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Digital Scholarship Innovation Studio

Creating an Inclusive DSI

In addition to safety and usage policies, we request that our users incorporate the following social norms into how they use the space.  These norms are intended to help us all consider how our language can unintentionally make others feel unwelcome in a space like this, particularly if they are new to any aspect of the space or technology.

  • Respect individuals' names, gender, and self expression
  • Recognize that everyone brings something of value to our space.  
  • Avoid well-actually’s (e.g. Well, actually it's FFF printing and not FDM printing because...)
    • These types of statements are often not actually relevant to the conversation.  They can also come across as diminishing the value of the person who is talking.
    • Instead, consider if the conversation can continue without the correction.  Alternatively, if the correction is necessary, try to re-phrase the comment so that it doesn't break the flow of the conversation.
  • Avoid feigned surprise (e.g. Oh, you've never seen a 3D printer before?!)
    • This type of statement can make someone feel bad for not knowing something.  Remember that our users are coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  Our goal is to support everyone and help them find the right process for their needs, regardless of the depth of their experience.
    • Instead, acknowledge and validate the curiosity and experience that someone is bringing to the conversation and consider asking if there are terms or concepts you're using that you can clarify t help them in their learning process.
  • Avoid backseat driving (e.g. interjecting a recommended solution for a problem you're not actively in the conversation about)
    • Unless you're an active participant in the conversation, you may have missed relevant information about the problem. 
    • Instead, ask if you can join the conversation and provide an additional perspective, and listen fully to the problem before offering suggestions.
  • Avoid subtle -isms (e.g. It's so easy even my mom could figure it out)
    • Statements like this suggest that someone of the same age/culture/gender as the individual who could do it because it's so easy isn't the typical type of person who might use or space.  Additionally, everyone has a different set of experiences to pull from.  If they don't find it easy, they may think that there is something wrong with them.
    • Instead, offer to help someone work through a process or show them how you approach the task.  Give them opportunities to ask questions if it's new to them.

Our four avoid statements are modified from the Recurse Center Social Rules.