denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2009-05-04 01:51 am

[sticky entry] Sticky: Where to go for help!

If you're having a problem with Dreamwidth, please contact Support. I do regret that I can't reply to Dreamwidth-specific issues that are left as comments to this journal, in private message, or in email -- [staff profile] mark and I are tremendously swamped, and we need to redirect all issues, problems, and questions to the support board instead of trying to coordinate having reports in multiple places.

You can use the following categories:

Site Interface: If you're having a technical problem with Dreamwidth or you'd like to report a bug.
Importer: If you're having problems importing your content from another site.
Entries: If you're having problems with entries to your journal.
Styles: If you're having problems designing the look of your journal.

Account Payments: If you're having a problem with a payment for your account, or want to discuss bulk account creation. (Or, you can email
Terms of Service: If you believe another user has violated the Terms of Service, or would like clarification on any of the points of the Terms of Service. (Or, you can email
Feedback: If you'd like to provide an opinion on the service. (Or, you can email
Webmaster: If you need to contact site staff for any other reason. (Or, you can email

You can make suggestions by using the site's Suggestions form, and read and review others' suggestions -- as well as talking over the best possible implementation -- in the [site community profile] dw_suggestions community!
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2015-07-30 12:45 am

(no subject)

Today I found out that open source community member, feminist, activist, and fucking awesome human being Nóirín Plunkett has died. I have no words for what we've lost in losing Nóirín; I think the open source community is going to keep running headfirst into that loss for years to come.

Nóirín, wherever you are now, I hope it's full of everything you would consider paradise. It's going to be a long fucking time before I stop looking for you at every conference I go to.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2015-06-25 09:52 pm

Post for testing screening and re-screening

All comments to this post are screened la la la
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2015-01-27 01:26 am

When your code is nearly old enough to vote

My talk at this year's was "When Your Codebase Is Nearly Old Enough To Vote": a case study of Dreamwidth and all the horrible horrible things we've found down there underneath the couch cushions, along with the lessons we've learned about when to rewrite them and when to leave them alone.

You can view the YouTube recording (sorry, no transcript), or check out the slides!
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2014-12-30 04:23 pm

Let's spend Sumana's money!

Stumptown Syndicate, the 501(c)(3) organization that puts on a bunch of wonderful events including Open Source Bridge (which is probably my favorite conference) is running a fundraiser right now, and the wonderful Sumana Harihareswara (aka [personal profile] brainwane) is offering a matching donation: she and her partner will match up to $15,000 donated before 1:30pm PST tomorrow (Dec 31).

Sumana's post goes into a lot of detail about why OSB and Stumptown Syndicate are worth giving money to. Like her, OSB is the tech conference I've found most welcoming. Now that I've been (last year was my second year) I'm going to make it a point of never missing it again, short of utter disaster. Unlike many conferences, it's about the whole open source ecosystem -- design, documentation, project management, and culture, in addition to programming. It's the most welcoming conference I've ever attended; I've never once felt out of place, marginalized, or uncomfortable there. Their speaker lineup is the most diverse of any conference I've ever seen. They're fabulous at all the small touches that make the event feel like they want everyone there, from taped-off accessibility travel lanes, to catering that takes all manner of diet, food sensitivities, and allergies into account, to a quiet room to hang out in, to inclusive language everywhere -- and so many more little touches that make it clear inclusiveness is a top priority. And, of course, they give back to the open source world in many other ways: all the tools they've developed to run the event are available under an open license, including Open Conference Ware, the engine that runs everything.

There are a lot of conferences in the tech world that I'll go to, but I'll go with my armor up, waiting to stumble over the thing that reminds me I am not what they think of when they think of their target audience. Going to OSB is something you can do without that armor, and once you show up, you get to spend four days hanging out with some of the most amazing people in the tech world and geeking out about the things you love. As Sumana says, this fundraiser will help to take OSB's already-awesome inclusiveness and help it level up: they're hoping to fund childcare, improve the accomodations for Deaf or hard of hearing folks, and enable scholarships and travel assistance for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to attend. I think these are awesome goals!

So, if you have a few bucks you're not using, you can double their reach by donating now and unlocking more of Sumana's matching funds. And if you're looking for a great conference, OSB is running June 23-26 this year; I hope to see you there!
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-06-27 01:30 am
Entry tags:

Impostor syndrome

I've been talking a lot at conferences this year about impostor syndrome, and if you're interested, the Ada Initiative has transcribed and captioned the talk I gave at this year:

Kicking Impostor Syndrome In The Head: Lessons from AdaCamp DC and SF

This is the shorter version of the talk -- I gave the longer one at Open Source Bridge last week, and the slides for that one can be found at Kicking Impostor Syndrome In The Head. (The longer talk also includes a section on how you can help people around you with their impostor syndrome, especially if you're in a position of social or technical authority or status in your group or project.) I'm pretty sure video of that talk will be available at some point, too!
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-06-11 03:20 pm


(I need to email in these photos so I can link them from the news post!)

Photo #1: us outside our server hosting company, complete with bonus @dive and @cheyinka and their adorable tiny human. Photo #2: sunset over the Capitol building, as seen from our hotel room balcony. Both photos by the lovely and talented @sarah.

ack, forgot the cut! )
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-04-30 09:15 am

(no subject)

Happy fourth birthday, Dreamwidth.

Good Lord, it feels like it's either been absolutely honking forever, or that we just started yesterday. Occasionally at the same time.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-03-18 09:27 am

(no subject)

applications for adacamp san francisco (june 8-9) are now open!

adacamp is a two-day unconference for supporters of women in open technology and culture. if you are significantly female-identified (*) and into open stuff -- not just programming or technical matters, but any form of open data, open government, fan and remix culture, open education, open source, open technology, and so on -- you should really consider attending.

there's childcare available, too, if that would be a limiting factor! and there's (limited) travel funding you can apply for. the conference itself is "by invitation", but the invitation process is basically to make sure people have a basic level of awareness of feminism in order to get the most out of things and not be detrimental to the group as a whole; it's not there to exclude people who aren't "technical enough" (if you're reading this on the internet right now, you're technical enough). so if you're interested in hanging out for a weekend and talking with other women about open technology and culture, you should apply.

i went to adacamp dc and it was an awesome experience being around so many smart, interesting, engaging women. i'm not 100% sure yet whether or not i'm going to be able to go to this one, but if you can, you really should.

(*) based on feedback and requests, the main adacamp sf programming is restricted to women and people who are significantly female-identified. there's a parallel allies track for people of all other genders, being held on june 8. the ada initiative uses an inclusive definition of female-identified: if you identify primarily or significantly as a woman, you can register for the main track.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-03-08 02:01 pm
Entry tags:

bug counts are getting back in the saddle

it's been ages and ages since the last time i did a bug count post! (no, really, ages. the last one was over a year ago, eep!)

but i'm in the middle of working through a whole fuckton of bugzilla cleanup this week, and i thought i'd post a count at the midpoint. the "all open" numbers look scary, but they're down considerably from where we started at the beginning of the week, so i am ridiculously pleased!

All open: 897
All assigned: 181
All unassigned: 716
Bugs only: 572
Enhancements only: 325
All resolved: 4025
All resolved-fixed: 3462

(some of the queries have been removed, since we've moved to github for submitting patches, so the queries are no longer meaningful!)

of particular note: we have passed 4000 resolved bugs, and are approaching 3500 resolved/fixed!
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-01-31 11:56 pm
Entry tags:

[tutorial] Web Accessibility for the 21st Century: Resources & Exercises

Thank you all for attending my talk! The slides are downloadable from Slideshare:

Web Accessibility for the 21st Century

This is the table of contents for the resource package, which contains:

  • 31 Quick Techniques to Make Your Site More Accessible: a text-only version of the 31 tips provided in the talk itself, so you don't have to mess around with transcribing them.

  • Further Reading: A list of resources, further reading, and Useful Sites.

  • Writing Useful Alt Text: An exercise for you to practice with! A handful of images, each presented with two different bits of text. Write the alt text for each image in each context.

  • Writing Alt Text: Answers (and not-answers): My own answers to that exercise, and my reasoning for why -- these aren't definitive, because there are many different ways of doing it, but you can compare my answers with your own.

  • Inaccessible (and annoying) Websites: A discussion in [site community profile] dw_accessibility where people name off examples of particularly inaccessible websites (and why they're inaccessible). I wound up not having time to fit that into this tutorial, but you can browse the comments and see the examples!

  • Assistive Tech (semi-) Poll: A while back, we wound up asking people to comment in [site community profile] dw_accessibility with information about what assistive technology they use. The answers are fascinating, and demonstrate the wide variety of assistive tech out there.

  • And [site community profile] dw_accessibility in general: this is the community for our accessibility project team, and you can read through both the general accessibility-related discussions and also see some examples of how we solicit accessibility-related feedback and design features to be as accessible as possible.

If you have any questions that I didn't answer in the talk, or want to share some resources (or success stories after you go implement some of the advice!) please do comment!
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-01-31 11:07 pm
Entry tags:

[tutorial] The 31 Tips

These are the 31 points I covered in the talk, for ease of copy/pasting and not having to dig through and transcribe my slides! For those who haven't seen the talk, they'll probably be pretty understandable anyway, but you still need to see the talk to get the nuance. I am happy to come deliver this talk, or the longer version I cut this down from, to your local group ;)

31 Quick Techniques to Make Your Site More Accessible )
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-01-31 11:00 pm
Entry tags:

[tutorial] Further Reading

Here's a list of a whole bunch of resources, tools, and information for you to do more reading about accessibility and accessible design. (This was done with the help of the [site community profile] dw_accessibility community, who are a bunch of very lovely people!)

They're roughly divided into categories, more or less.

If there's something I've missed, or another tool or resource you're fond of, leave a comment! (If you're commenting anonymously, or logged in with OpenID, you can leave links in the comments, but they'll be rewritten to display as bolded text followed by bare URLs: that's an antispam feature. I'll try to come through behind people and turn them into clickable links. Or you could create a Dreamwidth account!)

Further Reading )
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-01-31 10:22 pm
Entry tags:

[tutorial] Writing Alt Text - Answers (and not-answers)

Here are my answers to the Writing Alt Text exercise, and my reasoning for why on each.

You may disagree with me on many or any of the image descriptions! That's okay (and expected). As I said in the talk, many of these questions don't have a single answer, or have multiple possible answers, and people will disagree as to which one is better or best. So if you're worried because your answer isn't close to mine, that's fine: think about your reasoning, consider the basic principles and the desired goal, and work from there.

And, of course, if anybody wants to share their answers because they like theirs better than mine, feel free!

My answers to the alt text exercise )
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2013-01-31 12:40 am
Entry tags:

[tutorial] Writing Alt Text

Writing good alt text is an art, not a science. The same image can be described in different ways based on context, flow, and what aspects of the image you want to call to a listener's attention. The WHAT WG HTML Living Standard " Requirements for providing text to act as an alternative for images" has a collection of requirements for alt text, and WebAIM has a whole article on Appropriate Use of Alternative Text -- both of these are very useful resources! But it still takes practice to get really good at it.

So, let's practice, and see ways in which the same image in two different contexts might make you want to write the alt text differently.

Each of these sample images has two sets of text next to it: one formally-written piece (unless otherwise cited, it's from a relevant Wikipedia article), and a more casually-written sample that might be a blog post in which the image would appear.

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to write relevant and useful alt text for the image in each context. Don't just look at the image and think in your head "oh, I'd do blah blah": actually write it out!

As you work, think about the differences in how you write the alt text in each context, and how different uses of the image make you want to call attention to different aspects of the image contents.

At the bottom of the page is a link to my version of the answers, with a brief explanation for each. I will reiterate that my answer is not necessarily everyone's answer! There are many, many ways to write alt text, and many people disagree as to which is the most useful.

Screenreader users: please note that I'm just using the alt text provided by Flickr's "get this HTML code" here, to avoid giving too many clues. Non-screenreader users: please don't just take Flickr's "get this HTML code" without altering it; it defaults to the title of the picture, which is usually fairly unhelpful for descriptive purposes!

I've turned comments off on this particular post, but they're open on the "answers" page, and if people would like to discuss their choices (or why they don't agree with my choices), feel free.

Take the alt-text practice exercise! )
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2012-09-28 07:32 am

unique hazards of this job

Using site search with certain keywords to find search-engine-ranking-boosting spammers, and getting distracted because the keywords also turn up interesting-looking fic.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2012-08-30 04:53 pm


Both [staff profile] mark and I got notice this afternoon that our proposed tutorials have been accepted for LinuxConf Australia in Canberra in January!

I will be giving (with help from [personal profile] deborah on the development thereof, but alas, she had a conflict with the conference itself) a one and a half hour tutorial called "Beyond Alt Text: What Every Project Should Know About Accessibility":

working description of tutorial! )

I'm totally looking forward to it. We went to LCA a few years back (the year it was held in Wellington) and it was a fabulous conference full of fabulous people talking about smart and fabulous things. I'm looking forward to being able to return.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2012-07-21 02:52 am

(no subject)

Awesomeness: load the Latest Things page and see so many posts that are like "I'm testing out email posting so I can try the first draft of file hosting!" We released this way because it was soooo much easier (seriously, "upload from file" is a pain in the goddamn ass to do right and really easily to do badly) but the side effect of spotlighting one of our lesser-known features is kind of great.

Less awesomeness: a full week of trying to shoehorn myself into a 24-hour sleep schedule means that despite having woken up at a reasonable-ish time today, I am sitting here WIDE AWAKE and the alarm will be going off in four and a half hours for breakfast, last bits of packing, and heading to the airport :(

Not awesome at all: having to go back home and leaving behind all the amazing energy, enthusiasm, and excitement that comes from having ten people all sitting in a room hacking on DW. We are totally doing this again sometime.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2012-07-19 01:04 am

The only real problem...

...with having so many of our contributors here for OSCON is that we have to balance "going to talks and conference sessions to learn awesome things" with "hunkering down on the couches and tables in the hotel lobby and hacking on awesome things".

(Things that people are or have been hacking on this week: image hosting; HTML5/jQuery/responsive-design etc mobile page; "fuzzy" feed matching so there will be fewer duplicate feed accounts and allowing for a "did you mean?" suggestion when creating a feed; extra icon add-ons; the bookmarks/memories overhaul; HTML5, responsive-design site skin; "clean up ALLLLLL the tiny bugs!" (that would be me!); backend/site-reliability stuff; upgrading the code to run on Perl 5.14 ... I'm pretty sure I'm missing stuff, too. Heh.)
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2012-07-17 09:26 am

(no subject)

"We made it so you could switch [the $[ variable] back on, but you had to DECLARE your SINS."

...I love listening to Damien Conway's talks so much, hee.

Other good ones: talking about upgrading Perl and then trying to run scripts that weren't running under 'strict', since 5.12 and onward assumes 'use strict' by default (EDIT: when you declare the version with 'use', I forgot to specify that): "If you upgrade to [Perl 5.12], your program may do unexpected things. That's just a delayed form of justice."

"Why didn't Perl have a println? Pascal has a println!"

"Every time I write a say, I get this little ... BURST of happiness!"

"A lot of people want to tear [smartmatching] down and put up this little tiny effigy in place of it."

"Let's be honest here, Perl only DWIMs if you're Larry Wall."

"You can just use braces instead, but that's two extra characters of typing. With a shift key. Unacceptable."

"How is this different than 'use constant'? 'use constant' is an abomination before God, and this isn't."

"Unlike C++, Perl6 is not sent from hell itself."
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
2012-07-16 09:23 am

(no subject)

Kind of awesome: I'm at Peter Scott's "Perl: The First Three Days" tutorial at OSCON, and the room is like 85% Macs. *g*

I picked this tutorial because despite knowing a ton of useful intermediate and advanced Perl stuff, I am kind of laughably bad at some of the basics, and I have hit the point where the lack of the basics is totally messing with me. So I figure, I will keep taking intro stuff until I figure out data types and context properly :)

Also! We are having a BOF on diversity in open source, on Wednesday at 8PM. (I forget what room, but it's on the signup board.) If you are here at OSCON, come hang out with us and we'll talk about all kinds of stuff.