At Hyperledger, “All are welcome here!” That is a message that we want all current and prospective open source contributors to hear. As open source software (OSS) becomes more prominent, the communities that surround it become more important. Having a community that has a culture of encouraging people to voice their diverse opinions is crucial for the long term success of the project. With the motivation of creating an ecosystem that enables many diverse views, the Hyperledger community with the support of the Hyperledger staff has started the Diversity, Civility and Inclusion (DCI) Working Group (WG).
The journey to creating this WG started at the Hyperledger Member Summit in 2018 in Montreal. Hyperledger is the fastest growing project in the Linux Foundation’s history. Despite that, discussions at the Montreal event raised issues about obstacles to participation. Current processes could make it difficult for newcomers to integrate and participate, and some of the processes do not always promote inclusiveness. Newcomers do not always know where to go to find information or ask questions, and conversely active members have difficulty monitoring all the avenues people can participate (e.g., mailing lists, channels on rocket chat, wiki). Geography sometimes also presents a barrier as meetings and correspondence are optimized for certain time zones over others.
Motivated by the observations at the summit, community members along with Hyperledger staff began discussing how to improve the inclusiveness and in turn increase diversity. They wanted DCI initiatives to be community driven and tracked openly. The DCI WG was created to give interested community members an open forum to investigate, collaborate on solutions, and provide visibility to the DCI issues found in the community. The charter for the DCI WG includes collecting data on various metrics, suggesting possible improvements based on those metrics to the TSC or projects, and, if actions are taken, measuring the impact of them.
Diversity, Civility and Inclusiveness can cover many different community health issues. In order to be the most impactful, the DCI WG decided to focus our efforts and tackle a subset of issues first. One of our first goals will be to collect metrics across as much of that breadth as we reasonably can. We are launching a survey to help baseline the current community. Without that data, it is difficult to know where we need to place our emphasis. One of the small pieces of data we do have today suggests a gap in gender representation. After much discussion, the working group has chosen to make that an initial focus and use what we learn through that process and the survey to expand into other aspects of DCI.
Within the Hyperledger ecosystem, the DCI WG is looking to collaborate with other working groups, SIGs, and projects to analyze and measure diversity. We are also looking to work with groups such as CHAOSS. We encourage everyone to participate, give their feedback, and voice their opinions! One of the ways to participate right now is taking our survey. Regardless of your background, the projects or WGs you work on, we want to hear your ideas and feedback. The DCI WG meets bi-weekly and can be found on Hyperledger Community Meeting Calendar. We also have a mailing list and a chat forum. We welcome all contributors!