Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

23 May 2012, 23:45 p.m.

A Local Maximum

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

By the way, I got promoted. It's quite an honor.

Wikimedia Foundation's new Engineering Community Team, which I lead, is a renaming of the TL;DR group. We've written a draft summary of our goals for July 2012-June 2013. There's so much to be done! (Of course, we're hiring.)

In open source, we share our vulnerabilities and our milestones, so of course my boss announced my promotion to a public mailing list. I was surprised and delighted when colleagues and contributors in my community responded to that announcement with congratulations, privately and publicly. It is as though they believe I am doing a good job! Take that, impostor syndrome.

I'm thinking about the thirty years of influences that got me here. As a teen, I volunteered for the Peace and Justice Network of San Joaquin County, and met my mentor John Morearty, whom I saw this past weekend. Before I knew Sam Hatch, and before I knew Seth Schoen, even, I knew John, a teacher who took his values seriously and was always ready to teach. He led volunteer communities that aimed for inclusiveness and viral change. He modeled grit, open-mindedness, and compassion, and I saw in his example that another world was possible, another mode of being. He wrote a fascinating memoir that you should check out, if you like twisty life stories.

John had twin sons, Mike and Brian. I got to meet Mike on Sunday. On Monday he got write access to Wikimedia Labs, Git, and Gerrit. I find this confluence pleasant yet dizzying, like the bushels of jasmine in John's garden. There's so much to be done, and the abundance of my world may yet provide. As John reminded me this weekend, we cannot build the new systems we need; we must cultivate them.


24 May 2012, 0:30 a.m.

Congratulations! (Shame about the loss of the amusing acronym, though.)

Mel Chua
24 May 2012, 8:59 a.m.

Congratulations on the promotion, but you knew that already. :) And I'm glad you got to take that trip home to visit -- it's always good to see people and to tell them what they meant to you, and to hear their wisdom once again.

24 May 2012, 11:32 a.m.

Congratulations, but I really really miss the older name. "Did you know WMF has a division called TL;DR?' was a very nice conversation starter!

24 May 2012, 14:31 p.m.

Congrats! Please try and plan an event or two in New York. :)

Will Thompson
26 May 2012, 6:50 a.m.

Belatedly: congratulations! And, an excellent closed loop.