The Better Allies™ Approach for Creating More Inclusive Online Communities

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

Graphic titled “Game Plan for Better Allies: Be welcoming to all” with thought bubbles saying “Share best practices for navigating your community”, “Support newcomers who make rookie mistakes” and “Offer to review newcomers’ patches before submission to improve changes of being accepted.”

1. Share the best way to navigate your online community

Which begs the questions…When people join your community, do you share best practices for navigating it? Are members of underrepresented groups receiving the equivalent of “the gouge?”

2. Clarify the experience needed for roles in your community

It’s even got a name: “Prove It Again” bias.

Think about how this bias might show up in your community. Do members drop vague references to women having to prove themselves before being given responsibility? When filling leadership roles, do male organizers favor other men because their gut tells them they’ll do a good job?

Here’s one approach to combat “Prove It Again” bias: Clarify the experience needed for various roles in your community. And objectively evaluate members who could fill them.

3. Create a “Language Matters” discussion area

While it can be challenging to steer colleagues away from jargon and terms that have been widely used in their fields for decades, think about how you can eradicate problematic terms in your community.

One idea is to make a “Language Matters” discussion forum. And encourage members to ask questions about non-inclusive language and suggest alternatives.

4. Redirect questions to the most qualified subject matter expert

In your community, if you notice someone incorrectly assuming a man is the subject matter expert, redirect the question. All it takes is a simple, “Mei’s the person who knows open source AI libraries inside and out. Ask her.”

5. For more ideas, watch this video

Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.