DEV Community

Watiri Kambo
Watiri Kambo

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Galaxy community
What is Galaxy Community?
I'm positive this is a question that is already running through your mind. Well, worry no further for this blogpost explains more about the galaxy community and all matters related to open source contribution. Galaxy is a global community project which is made up of researchers, trainers, students, bioinformaticians, software developers and infrastructure providers all using the Galaxy platform to perform and support data-intensive research.

Well then how does Open Source relate to Galaxy community?
Yet another question that may have crossed your mind. To put things into perspective, Open Source projects provide a framework whereby contributors are free to modify and distribute software according to each project guidelines. More often than not, the contributors are usually not usually part of the community members, meaning that they contribute outside their working hours. The contributors could also be located anywhere in the world meaning that they are operating on different time zones. The Galaxy community thrives on the different contributors that are spread all over the world.

My perception about the Galaxy Community

Participating as a contributor within the Galaxy community made me realize a couple of things about the community as a whole. The community members are really friendly and are open to helping new contributors understand how things work. This form of unity really impressed me since its not everywhere that you will meet people that are willing to help you out.

I was lucky enough to work with two mentors that were always ever available to help me out with whatever challenges that I faced during my contribution period. This honestly made me feel that i had all the support needed in achieving my goals.

I was working on a project called "Develop a culture of well-being for open source projects, the galaxy community as a use-case". I choose this project from a very long list of projects made available by Outreachy. The project described some of the challenges posed to core community members. An example of the challenge is that it often becomes difficult for the core community members to accommodate the different work styles and expectations: they are expected to be knowledgeable about all the aspects of the project and be available at any time. This challenge and others such as a lack of diversity in software development provide obstacles for a healthy environment and often contribute to an increased pressure over the community members which has an impact on their mental health.

"Some of the most comforting words in the universe are ‘me too.’ That moment when you find out that your struggle is also someone else’s struggle, that you’re not alone, and that others have been down the same road.”

These challenges are prominent within the community mainly because it is a global open source community. The community has made a point of improving the well-being of the community members and has extensively revised and researched the Galaxy code of conduct. I believe that a lot can be done to improve the mental health and well-being of the community besides extensively revising the code of conduct. A suggestion would be through active communication about emotions and feelings within the community chat channels, having proper time management by using the pomodoro technique so that the members do not get overwhelmed with the amount of work that they have to do. This would mean that they have enough time to focus on work,meditation and other life engagements.By using the eat that frog technique would also encourage the members to focus on the most important goals of the day and end up achieving more in less time.It would be important to conduct surveys and find out how the community members feel about participating in the open source contribution. This is relevant data that can help in customizing methods of improving well-being of the community members.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the technology space, and notably within open source, is an opportunity we must continue to take advantage of for the benefits it provides. Because open source software, hardware, and standards are established by individuals with diverse backgrounds, nations, orientations, and identities, their participation and well-being is critical. Diverse engagement promotes better outcomes and more robust technologies, according to research after study—diverse communities are just stronger communities. To ensure that communities continue to progress, we must strengthen our collective understanding of DEI by evaluating the existing condition and determining which forms of collaborative actions contribute to improved outcomes. Galaxy community demonstrates a diverse range of contributors from all walks of life around the globe.

I believe that there is more to be done within the community and i look forward to sharing more materials about my experience within the community. Ciao :)

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