the right to speak their mind but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to listen to it or that no one will have to deal with the consequences of what they say. The Nextcloud code of conduct doesn’t protect anyone from criticism or consequences - https://nextcloud.com/contribute/code-of-conduct/

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Whites oppressing blacks, poor population in Brazil, voting rights … that’s politics, This is a next cloud forum. I think you guys are misusing this platform for your political agenda.

Also you just singled out straight white males, proving my point about feminism.

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Well Silvon Rahm: Open source software, and as an extension of it Nextcloud, is deeply political. We fight against monopolists and surveillance capitalism.

You might have noticed that Frank (the original founder of ownCloud and also a co-founder of Nextcloud) has it front and center on his website:

Privacy is the foundation of democracy

Politics was always a part of Nextcloud. Just because we are also fighting for things which you think are not directly benefiting you doesn’t mean it suddenly got political.

Another good read is our principles at https://nextcloud.com/about/, especially:

Inclusion and diversity
Diverse teams and communities make us better and more innovative. We support people marginalized in open source to get involved and thrive.

Lastly, keep in mind our Nextcloud Code of Conduct. Your first short comment dismissing a great person who has done a lot for open source and helps make the Nextcloud conference rock is just disrespectful and unnecessary.

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I am at the Nextcloud conference right now, 90% of the people in the room are straight white males. How exactly are straight white males being singled out?

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I apologize in the name of silvan, I think he didn’t choose the right words. Admittedly, I think I share his opinion in some aspects, so let me try to rephrase what many of us are bothered by.

The reason why there aren’t many women in most technical projects (be it OSS, IT, engineering, you define), is not because straight white males disrespect or reject women. Most women (not every, mind you, but most) are simply much less interested in or moved by such topics and professions. It’s not that they wouldn’t be welcomed, they just don’t come by themselves. Do we have extra invitations for white straight males? Of course we don’t. We’re still full of males, because more of us choose these professions. Women simply don’t tend to choose such professions.

I have absolutely no problem with Laura or others trying to make our groups more diverse. But somehow they always see the solution in “let’s tell these straight white males how to be more welcoming”, instead of (for example) trying to organize events for women to try to show them the beauty of technical and geeky professions, to make them want to come to us. So it is this crazy situation where we are held responsible even though we wouldn’t mind them at all.

Unfortunately, there are of course some few men who look down on women, just like there are some few women who actually are interested in technical professions. Neither are the norm and both are a small minority. It doesn’t change the fact though suggesting women are not welcome in our circles is neither correct nor a solution.

Then there is also the interesting phenomenon that people advocating to be more welcoming and nicer to each other for the sake of diversity are exactly the individuals who tend to be more aggressive. If I might say, camilasan calling silvan “toxic” right off the bat even though he literally only asked to keep politics out, is far from professional and is a very bad example for the standards Laura and camilasan herself are trying to set.

Anyway, to demonstrate my earlier point, just look at the Nextcloud team itself. Nextcloud is surely and obviously very welcoming about women, I think nobody will doubt that. Still, the whole Nextcloud team is dominated in numbers by men, and even the few women they have are not in any technical positions (project manager, account manager, marketing etc.), with only 3 exceptions (and one of them is an intern). My point is, no matter how welcoming we are, women just don’t come to tech-companies. Stop trying to hypnotize the world that we hate women. If you want to make a difference, make women interested in these jobs, instead of trying to blame men.

EDIT: I realized Laura is not camilasan so I corrected the post above.

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Can’t really believe that I’m spending my time arguing with accounts literally just created hours ago only to leave comments like this. But here we go. There’s just so many things wrong in this post that I’ll do the play-by-play:

They absolutely didn’t choose the right words. The first post was pure trolling and intended as nothing else.

I’ll read through it, but no need to act as if you are speaking for “many of us”.

And this whole intro is the definition of “concern trolling”.

Could you cite some sources? A look at history will tell you that the first computer engineers were women. Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_computing

Yes, we do have extra invitations for straight white men. Marketing for example. Check for example https://qz.com/911737/silicon-valleys-gender-gap-is-the-result-of-computer-game-marketing-20-years-ago/

This is just completely wrong and proves that you a) don’t know anything about Laura’s work with RailsGirls Summer of Code and b) didn’t even read the article.
TL;DR: RailsGirls as well as RailsGirls Summer of Code are literally " events for women to try to show them the beauty of technical and geeky professions", as you so nicely put it.

This is just a paragraph with no substance or facts so I’ll not reply.

One of the reasons why you think people advocating to be more welcoming “tend to be more aggressive” is that this is only when they need to argue for hours on end with people like Silvan and yourself.

It’s very easy to criticize and anonymously post on internet forum acting like you care about some software or some cause, but please think about the people working on it and the effects of your messages.

The biggest reason they don’t come is they see comments like these written in forums and just turn right around.

You say “no matter how welcoming we are” – I’d be interested in what you’d like to do for being welcoming at Nextcloud. Would you be interested mentoring for our Include program?

Again, clearly demonstrating you have 0 clue about Laura’s work and haven’t read this post either.

You have got to be kidding me.


This topic is now locked since nothing good will come from this discussion. @silvan.rehm and @twultim consider this your first warning for code of conduct violations on not being considerate, not being respectful, and not supporting others in the community.

Reread my post above at Nextcloud conference 2019: Laura Gaetano – and next time before commenting on a post, read the actual post beforehand.

Thanks :heart: and maybe installing this Nextcloud app will help.

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