9 Best Practices for Diverse Inclusion and Cooperation in Open Communities

How can open source and participatory communities like Mozilla support diverse inclusion? Here at the Community Building Track at the Mozilla Festival, an international group of organizers convened to discuss ways to cooperate effectively across gender, age, accessibility, and cultural differences. It’s part of a larger initiative here at the MozillaFestival to create a community building handbook for open communities.

The session was facilitated by Beatrice Martini, Katelyn Rogers, Flore Allemandou, J. Nathan Matias, Deb Soumya, Alifiyah Ganijee, Leo McArdle, Ibrahima Sarr, and Cynthia Ng. These notes were created by me and Katelyn Rogers.

In the session, we broke into groups, identifying best practices for diversity and suggesting actions that we could take next.

9 Best Practices for Inclusive Communities

Codes of Conduc are a baseline practice for ensuring that disrespectful conduct is not acceptable at any level of participation. Although they’re often discussed in relation to gender diversity, they should also account for age and accessibility guidelines. Here are a few examples of Codes of Conduct that we could find: Allied Media, Ashe Dryden, Hacker School.

Diverse Mentorship and role models offer welcoming support to people who are less well represented within a community. Ensuring diversity among speakers and leaders in our communities is an important step, and it’s important to.

 

One way to avoid tokenism is to partner with other communities to create trust and working relationships across culturally diverse groups over time.

Offer facilitation training to people within your community, supporting them to develop practices and instincts of listening, respect and inclusion. Training often helps people overcome instincts (like speaking too fast, too much, or interrupting others) that might other be dis-inclusive.

Great events welcome families and offer childcare to support parent involvement, and to support families to learn and create things together. When parents learn and create technology together with their children, fears and concerns about young people’s technology interests can be overcome. Childcare opens participation to carers who might otherwise be excluded from in-person events.

 

Broaden your outreach by asking participants to suggest other people who don’t look them, and then ask those people the same question.

Organize socializing events that are broadly inclusive. In some cases, this might involve providing space for non-drinkers. Other organizers build socializing time into the official event schedule, since some people (like parents) need to leave after business hours.

Funders and leaders should include diversity as a funded component of every project, since outreach and inclusion cost money.

Inclusion takes time; successful initiatives and partnerships across demographic and cultural diversity take time to build trust and working relationships over multiple gatherings.

Join the Conversation!

In this session, we also collected a large number of actions to take in this space, ideas that will evolve as we work together on the Community Building Handbook here at the Community Track at MozFest. We’ll be here all weekend (see the schedule), join us or tweet any of the organizers!