For each of us who have been part of this experiment in collaborative distro building and in envisioning a new way of working with end user groups via a platform coop, there are different motivators. As someone curious about Drutopia, you may be interested in what has led to our involvement and why we keep hammering away at this project.
My roots are in the nonprofit sector where I worked for the first twenty years of my adult employment. It is through that lens that I do my work in building the tools which will allow volunteers and staff at small organizations to effectively do their work—whatever it is. For me, their work is the real work that needs to be done in the world and my role is to give them tools that are easy to use and ones that they can feel confident about using. I want to lessen their dependence on requiring experts to come in and take charge. I want them to develop a sense of ownership and have a voice in helping us shape the tools they will become the experts in.
For me, there is also a very gendered lens that I bring to this work. Most tech projects are really focused on the developers who, by and large, are white, cis, males. At Drutopia, we are still unfortunately stuck in that trap but are explicitly trying to tackle that at least through the lens of our values and also in whose opinions matter. That means valuing the roles that are often more female associated such as site builders, designers and project managers. We also aim to give weight to the experiences and knowledge that comes from the grassroots. I want to be part of helping to create technology that is aware of the insidious effect that technology can have in exacerbating misogyny and doing whatever we can to consciously work against that.
While we have been working on this project in some variation for almost three years, we are still very much at a nascent place. I keep plugging away devoting huge amounts of volunteer labour because I believe that Drutopia may make a difference to the activists and groups who I know do make a difference.