In the first two articles, Why it’s important to think about DE&I in your community? and How to start with DE&I for your community?, we explored the importance of diversity (which shouldn't be looked at as important but rather a necessity) and we also explored the initiatives communities can implement to create a diverse and inclusive environment, one key takeaway is – before any implementing or initiative is done in these communities, communities leaders/managers need to understand the full spectrum of what DEI is. By understanding this, they can focus on areas in the external /internal parts of their communities where diversity is lacking in.
Although there are vast communities that have diversity and inclusion in their community DNA, I will be highlighting two communities that do an awesome job in creating an inclusive community, the first being web3baddies. As the name suggests this community is for "baddies" who are interested in the web3 resources and network; Here the word "baddies" represents women, POC(people of color), LGBTQIA folks, and any other marginalized individuals, the community provides a safe space for these folks to be as expressive as they can be and they also learn more about what web3 is all about and network with other baddies who are just like them.
The second community that is intentional in creating that diverse environment is DEV Community 👩💻👨💻; DEV is a community of software developers getting together to help one another out, one thing that strikes attention is the team portrait on the website, team members are allowed to use illustrations rather than the normal headshots we are used to, this translates to “we support you to be your person and do what makes you feel comfortable”.
Another noticeable factor is the code of conduct by DEV, “it states that in the interest of fostering an open and welcoming environment, moderators of DEV Community pledge to make participation in their projects and community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, and expression, level of experience, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation”. This goes a long way as it shows an accountable trait of the community moderators, who are transparent within the community and very committed to harboring and creating that safe space for their community members. These communities started building with a diverse mindset from day one for them to achieve such feats!
Here are 5 ways community leaders/managers can implement a diverse and inclusive approach toward community building from day 1:
Reflect on your need for DEI in your community
The first step towards creating a diverse and inclusive community is to understand what diversity is, most leaders fall into the landmine of wanting a diverse community without actually understanding what diversity means. As a leader you understand the importance of diversity and not see it as a quick gimmick to attract people into your community; By reflecting on why you need diversity you can understand that DEI isn't just a quick nice tag you can put on but an actual necessity.
Create an inclusive strategy before members join your community
Draft out a template of what inclusion will look like in your community in terms of language and engagement. Your community members need to understand what DEI means to your community and how they are expected to represent these values your community stand for. It all comes down to a clear mission statement as most community guidelines all sound the same. The best way to craft a guideline is to be as authentic as possible for example, the DEV community has a pledge used in its code of conduct to show its stance on inclusion in its community.
When crafting out a community guideline and you want to be as inclusive always remember to :
- Tie your values and expectations of inclusion with your community's mission
- Make use of specific examples of practices and groups that you implement to ensure people feel welcome (events, community groups...etc).
Use different engagement methods for community members of different identities
As community members join your community, they each come with different mindsets and identities, what works for A might not work for B, a direct approach towards asking community members about themselves in a way they feel comfortable is always best, leading conversations like "I noticed you in the community, I would love to learn more about you". this is crucial cause you can understand more about community members and further take on the conversation by asking more questions, these questions can give you an idea of how to approach similar community members of a particular subset and strike up conversations without coming off as offensive
Set up channels for feedback
One of the best ways to create a great community is to create an atmosphere where community members feel safe to contribute to ideas and conversations. By setting up an anonymous channel for feedback, encouraging community members to contribute towards this channel, and taking all feedback and implementing it in the community in one way or another (you can address feedback but not necessarily implement it ), it shows that you listen and are intentional about creating that safe space for your community members.
It's important to note the path towards creating an inclusive online community cannot be rushed, community members can call out if you're truly genuine towards diversity and inclusion, trust is something that is built on consistency so by constantly learning about what it means to be diverse you're on the best path towards building a truly diverse community.
May 9, 2022
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