Introduction to the Diversity Initiative
31 Dec 2018 - flyingmana
I am watching the Diversity situation around Magento,
and especially the MeetMagento events very carefully for a bit more than a year now.
I have heard about several efforts,
from official side, event organizer side, and also from inside the Community.
And I have also seen the results, or mostly the lack of them.
Which may be caused by my very limited view I have from the outside.
So the first goal this initiative has:
make the results of the diversity efforts measurable by setting verifiable goals.
Diversity is a lot about visibility, so changes which are public visible have the highest impact and should be valued accordingly.
Diversity is also mostly a Community Topic, so participating in any form should be made as easy as possible for the whole community and not happen behind closed doors. For this reason, the Initiative will document all its own efforts publicly in this Website and the Github Repository behind it. So it is easy for everyone to contribute but also questioning certain efforts which may be contra productive.
One thing I heard this year from multiple event organizers, they want to improve the Diversity Situation,
but they dont know how, or what they try does not work.
This is not surprising, the same I have heard from other Companies and Communities already several years ago.
Here is one example from 2015 describing the problems.
And usually there were several suggestions from the community. And also examples from other communities, which had successfull diversity efforts. Let me name the JSConf EU 2018 as an example.
So another Goal of the Initiative is: provide manuals, guidelines and recommendations, to increase the diversity in conferences in the Area of Speakers, and also attendees.
Also we already started with a list of usefull Links about the Diversity topic, if you want to read more, or even have links to contribute.
Obviously this is not the first magento related promotion for diversity. To list a few:
- https://magento.wufoo.com/forms/imagine-2018-diversity-discussion/ (this one is just a form to submit topics to a Diversity Discussion at imagine 2018, and yes, I list mostly things I found with a simple google search)
The Initiative will be a bit different, as it is intended to be a longrunning project. Also, while most efforts are currently centred around woman, we will also take on the other areas of diversity later. To bring in a personal anecdote: I did grow up and did go to school in Berlin, Germany. For the 14 Years I did go to school, I was constantly surrounded by a very diverse group of pupils. And it is still iritating me, in how many dimensions the Magento Community is lacking this diversity I am used to.
For the list I also have to mention the Diversity Page of Adobe, to show Diversity is also for the new owner of the Magento Company an important topic.
The Reason why
As I described in the beginning, Iam watching the efforts now for a bit more than a year. I did research some stuff on the side and had an open eye for the efforts of other comunities and conferences. I did especially in context of the MeetMagento forward a few of these things, and pointed to some conferences which did better.
I did hear from different sides there were meetings and diskussions about improving the Diversity. But I never heard about results of them. Also there were, as far as I see, never any official statements about this diskussions which happened behind closed doors.
I am convinced, the participents of this meetings had a strong interest into improving Diversity, and likely have made several plans which were also implemented.
But Iam here, on the other side of the closed door, having a hard time to find the traces of this results. But beeing on this side is something I feel more comfortable with. It allows for a more open process, more transparency, more independence. And more importantly, it allows more people to participate, as long and as much as they can and want, without the direct need of longterm comitment.
We are the Community around Magento. And as you read this article, you are likely already a part of it and just looking for a change to contribute.
And for a more precise answer, we have an About Us Page, where everyone who wants to participate more longterm and actively can put themself on. (Its as easy as doing a Pull Request, or writing a Mail)
There you also find a list of people you can contact privately. Because while transparency and openness is important, not everyone is in a position to say things publicly.
What can you do right now
The Page is still under construction and needs some additional sections. ToDos are listed inside the Issues Section of the Repository. If you find something there which is missing or needs a change, feel free to put it there.
Besides helping here, you can share the Page and this Post. Share it on social Media, where other people around the Magento Ecosystem can find it. We need to get the word out there about having now a public and central place for Diversity work.