Diversity on the governance teams


You can always :heart: the post :wink:


I’m a woman and I just started learning Rust this week, before the 1.0 release, just playing with the beta. I learned about the 1.0 release from multiple friends pointing out the total lack of women and non-white folks on the teams page. Like, that’s the first impression multiple women I know are getting of Rust, and it’s very negative. I don’t know anything about the Rust community, but I do know this was a huge red flag that almost halted my learning Rust. And I know most of the other folks pointing it out basically just dismissed Rust as “yet another one of that kind of open source community.”

Frankly, the only encouraging thing was Twitter replies pointing out that there’s awareness of the problem…But looking at this thread, there’s lots of talk and absolutely nothing being said here on how to fix it, which is very discouraging. Only reason I’m even taking the time to say this is a couple folks engaging me; that needs to be happening across the board, not some local efforts by a handful of folks.

Your teams need to include women asap, because the longer this structure continues right now, the harder it will be to change. Folks like me in “wait and see” mode will only wait so long. You need to be engaging directly with women-focused organizations, and definitely not demanding any women fix the problem for you, because quite frankly, we don’t owe any time to an organization that hasn’t done any of the work necessary to build diversity in the community. Most of us likely aren’t going to want to be the first few token women…


But I wanted to agree with the specific piece of text that I quoted, not show vague liking for the whole post.


Thanks for the post, we (the community) need to hear this.

I have confidence that we will fix it. It’s the weekend after the 1.0 launch, and as far as I can tell most of the core team (who are the ones with the authority to make concrete changes) have not even seen this thread yet. I hope there will be much more constructive discussion (here and elsewhere) by next week.


So, I’ve only just seen this thread (I wasn’t really monitoring my computer or e-mail yesterday) and I see that there is a lot that has been said. I’ve been reading it and trying to process it, but I don’t really have the time to write much at this moment (I’ve just gotten off of an airplane and I have family obligations so I will not be able to sit down at a computer until Monday). In the meantime, I just wanted to write something to indicate that I am listening and reading this thread. I agree with a lot of what has been said, and I’m definitely very interested in increasing the diversity of both our community and the subteams and would like to find the most effective ways to do that.

(To be clear: while I am on the core team, I’m speaking personally here, and not in any kind of “official” capacity.)


Hi @starkat99! I’ve been spending a couple hours today researching what kinds of things I can do to make the mod team and the meetups more welcoming. Frankly I’m thrilled this has come up because it’s past time we started to shift the community from just building the technology into building the community. My current plans are to:

  • organize more intro to rust mentoring rust days
  • organize round tables with community members and external leaders on how they grew their projects some small projects to global communities. Hopefully I’ll convince people from projects like the Ada Initiative, Ruby bridge, and the Apache foundation to come meet with us
  • encourage a more diverse speaker group. This may take some time though because I’m having enough trouble recruiting speakers in general, instead,
  • I’ll see if I can encourage our speakers to go speak about rust at events with a diverse audience.

All this will take some time to get moving, but I hope once it does it’ll help to assuage your concerns. We care quite deeply about making everyone feel welcome here. If not, how else will we take over the world? :smiley:

Organizing Community Organization

For the sake of clarity: I don’t accept disassociation. You are on the team page, you are speaking team.

Otherwise, separating statements later will be far to hard and people can say they spoke “off the record” on the record.

I’m confused that an announced “government team” is unable to govern for the days after the announcement.


Thank you for your observations.

It’s just started. Like I said, we’ve sort of only noticed the problem (which is a bad thing in itself, agreed); and we’re hoping for ideas on how to fix it. We’re also thinking of ways to fix it. @nrc already had an interesting idea about a mentorship program (which we’ll flesh out and post about later if all goes well) that if designed properly could help people, especially marginalized ones.

I was hoping this thread would focus on how to move forward (and I said this multiple times), but it didn’t turn out that way, sadly.

I do believe that we will come up with solutions soon enough though.

Any additional input on how to move forward from here would be very helpful though! Letting other women (and parties involved in diversity movements) know about this discussion can help too; if advice and solutions are fielded that would be awesome!

(I can be contacted directly at my username at gmail if people don’t want to post here)

I’m not sure how this can be done to be frank. There are very few women in the Rust community itself (the online community, at least). This itself is a problem, and that’s what we’re trying to fix. I’m hoping someone will volunteer for this (or be contacted by someone else). Carol, for example, was too busy to take part, and that’s understandable.

It is an option to include someone from outside the community, especially as part of the moderation team. As mentioned before the outsider perspective would be very valuable to have. If you or anyone else is interested, let me know. I’m not speaking for the entire mod team here and can’t guarantee anything, but I’m open to someone who is not currently an active member of the Rust community to help out with the moderation.

As mentioned by both me and Matt above, having a woman in the mod team is necessary for optimal function (see Diversity on the governance teams); so it’s not tokenism.

Also now that 1.0 is out many companies are working with Rust in production; we could perhaps offer them positions on subteams that they are involved with. Currently the only company with both interest and representation in Rust is Mozilla – people on all sides (including Mozilla!) have expressed that they want this to change. In such situations we could explicitly look for women to add to the teams.

I don’t think we are demanding anyone to fix the problem. We are trying to fix it ourselves, though we would welcome feedback and advice from more people like you.

I agree; we should also engage with women-focused organizations.

As I mentioned before I’m reluctant to take any direct initiative myself because I don’t feel that I can represent the community as a whole; but I’ll try to ensure that this gets done by the core team. Though they probably will notice your advice and do it anyway :smile:

Thank you for your time and feedback!


He isn’t speaking off the record, he’s just stating that he’s not speaking on behalf of the core team. The core team is free to have varying opinions. They may also have a decision made together on a topic, which will be communicated as such.

You misconstrue the purpose of the government team. The purpose is outlined here and has to do with technical governance; i.e. shepherding technical discussions (RfCs). The moderation team is different; it isn’t technical and handles enforcement of the code of conduct. The scope is to ensure that users violating the CoC are appropriately warned and/or banned.

Also, the teams were just formed, and as the governance rfc states a lot has been kept up to the teams to decide. Very little of it has been decided yet.

An issue like this has little to do with the governance teams.

The handling of such an issue is mainly in the core team’s purview, and most are off resting on their weekend. Many have been working very hard up to the 1.0 release and really deserve this time off. I and Matt can’t speak for the core team on this issue, but we can acknowledge the problem and start hunting for solutions, which is exactly what is happening.

Nor is it an issue that can be handled in realtime.

However, I have been pondering the need of a “community” subteam. This was proposed at some point during the governance rfc discussions, but was considered to be a team that could be spun up later. At the time the focus was on helping with community events, but this sort of subteam could be easily expanded in responsibility.

The basic idea is to have a team that takes care of community growth and nurtures the community; sort of like a group of community managers to use the industry term. Addressing issues like these would be one of their priorities. Community events and the rest also fall under this umbrella.

Perhaps the core team would be willing to consider the formation of such a team. The governance rfc allows for the core team to spin up and shut down subteams at will, so that’s easy to do.


This document goes at great length about the moderation team being held by the code of conduct and the core team having the final word on interpreting the code of conduct and being allowed to remove people from the moderation team. How am I misconstruing? The core team has community tasks. It also created this document.

As I said before, I consider this very announcement from friday a violation of the code of conduct. This is a core team issue.

If very little has been decided, why are decisions announced?

I thought the core team is just for technical things? One or the other.

And how should such a team work if the core team violates community norms?

Here again: I’d like to shortcut the discussion with you. We have different opinions and ideas here. Fair enough. The core team itself has damaged my projects. I’d like to hear their plan on healing that.


Not everyone does.

The teams were decided. Their responsibilities were too. That can be announced. How they plan to operate was not. It was not expected that we’d need to handle anything immediately.

No. I said the announced governance structure (sans mod team) was a technical thing. The core team existed before that and has handled the final decision making for everything. There wasn’t much community focus before, but yes, for all things not covered by the subteams, they handle now.

Sure. I just don’t see why you keep trying to place blame on everyone and misconstruing responsibilities. Your messages have been misdirected and accusatory. This entire thread seems to be full of you searching for someone to yell at, and this irks me. Yes, mistakes were made. I already owned up to not noticing this in the past myself. But I don’t see a point dwelling on this; it’s not constructive whatsoever. Instead we should come up with ways to move forward (which I’ve been trying to say in the start). We already have some ideas, and I hope that once the week starts the core team can initiate some in-depth discussions with people who can help. We should continue to work in that vein.


(And if you weren’t looking for someone to blame, sorry, but that’s how most of your comments read to me. Though of course you had multiple useful points too, and I thank you for those)


What should we have done? Delayed the release because we don’t have a woman moderator? The primary reason there are no women among the developers is that we were not particularly trying to do outreach before 1.0. We wanted a governance structure for 1.0, and that requires a moderation team.


The day following, many are flying back home.

Also, it’s the weekend, and family should always take priority over any online community. Just wait till Monday.


This in itself is a problem, too. We probably shouldn’t have done that. But it’s already happened, so we can’t change that; let’s fix it!


They have worked tirelessly to get to 1.0 for months and months now. They are no doubt exhausted. It is also the weekend. I get that things move fast on the internet these days, but can we not jump to conclusions just because they have been slow to respond in the last couple of days?


For anybody who is soliciting opinions/advice from members of an underrepresented group, please consider the following:

  • Queries of the form “What are your thoughts on [link to this thread]?” are not ok. Firstly, there’s a lot of content to read through here. Secondly, it places the responsibility on their shoulders to suggest improvement, which is what @skade was referring to earlier. That is passing the buck in a way that perpetuates the status quo while giving the appearance of effecting positive change. See this Model View Culture article for a more thorough explanation of the harm this does. (edit: I misrembered the content of the article; Ashe Dryden has a more relevant blog post about it instead).

  • Asking members of underrepresented groups if they are willing to share their experiences is good. This shifts the focus from “tell us what to do” to “tell us what has [not] worked previously”. The earlier posts by @carols10cents and @starkat99 are great because they provide data to help drive decisions. That being said, there is a lot of prior art out there; if you are soliciting these sorts of responses, focusing directly on experiences with this community will yield more goodwill and new information.

  • While requests for feedback on specific actions we want to take may seem constructive, given the prior paragraphs, this again shifts the responsibility onto the shoulders of the marginalized and requires them to perform labour for our benefit. Don’t do this unless the person you’re contacting has previously expressed willingness to provide said feedback.

Organizing Community Organization

Thanks. I’ve been guilty of this; didn’t know that it could be harmful. Sorry about that.

I’ll try to read up on stuff later.


@skade, your posts come off as highly aggressive, especially with respect to timing (for desired actions by both the moderation and core teams). While I am no moderator, I believe this is itself a violation of the code of conduct. It tends to cause discussions to get partially derailed by arguments over who is right, influencing each “side” to instinctively approach the issue from the standpoint of finding a flaw in the others’ statements, often within relatively minor sub-topics, rather than of working to find common ground and build a consensus. In this case, I believe issues regarding potential culpability in the core team should be tabled until said team (in its entirety) has a chance to respond to the claims; what should be done moving forward is hopefully overall a less contentious topic.


FWIW as a moderator I don’t think it’s a violation. Aggression is generally unwanted (and if this were a technical discussion I might have asked them to calm down), but not a violation in itself. Aggression is generally coupled with other things which are a violation. Not here.

It’s also sometimes necessary. I think that some of their strong comments were very helpful and might not have been if not stated so forcefully. In a discussion in such matters, we can make an allowance to emotions running high. We won’t bend the code of conduct for it, but we shouldn’t try to moderate it to that extent either.

(I’d like to remind everyone to try to keep it polite regardless. If you can say it nicely, please do so! :smile: )

That being said, I think we should stop discussing specific people and focus on the main discussion :smiley: . I apologize for initiating that trend.