I wrote this in the team announcement thread. Moving it to a new thread to keep the discussion from mixing up with other topics there:
As Jeanine Adkisson and others have pointed out on Twitter, the level of diversity on the teams is low: in particular there appear to be no women on any of the sub-teams. […]
As a member of the moderation team, I really really think this must change. There are many reasons, but for the moderation team in particular I don’t think we can be maximally effective at helping to uphold the Code of Conduct without a more diverse team. For example, gender bias and gendered harassment are a huge problem in online communities and open source. The moderation team is explictly supposed to fight sexism, racism, and other discrimination. We could see, anticipate, and respond to such issues much better if we had more than just male perspectives on the team.
I’ve contacted the other members of the moderation team, but as it’s Friday night or Saturday morning in most of the world, it’ll be a while before we have all had a chance to discuss it. For now, I have a few more personal thoughts that I want to write down before starting my weekend:
Looking beyond the teams, women and minorities are under-represented in the Rust project and broader community. This is not an excuse; it points to a bigger problem that we also need to solve. I’m not saying that we need to fix the bigger problem first. We can and should build a team now that can best serve the diverse community we want to welcome.
This means looking beyond the group of people who have been most active or visible in the past, and creating more opportunities for new people to come into the project to build its future. As @quantheory said in the other thread, our past can become self-perpetuating if we let it limit us.
I want the best possible moderation team for the Rust community, and I believe that means replacing a too-narrow process with a more inclusive one. This means we recognize the biases that left us where we are today, and find ways of acting that bypass those biases. This doesn’t mean tokenism, or anything against the people who are on the team today. I personally would be happy to be replaced by someone picked from a larger pool of qualified candidates, and want to find the best way to make this happen.
I don’t however want to succumb to the common problem of asking women, people of color, and other victims of discrimination to do disproportionate or unpaid work to fix problems they didn’t create. I’m happy if people care enough to volunteer to help us, but I hope we can find sustainable ways of building our community without putting too much burden on too few people. If you have ideas about how to do this, please let me know.
Mozilla, as the major financial supporter of Rust, has a lot of power in choosing who it pays to work on Rust full-time. Therefore any bias in Mozilla’s hiring and employment practices affects our community. Those of us who are Mozilla employees (including me) have the responsibility of identifying and fixing problems here.
Again, I am speaking only for myself, not for the moderation team or the Rust project or the Mozilla project.