How can we promote a healthy degree of diversity within the Open Science SE community?

+6 votes
asked Aug 4, 2015 in Meta by Daniel Mietchen (1,215 points)

Many scientific and online communities are rather unbalanced in certain demographic variables (e.g. gender, handicaps, mother tongue, birthplace).

What can we do here at this Stack Exchange site to reach a healthy diversity in this regard?

The closest piece of advice that I am aware of (Ten Simple Rules for Increasing Gender Diversity in Data Science) contains some interesting pointers but would certainly need adaptation in order to become useful here.

This post has been migrated from the Open Science private beta at StackExchange (A51.SE)

1 Answer

+2 votes
answered Aug 5, 2015 by Simon W (155 points)

Try to provide a welcoming and helpful environment for all - not just those with the confidence born of privilege. This means, for example, providing friendly, helpful and above all positive comments when trying to improve a question or answer, rather than the terseness (and sometimes rudeness, intentional or otherwise) that is common on some SE sites. Avoid the stereotypical open-source response to "How should I do A" of "You shouldn't do A". It's usually not helpful, it's just somebody trying to show their superiority. And so forth. Try to treat people here as you might treat a colleague who you want to work with in the future.

Some SE communities have a habit of being quite brutal and then when people are upset, saying "it's not personal". Remember that to many people it is personal, and a meta post saying otherwise doesn't change that. That's not a reason to let bad questions stand, but it's a reason to address them with compassion and empathy.

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