Unfortunately, participation can be or feel risky. Some people, especially people who are underrepresented in technology, are more likely to be criticized, ignored, or ridiculed on the internet than in any other setting in their adult lives. Human beings don’t take risks when they don’t feel confident, and we don’t feel confident when our environment feels unsafe or unwelcoming.
Focusing on creating an atmosphere that says, “Everyone here is equally welcome and important.” is essential, and demonstrates the open source ideology of collaboration and participation.
Creating Inclusive Environments
Effort is required to create this kind of atmosphere. Finding ways to help anyone feel welcome at an event, regardless of their technical skills, race, age, gender, or anything else that makes them slightly different, requires thoughtfulness and intentional actions.
Every interaction inside the Community team and very event held by the community should create an environment that facilitates connection and inspiration, builds confidence in people which will allow them to make personal connections (both speaking and listening), and eventually inspires them to participate.
The Power of Inclusion
Our in-person events allow the community to create connections and build relationships, many of which help it’s members feel confident to step out of their comfort zones and share. They help us collaborate more efficiently, enrich us with multiple perspectives, enable us communicate with compassion, and empower people to find support instead of giving up on the project.
Local events are amplifiers for local WP users, giving them a platform to show how they are expanding WordPress. Safe, inclusive local community contributors and organizers who deeply understand their communities can draw attention to all of the ways WordPress is being used, expanding the community and allowing the project to grow.
In the following quiz, we’ll ask you for some real-world examples of these ideas put into practice.