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August 5th, 2015

Ada Initiative Closes Up Shop

With an announcement on the Linux Weekly News site on Tuesday, the Ada Initiative will be tying up the loose ends and wrapping up their work in October.

“It is with mixed feelings that we announce that the Ada Initiative will be shutting down in approximately mid-October,” the statement said. “We are proud of what we accomplished with the support of many thousands of volunteers, sponsors, and donors, and we expect all of our programs to continue on in some form without the Ada Initiative. Thank you for your incredible work and support!”

Ada Initiative Ally Workshop

The Ally Workshop is one of the many positive programs the Ada Initiative brought to the tech field. Though the Ada Initiative is closing up shop in October, the programs will be available for others to continue.

According to the statement, after a search for a new executive director late last year, the new hire didn’t work out.

The statement explains: “That brought us to a decision point. It would have been unreasonable to expect Valerie (Aurora, a co-founder) and Mary (Gardiner, a co-founder) to continue with the Ada Initiative forever. We considered running a second ED search, but it had become clear to the board that the success of the Ada Initiative was very much a product of its two founders, and was a direct result of their experiences, skills, strengths and passions. We felt the likelihood of finding a new ED who could effectively fit into Valerie’s shoes was low. We also considered several other options for continuing the organization, including changing its programs, or becoming volunteer-only.”

Founded in 2011, the Ada Initiative has been a leader in the drive for equality in tech — as well as bringing basic feminist concepts like consent, tone policing, and intersectional oppression — primarily with the establishment and enforcement of anti-harassment policies adopted by many tech shows and expos around the country, as well as other non-tech conferences. The Ada Initiative also established workshops like AdaCamp, Impostor Syndrome Training, and the Ally Skills Workshops.

“Today, thousands of conferences have these policies, including many in the area of free and open source software, fandom, Wikimedia projects, computer technology, library technology, science writing, entomology, and many other areas we never expected to influence,” the statement said. “This work is now completely community-driven; people everywhere are developing and improving codes of conducts for online communities.”

AdaCamp unconferences, starting in 2012 in Melbourne, Australia, where over 500 women had the life-changing experience of the unconference. Established at AdaCamp San Francisco in 2013, the Ada Initiative taught a class which was continued at subsequent AdaCamps on overcoming Impostor Syndrome, “the feeling that you are a fraud and will be found out as unqualified, often for the work you are already performing. Many women in open tech/culture experience Impostor Syndrome, and are excited to learn how to counteract it.” The Ally Skills Workshops were established in 2011 and “teaches men how to use their societal advantages to do more of the emotional labor of pushing back against sexism and exclusionary behavior in their communities and workplaces.”

Guides for the AdaCamp unconferences, materials for the Impostor Syndrome classes, and the Ally Skill Workshop materials are all available under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.

“Everything that the Ada Initiative created with the help and support of our volunteers and donors is continuing on in some freely available, reusable, and modifiable form,” the statement said. “The conference anti-harassment and community code of conduct work is fully in the hands of the community, with dozens of forks of various anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct in active use and development. The AdaCamp Toolkit makes all of the AdaCamp innovations available to anyone who wants to start a conference or improve an existing conference. Over 40 people are trained to lead the Ally Skills Workshop, materials for which are all available for free use and modification. The Impostor Syndrome training materials will soon be released under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license for anyone to use or modify for free.”

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Larry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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3 comments to Ada Initiative Closes Up Shop

  • none

    Good riddance. Total BS.

  • A.

    The fact that this failed gives me hope that not everything is lost and that commonn sense still has a chance. “Tone police”? This is just one small step away from “thought police”. (Just by reading the title, I thought this was something about the Ada programming language. Had I known this is about feminist aggressive nonsense, I wouldn’t have clicked.)

  • terry

    I didnt understand the title and thought it was the Lady Ada who runs that geek toys business and thought it was a shame.
    Thank god its not them.

    As for this, got to agree with the previous post that this two person iniative has a lot of the usual thought speak like ‘tone police.’

    I even had time to kill so I checked out intersectional oppression.
    Which according to google isnt a term used. You have intersectionality and intersectional feminism but intersectional oppression not so much.
    I love how the bullshit machines whether they are in ’causes’ or in PR keep inventing new terms or appropriating existing ones.

    There was no money I presume in this one and its time to move on.