Originally posted on August 19, 2018
I will begin this post as I begin each talk, with a list of my credentials because there’s always somebody who needs to see this to understand that I am not an “angry black women”, but rather an informed one.
As I sat back, over the past few weeks, thinking about how I would write about the challenges facing the developer community and specifically Stack Overflow, I realized that there were so many ways I could go. But in order to do what I do best, communicate effective, I’ve decided that this will be a series. This first post will serve as a general overview.
The Problem: Lack of Inclusion & Diversity
Definition of terms
- Privilege = Access
- Underrepresented = Numbers
- Marginalized = Treatment
- Diversity = Variety
- Inclusion = Experience
Developer Survey Results 2016
Stack Overflows own data points to serious challenges with diversity:
Developer Survey Results 2017
Developer Survey Results 2018
Beyond Stack Overflow, the larger technical community continues to demonstrate a lack of care and concern for changing a status quo that favors PRIVILEGED individuals over all others.
White Women != Diversity
- We know that many of you don’t care about improving the experiences of those who aren’t benefiting from privilege.
- Please stop assuming that your efforts for improving inclusion and diversity are in any way effective.
- White women != diversity because they also benefit from a system of privilege.
- We are watching you. Your words and meaningless gestures will come back to bite you in the ass over the long-term.
- Finally, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not doing enough.
Indicators of Meaningful Progress and Change with Stack Overflow
- A strategic plan outlining how they intend to improve not only the number of underrepresented and marginalized individuals meaningfully engaging on the site. But also, a plan for improving the experiences for all (inclusion)
- Documentation of outreach efforts to underrepresented and marginalized communities.
- A process for reporting incidences of inappropriate behavior.
- At least a 25% participation rate for underrepresented and marginalized individuals in the 2019 Developer Survey
- A meaningful academic study conducted on the potential inherent bias associated with the “knowledge” shared on the site.
- An onboarding process for those new to the site and new to coding.
- A regular report that is shared, as widely as you share your survey results, to ensure a transparent process.