Announcing Diversity in Swift!

I am thrilled to announce a new initiative for the Swift project called Diversity in Swift!

The mission of Diversity in Swift is to foster an inclusive Swift community by creating more pathways for a diverse group of developers, increasing the engagement and retention of those developers, and helping developers of all backgrounds establish leadership and technical expertise within the community. Our differences in identity and experience enrich our community with new ideas and perspectives, and we are committed to ensuring that everybody feels supported and valued in the Swift community.

More details can be found on the announcement on Swift.org:

Feel free to ask questions about the new initiative here!

CC @diversity-work-group

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It's a great idea to foster bonds and include people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. It's a good intention but I'm afraid by categorizing people into groups such as Black in Swift and Women in Swift, we are not supporting diversity. We simply enforce the idea that there is this group of developers and there is that group of developers. In the future, will we also have Asian in Swift, Arabs in Swift... ?

My 2 cents would be to encourage collaborations by breaking down the skill barrier, recognizing people's contributions publicly and treating everyone with respect. We should create small, very small projects for everyone to contribute. And we should play well with other developers that don't speak English or from different countries. I don't think race and gender are going to help diversity mission. We can treat people fairly by looking at everyone as people, no more categories, no more Black, no more Asians, no more Women; just plain developers, software engineers, people who love programming.

I'm a little passionate about this. Sorry.
Best wishes to our community!

:smile:

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I highly recommend this talk on the importance of groups like this. I used to feel that the general audience space was open to everyone so it must be good enough for everyone, and that demographic specific groups needlessly split the community, but this talk went a long way towards changing my mind.

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I couldn't agree more.

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I appreciate the intention, but this work should be paid, instead of expecting volunteer involvement as unpaid second-shift labor. I recommend this article which explains why women and BIPOC should be paid for their labor in inclusion and diversity efforts: https://www.fastcompany.com/90541130/women-are-drowning-in-unpaid-labor-at-home-stop-making-them-do-it-at-work

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Good job!

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I want all developers of all backgrounds to reach their potential and be supported. But this sounds a lot like woke buzz words to me. How does one even measure if this forum enhances engagement, retention and leadership in the community?

Mentorship programme would be a great idea, as suggested above. A little encouragement, advice and criticism — born out of wanting the other to succeed — can go a long way. But that has nothing to do with diversity; that’s just how a healthy community operates!

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The first two community groups are Women in Swift and Black in Swift . These are private, moderated support spaces on the Swift Forums.

I’m not a woman, nor black, and I’m uncomfortable with the idea that there are secret spaces on this forum that are inaccessible to me simply because I don’t identify as either of those.

Otherwise, I certainly support the idea of encouraging diversity. For instance, the core team itself is entirely male, almost entirely white (from what I’ve seen in presentations), all live and work in the USA, and almost all work for the same employer. I think more diversity on all of those fronts would be welcome.

Note: these are assumptions because there are no biographies of core team members on swift.org. We actually know very little about them.

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I don't mind if alike people band together to discuss things in private; people do this all the time in real life too and it's natural. Whether women or black identity is the right entry criteria for a support group I don't know, but if some people feel safer talking in private to identity-alike individuals that's their choice and I won't judge.

(And I do feel excluded, but that's also true of all private conversations I'm not part of.)

I wonder what triggered this however. Is the climate in this forum hostile towards women or black? Many here would like to know and fix things if this is the case.

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I think @michelf has the key response to this feeling of exclusion, which I suspect is likely a motivating factor in a lot of the discomfort expressed in this thread:

Spaces like this are going to exist, whether in private message threads, off-forum communities, in-person conversations, or some other medium. This initiative provides a home for these spaces that is officially endorsed by the Swift project. If anything, this initiative will make things less secret: the reason we're aware of these community groups at all is because of a public blog post on Swift.org, after all.

IMO, it's far better to have these community groups as first-class members of the Swift community at large than to relegate them to loose, informal collections of marginalized Swift developers who must self-organize to find one another. The visibility afforded to an official community group will enable the inclusion of as many participants as possible, and leadership involvement/endorsement gives the work group a much more viable path to action on any issues, ideas, or feedback that are surfaced by these groups.

I think it's important to fight the urge that we must be involved in (or at least have access to) every conversation on every part of this forum. It's not as though it's been announced that proposal reviews will now be run only in private groups.

Congrats to the Diversity in Swift work group on the launch! Excited for our community to continue to improve and grow. :slightly_smiling_face:

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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

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The community groups are private, but (as I mentioned above) they are by no means secret. IMO, repeatedly describing them as such implies some sort of nefarious intent where there is none.

These groups exist precisely because there are community members who may not want to discuss something in public. Also, just because a discussion may be in the "general interest" does not entitle anybody at at all to observe/participate.

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@forum_admins please unflag Karl‘s message. There is nothing inappropriate in his reasoning.

I don‘t have any issues with people of a different race, gender and what ever else this world likes to divide them into, but I‘m not sure how comfortable I feel about this particular move.

We don‘t officially welcome discussions about SeiftUI nor have we a dedicated corner for that in these Forums, but now we‘re adding corners for diversity? To me it feels a bit strange. I feel more confused by the fact that there aren’t any corners dedicated for other languages. Not everyone speaks English and writes Swift code, even though I as non-native English speaker would be against such split and do prefer English in context of Swift discussion myself. That said I‘m not going to comment any further on that.

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Private, then. I didn’t mean to imply any nefarious intent.

They are public if you self-identify as one of the given minority groups, but shut out to everyone else. That’s the point. They aren’t private, they’re just exclusive - and they exclude based on identity, which is exactly the thing this diversity effort is meant to combat...

If we’re not even able to discuss which steps may or may not be effective at increasing diversity without people trying to get posts removed, I have little hope for this effort. The problems are deeper - people are too squeamish and don’t really want to talk when these issues are brought up.

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People have reached out to the project asking for these spaces. You don't need to participate in them. That's it, that's all you need to have an opinion about.

You and Karl are expressing discomfort that other people will have these spaces available to them, essentially for no reason but that you don't find them valuable yourselves. I'm not sure why your opinions about what other people should find valuable are in any way appropriate or necessary to share. It is tantamount to saying that your comfort is more important than other people's. That is why I removed Karl's post, and it's why I'm debating stronger action.

The project is open to creating more private spaces like this as requested; the current list is not exhaustive. Off-hand, I'm not sure it would make sense to have private spaces for discussion in non-English, as opposed to simply posting in a non-English language in the existing categories, as occasionally happens already; but I'm certainly willing to listen to reason why I'm wrong about that. But I'm afraid this thread is already showing why it's nice to have some spaces that aren't open by default to everyone in the community.

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Meta-question: going forward, is #site-feedback the appropriate place to raise questions like whether a new community group could be created, or will there be a dedicated public space for that sort of discussion?

I have 2 questions regarding this initiative:

  1. What are the guidelines for posting to community groups? More specifically, what kind of topics are encouraged in community groups vs. the public forums?

    I assume some of the topics will be in the form of questions, and some of the questions will be about the design of Swift or general advices. Would this kind of questions be moved or cross-posted to the public forums, or made visible to those outside community groups? Personally, I've found past questions and answers on these forums a treasure trove for deeper understanding of the language. It would be unfortunate if some of the valuable insights are available to only a subset of the community.

  2. What's the process of adding new community groups? Can community members propose them, and if so, what are the criteria for approving them?

    As far as I understand, there are many forms of marginalisation. In addition to race and gender, people have been treated differently simply because of where they''re born, what they believe, what profession they're in, what language/dialect they speak, how they look, how they think... We've already witnessed examples of at least marginalisation by language on these forums. We have seen many [1] [2] discussions regarding supporting people who don't speak english. And probably less visibly, I believe some community members have been disadvantaged by the repositories on GitHub (and other online resources) being inaccessible in their countries. Would these other marginalised groups be given their own community groups, and additional helps as well?

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Yes, a thread in Site Feedback or simply messaging the Core Team privately would both be fine ways to ask for a new community group.

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That’s a mischaracterisation; I don’t agree with that summary at all.

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That would be up to individual people. I would hope that everyone feels comfortable talking about general topics in the public forums, but we would rather people post in private communities than not feel comfortable posting anywhere. If these communities end up have completely different conversations about general topics than the public community is having, I think we need to examine what it is about the public community that's making that private conversation hard to have in public, rather than approaching it from the perspective of stopping that private conversation.

We will absolutely not post things from private communities in the public forums without explicit consent.

We definitely want to do better about supporting non-English speakers both on these forums and more broadly in the community. I know there are some efforts on this underway already, but if you have specific feedback, I think starting a dedicated thread is the right way to go.

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