Open Culture, Makes Your Mind Open

One aspect of “open culture” is that people are informal. People address each other by first name. They tend to speak directly to one another, regardless of social status or formal title. Disagreements about code, whether as profound as which algorithm is most appropriate, or as seemingly mundane as how many spaces are used for indentation, are aired in public. This process is very intimidating to newcomers, who might be concerned about having their words immortalized on the Internet, and worse, saying something wrong or embarrassing. The only way to get over this fear is to practice and participate publicly.

Although “open culture” is generally informal, it is important to remember that you still need to mind your manners when participating in conversations.

Open source communication can vary a lot. A core value held in common is that sharing code is good. Regardless of license, language or indentation style, open source developers create, share and modify source code together.

Working on code together means a lot of things: transparency, directness and cooperation are words that are often mentioned by developers when describing the process. It can involve bug reports, code refactoring, implementing new features, documentation, project management and advocacy.

Amazingly, the ways in which people actually share code are as varied as the individuals involved. Even if you have previous experience with other open source projects, keep in mind that you still need to take the time to learn how the new open source project works, and acquaint yourself with their particular brand of sharing.

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