The Challenge of Emotional Labor in Open Source Communities

Drupal Camp Asheville 2024 - July 12th-14th

Start Time



Ken Rickard

Emotional labor is, in one sense, the invisible thread that ties all our work together.  Emotional labor supports and enables the creation and maintenance of our products. It is a critical community resource, yet undervalued and often dismissed.

In this session we'll take a look at a few reasons why that may be the case and discuss some ways in which open source communities are starting to recognize the value of emotional labor.

Specifically, we will cover:

  • What do we mean when we discuss "emotional labor"?
  • How is emotional labor different from other kinds of work?
  • What expectations exist around emotional labor?
  • (How) is emotional labor valued in Drupal?
  • What can we do to increase the perceived value of emotional labor?
  • How can we distribute the responsibility to perform emotional labor?

This talk is targeted towards all levels of the community, to coders and non-coders, and especially to project leads and those who wish to become leads.