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Introduction

Many organisations are wanting to find out how effective they are at attracting a diverse range of people. The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) promotes open, community focussed projects that are welcoming to all, yet have never collected any information to support this.

The main purpose of this survey was to gather feedback from all existing ASF committers about the current level of diversity. Although there are many aspects to diversity including socio-economic, disability, education etc which may be addressed in a future survey, this initial survey was focussed on three broad areas of age, gender and ethnicity. It also captured information about why people contribute to Apache projects.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: All responses to this survey were voluntary and anonymous. There was no obligation for any of the ASF committers to respond.

Responses and Response Frequency

  • The survey was open for a total of 14 days (28th November - 11th December 2016)
  • A total of 765 responses were recorded (out of a committer base of 5861 at the time that the survey was carried out)
  • The majority of responses were recorded during the first day
  • A second peak of responses occurred after a survey reminder was sent out close to the end of the survey period.

 

 TotalPercentage
Responded to the Survey76513%
Didn't Respond to the Survey509687%
Total Committers5861100

 

 

DateNumber of Responses
28 Nov 16434
29 Nov 1661
30 Nov 1637
1 Dec 1617
2 Dec 166
3 Dec 166
4 Dec 162
5 Dec 165
6 Dec 163
7 Dec 165
8 Dec 163
9 Dec 16140
10 Dec 1622
11 Dec 1624
Total765

 

 

Comments

  • The survey response percentage was 13% (765 out of 5861)
  • How significant is this as an indication of the total committer population?
  • Why was the response rate low? What can be done to understand or explain the response rate? It could be a variety or things e.g. non active committers, not engaging enough with committer base, general lack of interest, people too busy, etc.


Proposed Actions

  • Find out how significant this result is. Start discussion about what analysis can be done to give us this information?
  • Find out how many non active committers we have (some flagged as emeritus etc) / do we have a non-active flag or can do something to work out if someone is active or not

Survey Questions

Question 1: How long have you been involved with any Apache project community?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Less than 3 years34%257
3 to 5 years24%184
5 to 10 years25%193
Over 10 years17%131
Prefer not to say0%0

 

Comments:

  • The objective of this question was to find out how long the committer had been involved with the ASF and to see if it remained balanced over time (e.g. Are people joining as ASF as contributors but then not staying?)
  • All respondents answered this question
  • The largest group of respondents (257) had been with the ASF for less than 3 years.
  • The second largest group of respondents (193) had been with the ASF 5 to 10 years,
  • The third largest group of respondents (184) had been with the ASF 3 to 5 years
  • It is good to see that the largest group are 'newcomers' which seems to indicate that the ASF is attracting them

Proposed actions

Confirm what we are currently doing

Question 2: How long have you been a committer on any Apache project?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Less than 3 years50.2%384
3 to 5 years21.6%165
5 to 10 years19.3%148
Over 10 years8.8%67
Prefer not to say0.1%1

 

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to find out how long the committer had been a committer, and to see if it was inline with the previous question about how long people had been involved with the ASF.
  • One person preferred not to respond to this question.
  • The largest group of respondents (384) had been a committer for less than 3 years
  • This is clearly significantly different to the responses for question 1. Instead of being fairly balanced across the time frame, there is a large group of newer committers. This seems to indicate that some of the committers have been involved with a project for more than 3 years before being invited as a committer.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no official timeframe for being involved with an ASF project and being invited as a committer

 

Question 3: In general, do you contribute to Apache as an individual or as an employee of a company?i

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Individual (unemployed)2.7%21
Individual (retired)1.3%10
Individual (outside regular job)39.5%302
Employee

49.4%

378
Prefer not to say1.8%14
Other5.2%40

 

 

Additional Breakdown of 'Other' CategoryNumber of Responses
Both an employee and an individual26
Student2
Individual Self Employed Contractor / Consultant9
Uncategorised3
TOTAL40

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to find out in general how and why people are contributing to Apache projects
  • Fourteen people preferred not to answer this question
  • The largest group of respondents (378) contribute to Apache projects as an Employee, so as part of their employment
  • The second largest group of respondents (302) contribute to Apache individually outside their regular employment. This means that they are volunteering their free time to contribute.

Question 4: How would you like to record your gender for the purposes of this survey?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Female5.2%40
Male91.9%703
Trans female0.5%4
Trans male0%0
Gender variant / Non-conforming / Non-binary0.8%6
Prefer not to say1.3%10
Not listed (please specify)0.3%2

 

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to get a picture of the gender breakdown / diversity of the Apache committers
  • Ten people preferred not to answer this question
  • The two not listed responses did not specify a gender and instead commented on the question
  • The largest group of respondents (703) were male
  • Forty females, four trans females, and six gender variant / non conforming / non-binary responded.
    • Only 5.2% of respondents were female which is low
    • It is good to see that the people of non conforming gender are involved in ASF projects and also that they are willing to indicate this for the survey
    • Is there any potential work that can be done to see if we can get more information on a larger scale?

Proposed actions

  • Compare our data with other similar open source foundations / organisations to see where we are (are we typical / atypical / top / bottom / middle etc?)
  • Engage with women and other under-represented groups within the ASF and find out any ideas for encouraging others
  • Review existing outreach programs to see if they can help reach these under represented groups
  • Look at additional / specific outreach (e.g. Outreachy, Hackbright, WiBD etc) to see if we can collaborate with them

Question 5: What is your age range?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
24 or younger2.6%20
25 to 3435.0%268
35 to 4438.2%292
45 to 5417.1%131
55 to 644.5%34
Over 651.4%11
Prefer not to say1.2%9

 

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to find out the age range of Apache committers and to see if this was balanced
  • Nine people preferred not to answer this question
  • The largest group of respondents (292) came from 35 to 44 age range
  • The second largest group of respondents (268) came from the 25 to 34 age range
  • It is also interesting to see that the ASF is also attracting people in the under 24 and over 65 age ranges

Question 6: Which of the following would you use to describe yourself?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Asian23.0%176
Black / African0.1%1
Caucasian / White67.1%513
Hawaiian / Pacific islander0%0
Latino / Hispanic2.6%20
Multi-racial1.5%11
Prefer not to say3.9%30
Other (please specify)1.8%14

 

 

Additional Breakdown of 'Other' categoryNumber of Responses
European4
Indian2
Middle Eastern2
Native American1
Native American and European1
Homo sapiens / Human2
Uncategorised2



Comments

  • The objective of this question was to get a picture of the high level ethnic diversity of the Apache committers
  • Thirty people preferred not to answer this question
  • The largest group of respondents (513) were Caucasian / White
  • The second largest group of respondents (176) were Asian

 

Question 7: How often to you refer to ASF policies, processes or guidelines?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Never6.3%48
Rarely (less than once a month)54.3%415
Sometimes (less than once a week)26.0%199
Often (once a week or more)11.5%88
Prefer not to say1.3%10
Other (please specify)0.6%5

 

 

NOTE: 'Other' category included specific comments so could not be broken down further

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to find out if the documentation around policies and guidelines were being refered to by committers
  • Ten people preferred not to answer this question
  • The largest group of respondents (415) said that they rarely referred to ASF processes, policies or guidelines

 

Question 8: When you need to locate information about ASF processes, policies or guidelines, which of the following describes your experience?

 

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Information about processes, policies or guidelines is always easy to find22.5%172
Information about processes, policies or guidelines is sometimes a little difficult to find59.5%455
Information about processes, policies or guidelines is quite difficult to find8.4%64
Prefer not to say6.9%53
None of the above (please specify)2.7%21

 

 

Additional breakdown of 'None of the above (please specify)' categoryNumber of Responses
Never looked8
Mixed (sometimes easy, sometimes hard)3
Uncategorised10

 

Uncategorised included some comments on the following themes

  • General use of Google to search
  • Get help from other community members to find details
  • No standard search engine for ASF documents (e.g Google search on 'Apache' returns 'httpd' related items)

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to find out how easy it was to locate information about policies, processes or guidelines
  • Fifty-three people preferred not to answer this question
  • The largest group of respondents (455) said that sometimes information was a little difficult to find

 

Question 9: Please use the box below to provide any additional comments or feedback about this survey, diversity at the ASF or the ASF in general

NOTE: This question included a special note requesting permission to quote from any comments made.

Answer ChoicesPercentageNumber of Responses
Yes - you have my permission to quote from my comments for this question only54.9%245
No - you do not have my permission to quote from my comments for this question only45.1%201

 

 

Comments

  • The objective of this question was to get feedback from the committers on diversity ideas, ASF policies or processes, and the ASF in general
  • Four hundred and forty six people  (446) responded to this question and 111 comments were made
  • Eighty one (81) people gave permission for their comments to be shared or quoted
  • One person did not respond 'Yes' or 'No' in giving their permission so as a default this will be treated as no permission has been given
  • The comments have been categorised into various themes

 

 

Overall ThemesPercentageNumber of Responses
Survey feedback (eg. questions, format etc)10.8%12
Diversity Comments and Ideas28.8%32

Suggested improvements

27.1%

30
Thanks25.2%28
Not Applicable (e.g. No comment, blank, none)8.1%9
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