Speaker Interview: Gina Likins

Gina -- it's pronounced "Jenna" -- Likins has been doing web strategy for intranets and external web sites for over 20 years, so she would know a thing or two about this. "This," of course, is "How to Thoroughly Insult and Offend People in Your Open Source Communities, or 'Your #$%@ $%@&ing sucks and I $%@&ing hate it.' " -- the topic of her presentation given on SCALE 13x Friday at 1:15. The SCALE Team caught up with Gina to talk about her excessive use of symbols in the title of her talk and other things.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I'm Gina, pronounced "Jenna", Likins, but don't worry if you mispronounce it the first time. I give people "three strikes" if they've seen it in print first, as I realize it's not the most common variant. I've been doing web strategy, for intranets and external web sites since 1994, which I have to admit makes me feel rather old sometimes! I moved over to open source (or "saw the light" as I like to say) three years ago, when I joined Red Hat.

Q: You're giving a talk entitled "How to Thoroughly Insult and Offend People in Your Open Source Communities, or 'Your #$%@ $%@&ing sucks and I $%@&ing hate it.' " Based on the title alone, I'm going. Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: The honor of your presence would be most appreciated.

I think we all have "point awareness" of things that can be taken the wrong way or put people off. Sometimes it's helpful, though, to see a lot the potential awfulness crammed together into a comprehensive list. A manual, if you will, of ways to create antagonism.

We might also talk a bit about why creating antagonism could be sub-optimal.

Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: Yes, it is my first trip! Luckily, most of my teammates have been many times and have been speakers before, so I've been fortunate enough to get wise counsel from Tom Callaway, Joe Brockmeier, Ruth Suehle, and Brian Proffitt, amongst others (all speaking this year too!).

I think my biggest challenge will be choosing which talk to attend during each time slot -- when someone figures out cloning the whole conference thing will be a lot easier.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: I'll just add that I'm a joiner, and when I saw Ruth posting about The Weekest Geek I jumped in and said, "Ooh, fun, can I play?" before figuring out what it was. This may have been unwise on my part, as it turns out I'm sort of terrible at trivia, so I fully expect to be skunked. Feel free to have pity on me and shout out answers from the audience!

I must also say that I am definitely looking forward to a change in climate -- as I look out my window at the moment, there's a solid half-inch of ice on the ground (nothing compared to the northeast US, but plenty for North Carolina).

[SCALE Team interview by Dennis Rex]