A Preview of Quarterly #1

by The Editor on April 1st, 2015

The first Quarterly of Model View Culture’s 2015 subscription is shipping in just a few weeks!

Cover of Quarterly #1, laid out for the printer. A plain, simple black cover and back with barcode. Back cover reads: 'In our first Quarterly of the year, we discuss the rise of wearables and the complicated ethical questions they pose, explore community management on major social platforms, and look at death in the industry and how we conceptualize it in our products. We also cover pay inequality and radical strategies for combating it, the colonialism and imperialism of tech giants, and why so many diversity in tech efforts are still failing. Plus, the false dichotomy between arts and tech, an in-depth interview on diversity consulting, and a letter from the editor.'

Cover proof from our print shop, 1984 Printing. 

While we were supposed to deliver them in March, shipping has been delayed after the independent, woman-owned print shop we work with — 1984 Printing — suffered a severe fire. But with the community’s help, they are getting back to work and we expect to be able to ship in the next few weeks. If you haven’t subscribed yet, it’s not too late to sign up and get our exclusive Quarterly collections of new MVC content, delivered 4x this year to your mailbox or inbox!! They’re available in print (US shipping only) or digital (PDF, .mobi and .epub), and subscription costs go directly to support our authors and operations. Please help support 1984 Printing by contributing to their fundraiser or spreading the word, and enjoy this preview of Model View Culture Quarterly #1!

On death in open source and technology, by Joe Damato, in memory of James Lennon Engels Golick (October 4, 1985 – December 26, 2014):

“It seems odd that while we plan for software to break down, we never seem to plan for what to do if and when people break down or die. Proponents of open source will be quick to mention that the benefit of an open community is that the community can decide in the event of a death of maintainer. It’s true; a community can make that decision, however it is a common occurrence that the loudest voice wins. Is the loudest voice after the maintainer really the best way to determine the future of critical projects? Maybe, but I’m doubtful.

The software James and I wrote together to build our company is on GitHub. Every time I look at a file, GitHub shows the avatars of people who’ve modified that file. James and I quite literally built this code from scratch and so I see James on every single file I look at. Every time I begin typing the name of someone to copy on a pull request, his name and avatar come up first in the list of users. It has been, and continues to be, extremely difficult for me to feel his presence everywhere while I simultaneously feel his physical absence. As far as technology is concerned, James is still very much alive.”

Reflections on technology colonialism, by Anjuan Simmons:

“The capability that technology companies have to operate as a single sovereign entity makes them a formidable colonial power. This grants them wide latitude in manipulating domestic and foreign heads of state. Combined with the ability to collude in ways that are nearly undetectable, the sovereign power of technology companies can cause disruption on a global scale unachievable by other industries.”

Jessica Moreno of Reddit on community management and addressing online abuse:

“…the archetypal ‘basement-dwelling neckbeard’ is often blamed as the source of all harassment and trolling. But I can say for certain that these people are actually doctors, lawyers, kindergarten teachers, our colleagues, and even inspirational speakers. They are people we interact with every day. Blaming a stereotype is an easy way to put horrible behavior off onto a specific type of person, a one-dimensional monster. This allows people to ignore the possibility that their own behavior might actually support a culture that allows for swatting and doxxing. There is often a strange disconnect between ‘online’ personas and ‘real life’ personas.”

Why diversity in tech efforts are still failing, from Terri Burns:

“As an African-American woman in tech, I’ve found that even at large meetups for women, I am one of the few black people in attendance (often the only). If diversity efforts continue as they are, they will target pools of people who — though may not be white men — will still come from extreme privilege and only sustain the gaps in our industry. I would be thrilled to come across more women of color in technology – more women who look like me. At this rate, most black women I come across don’t even consider studying computer science, and much of this is because they have not been welcomed to do so.”

From an interview with Nicole Sanchez, CEO of Vaya Consulting:

“Technical interviews are not designed for determining who will do well in a job. They are more often designed — like CS programs around the US — with a hazing model. ‘Can you jump through difficult yet arbitrary hoops?’ has little to no bearing on ‘Will you be a good front-end developer?’ This interview dynamic is pushing out extremely qualified candidates from underrepresented backgrounds under the guise of objectivity.

Similarly, retention and promotion practices are lacking at many companies. In doing a salary census, for example, most companies are aware that everyone who is hired at the same level should receive roughly the same salary. But as you wind your way up the pay scale, things become horribly skewed. Women from all backgrounds, men of color, trans folks… they stay stagnant or, if they are promoted, lag behind their peers in terms of pay.”

Also in this Quarterly, read:

Radical strategies for combatting pay inequality from Lauren Voswinkel:  “Pay inequality based on gender and race is allowed to thrive in the current environment. If things continue in this fashion, it will likely get worse. For inequality to truly be addressed, discussions of pay need to become commonplace.”

Creatrix Tiara on the false tech/arts dichotomy: “Let’s get away from the deification of coding as the only thing important to tech, or to life. Let’s get away from expecting people to know the right jargon and actually acknowledge the transferable skills arts people bring to the table.”

And J. Hernandez on ethics and wearables: “The (battle to be on your) arms race has exposed the shortcomings in today’s product development cycle as the desire to transition consumer wearables into medical devices has come into focus.”

Subscribe today to get your first issue of Model View Culture’s 2015 subscription this month!