Diversity and Inclusion, Debian Redux

So, today at Cambridge MiniDebConf, I was scheduled to do a Birds of a Feather (BoF) about Diversity and Inclusion within Debian. I was expecting a handful of people in the breakout room. Instead it was a full blown workshop in the lecture theatre with me nominally facilitating. It went far, far better than I hoped (although a couple of other and myself people had to wrench us back on topic a few times).
There were lots of good ideas, and productive friendly debate (although we were pretty much all coming from the same ball park). There are three points I have taken away from it (others may have different views):
  1. We are damned good at Inclusion, but have a long way to go on the Diversity (which is a problem of the entire tech sector).
  2. Debian is a social project as well as a technical one – our immediately accessible documentation does not reflect this.
  3. We are currently too reactive and passive when it comes to social issues and getting people involved. It is essential that we become more proactive.

Combined with the recent Diversity drive from Debconf 2016, I really believe we can do this. Thank-you all you who attended, contributed, and approached me afterwards.

Edit: Video here – Debian Diversity and Inclusion Workshop

Edit Edit: video link fixed.

2 thoughts on “Diversity and Inclusion, Debian Redux

  1. martin

    The DebConf diversity programme actually started for DebConf15, but we aren’t quite where we want it yet. Anyway, it’s great to hear it being appreciated. I definitely agree that we need to become more active and less reactive about this, which is why DebConf needs to continue to evolve. It is one of our primary and best outreach channels.

  2. Cynthia

    Diversity requires one key ingredient: appreciation.
    When diverse teams are given the tools to appreciate one another, opposites can collaborate effectively when everyone appreciates the contributions of those with different perspectives, styles, and experiences.
    In times of crisis and on simpler tasks, homogeneous groups will always perform better. They “speak the same language” and therefore get things done quickly. Their solutions may not be as creative, but they will be more likely to coalesce.
    Diverse groups may attempt a wider and more creative range of solutions, the differing perspectives can lead to harmful disagreement.
    Be aware of his or her limitations (each style has positive and negative implications)
    We should recognize that opposites do not attract (they repel) and therefore it is natural to avoid or disagree with those who are different.

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