Diversification Postmortem

Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 697
edited November 2015 in TypeDrawers Announcements
Nearly 3 months have passed since the Diversifying TypeDrawers discussion. Despite our desire to include more voices on TD, particularly those of women and other underrepresented groups, very few continued to participate after the promising wave of activity during the summer. This troubles and saddens me. I am discouraged and I struggle to conjure any hope that we can break out of this cycle — but I don’t want to give up. So this is a sincere call for insight specifically from those who rarely post on TD.

How can we do better, both as members and as moderators? To what do you attribute your lack of activity since August? Is it disappointment in that diversity thread? Is it disappointment in the reaction to your posts in other threads? Is it the availability of other/better venues for discussion? 

Again, I think it would be most constructive to hear from those who are not frequent TD participants. To our regulars (who I love and appreciate): please refrain from posting in this thread. Thank you!

Comments

  • I second Erin on so much of what she is saying. 

    Though I loved some of the answers I have gotten to questions I have posted on here, there’s just some things I would rather talk to someone I know and trust in a private or semi-private environment. Sometimes, I just need a one sentence answer.

    Many of us are working on proprietary projects exclusively and contractually cannot run the risk of unintentionally revealing work.

    Also, how the diversifying typedrawers thread went down is another reason to why I don’t really spend tons of time on here. The community is not willing to make the necessary changes that will make this forum more welcoming to new points of view.

  • Erin, I’ll contact you directly. Maybe I have some work you might like.

    Lila, I’m taken aback by your negativism about “the community”. What would you like to happen? There will always be a few bitchy individuals of both all genders (or just type designers and designerettes prone to moments of sarcasm or political incorrectness), and heavy sanctions from the many reasonable and sensitive community members aren’t likely to contribute to the peaceful and tolerant atmosphere on a platform like this.
  • The community is not willing to make the necessary changes that will make this forum more welcoming to new points of view.

    Citation needed.
  • My instincts tell me that it can't be wholly responsible, but could the "real names" policy have at least something to do with it? I've heard of forums where name policies made a huge difference in usage. And in my experience, women are more concerned with privacy than men and, to the extent that privacy==security, they are very much more concerned. Worth asking the question, I think.

  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 697
    edited November 2015
    Richard, I’ve heard from two women who feel uneasy about using their real name, so it’s certainly an issue for some. (We do allow confirmable brand names for those who would rather post under their foundry or studio identity.)

    Still, allowing anonymity has its own dangers. I see far more abuse, trolling, and shameless attacks on sites (like Reddit) where anonymity is encouraged.
  • Indra KupferschmidIndra Kupferschmid Posts: 246
    edited November 2015
    With 167 posts down, not sure if I count as someone who rarely contributes here, but for myself, I have not participated in the past months because of the flagging and the “sobering signal that you are way out of line and should probably take a break from TypeDrawers, for the community’s benefit and your own” I got. Not sure if this prescribed break is up now, the duration isn’t specified in The Rules. But I feel that collapsing posts as frequently as it happened in the past months is not contributing to a tolerant and diverse atmosphere, rather one of policing non-conformative opinions. 

    I still do not understand why a Twitter-link without comment I posted was flagged as Abuse by the moderators and collapsed. (Maybe I also just have a skewed definition of what the word ‘abuse’ means). While I do not agree with the comment by Joe above, I would not have collapsed it. Why? Why not let everyone see what someone writes and form their own opinion if it is not offensive and mobbing a particular person. (We had that in the past, these cases are not what I mean.) 

    Type Drawers does not feel open and tolerant enough for me to go here frequently anymore. 
  • Is there a way where women [or anyone] could register under a real, verifiable name to the site moderators yet only show an online name so that they can avoid abusive contact?
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 697
    edited November 2015
    I understand your concern, Indra. Forum moderation is always a tricky balance. How does one allow free and open speech, while also not tolerating the kind of speech which discourages large groups (such as women) from participating? Some might feel that too few possibly offensive posts are collapsed.

    It is extremely difficult to meet everyone’s definition of tolerance and diversity. This is why I tried to form a balanced committee of moderators so that the definition is spread among a diverse group. What we could do is adjust the threshold by which a post is collapsed. Currently it’s 5 members or 1 moderator and that’s probably not ideal.
  • What does your comment even say, Stephen? That it is difficult? Yes, it is.
  • Sorry, I accidentally posted before I finished. Please read second paragraph.
  • I think moderators should have one vote only, so that it would take 5 people to collapse a comment, not just one person with one specific view on things.
  • That seems reasonable. I'll take this idea back to the moderators.
  • Jacques Le BaillyJacques Le Bailly Posts: 58
    edited November 2015
    In general, I enjoy reading TD, but seldom feel I have a question or answer to contribute. I don't feel specifically excluded, but certainly seeing more diversity would encourage me to post, to feel more like this is my space.

    I often feel like Kemie.

    Having observed TD fo a while, I noticed that like many other forums you often see the same people posting comments. It would be very good if more women would join by posting comments and reactions, but would it really change the overall feel/voice of this forum ?


  • I have to confess that when I see a collapsed post, my curiosity gets the better of me and I always reveal it to see what caused the reaction.
    Which makes me curious if there are readers who don't do that--for whom collapsed really does mean removed from their experience of the site. 
    But maybe the point is not to remove what has been said, so much as to frame it as violating community norms in the hope that similar posts are less likely to appear in the future?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 682
    edited November 2015
    I think moderators should have one vote only, so that it would take 5 people to collapse a comment, not just one person with one specific view on things.
    I think that the entire point of appointing moderators is that they are trusted users who can have a greater say. What's the point of having a moderator who can’t moderate? That said, making a moderator's vote worth, say, three votes instead of five might be a Good Thing?

    If I have spare time, I will click on collapsed posts. If I'm in a hurry, I don't bother.

    (And I'll shut up again, as this thread was originally supposed to be for folks other than me to comment.)
  • I thought the point was to have a team that keeps an eye on the discussions and facilitate, or “mediate” if you will, in cases where an argument gets too stern. They can express their concerns about posts by flagging them, yes, or by intervening in the thread but I don’t think they are here to bowdlerize comments single-handedly.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,051
    edited November 2015
    Bowdlerize! Haven’t come across that word in a long time. Spot on, in a thread discussing boycotting.
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