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Jan 25 2021
Jan 25

If you've spent any time in the Drupal community (specifically the issue queues, forums, and Drupal Slack workspace channels), you may have noticed that while the vast majority of discussions are positive, every now and then tempers flare up or less-than-helpful comments are posted. 

To continue to grow a healthy community, we all must work under the assumption that no one intentionally uses language to hurt others. Even so, despite our best efforts we sometimes still use words or phrases that are discouraging, harmful, or offensive to others. We are all human beings who make mistakes, but as members of a shared community, it’s our responsibility to lift each other up and encourage the best in each other. 

When observing negative behavior in the Drupal community, it can be difficult and/or uncomfortable to interject ourselves and find the right words to get conversations moving in a healthy direction. To address this, starting with an idea discussed at a Community Working Group (CWG) workshop at DrupalCon Seattle, the CWG Community Health team has been working on a communication initiative for the Drupal community. It consists of a series of de-escalation templates we have dubbed “Nudges”.

“Nudges”

The team has written five nudges that community members can use when they are faced with one of these uncomfortable situations in the Drupal community. We selected topics that we feel can have the most impact and are easy to understand. Each “nudge” provides context as to why the comment may be harmful and relevant links including our Code of Conduct and Values and Principles.

The “nudges” created to date are as follows:

Inclusive language - gendered terms

This discussion appears to include the use of gendered language in a comment. Gendered language can be harmful to our community because it can signal that we assume that people’s participation in the community is determined by gender.

The shift to gender-neutral language promotes gender equality. Please respect the pronouns that community members provide in their profiles.

For more information, please refer to Drupal’s Values and Principles about treating each other with dignity and respect.

This comment is provided as a service (currently being tested) of the Drupal Community Health Team as part of a project to encourage all participants to engage in positive discourse. For more information, please visit https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal_cwg/issues/3129687

Inclusive language - ableist terms

This discussion appears to include the use of ableist language in a comment. Ableist language can be harmful to our community because it can devalue challenges experienced by people with disabilities.

For more information, please refer to Drupal’s Values and Principles about treating each other with dignity and respect.

This comment is provided as a service (currently being tested) of the Drupal Community Health Team as part of a project to encourage all participants to engage in positive discourse. For more information, please visit https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal_cwg/issues/3129687

Gatekeeping knowledge

This discussion appears to discourage contribution from some participants by assuming a level of education or exposure to information. This can discourage folks that are new to a conversation from asking for help or getting involved. Consider providing the new contributor with links to help them learn the topic or concept.

For more information, please refer to Drupal’s Values and Principles #3 of fostering a learning environment: long-term contributors should be role models by admitting their own shortcomings and mistakes, being vulnerable, and by giving others the same respect that was once given to them. To keep learning read this article about not feigning surprise.

Principle #9 can also be useful here: be constructively honest, and relentlessly optimistic. You can be optimistic and supportive by giving suggestions for how to improve their contributions. By being helpful, you encourage people to accept feedback and act on it.

This comment is provided as a service (currently being tested) of the Drupal Community Health Team as part of a project to encourage all participants to engage in positive discourse. For more information, please visit https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal_cwg/issues/3129687

Cultural differences

This discussion appears to have escalated due to the inclusion of culturally-specific language. This may be harmful to our community as stereotypes can exclude or tokenize community members, devaluing their individual contribution and value. Please avoid language that imposes an identity on an individual or group.

We should be mindful that not all words and phrases translate to have the same meaning. Please be mindful that different cultures may appreciate different levels of directness in their communication styles and that may impact how words are presented or interpreted.

For more information, please refer to Drupal’s Values and Principles about treating each other with dignity and respect.

This comment is provided as a service (currently being tested) of the Drupal Community Health Team as part of a project to encourage all participants to engage in positive discourse. For more information, please visit https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal_cwg/issues/3129687

Escalating emotions

This discussion appears to include escalating emotions, creating the opportunity for miscommunication. The invested parties are encouraged to take a break from this discussion to help gain perspective. It is important to the community that all members are shown the appropriate amount of respect and openness when working together. Additionally, there are resources offered by the Drupal community to aid conflict resolution should those be needed.

For more information, please refer to Drupal’s Values and Principles of seeking first to understand, then to be understood. Assume best intentions of other contributors and suspend judgment until you have invested time to understand decisions, ask questions, and listen. Before expressing a disagreement, make a serious attempt to understand the reasons behind the decision.

This comment is provided as a service (currently being tested) of the Drupal Community Health Team as part of a project to encourage all participants to engage in positive discourse. For more information, please visit https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal_cwg/issues/3129687

Testing strategy

Over the next few months, members of the Community Health Team will be testing these "nudges” in Drupal.org issue queues, forums, and Drupal Slack workspace channels. For now, this will be done by copying and pasting the nudge text and formatting directly into an issue comment or Slack message. Our goal is to create a nudge widget that allows community members to insert one of the pre-written nudges via a token in issue queue and forum comments.

We feel that a gradual introduction to help prevent overuse of these nudges is necessary as overuse may produce its own sort of gatekeeping. This could lead to desensitization to the “nudge” initiative, negating our efforts. The CWG’s mission is to ensure a positive space that is inclusive to all of our members. 

These are early days for “nudges”. We are looking forward to hearing from other community members on how we can improve on this idea. We have been having weekly meetings for nudges and have been documenting everything we've been doing in the Community Working Group issue queue - let us know if you'd like to get involved!

Thanks

Current community members who have been working on this task include: AmyJune Hineline (volkswagenchick), Neil Drumm (drumm), George Matthes (watsonerror), Darren Oh, Donna Bungard, JD Flynn (dorficus), George DeMet, and Mike Anello (ultimike).
 

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