I was up working on some side projects when Andy Bell's note appeared on Monocle. He notes how the IndieWeb (outwardingly facing) is strongly a male-presenting environment. Which is true, for the most part. As far as I know, this has been the case but it's not a mission or goal to keep it this way - it's quite the opposite. Due to the decentralized nature of how IndieWeb stuff works, whomever posts and participates at the time that you see it is the person that you see. No algorithms pushing content you didn't consent to! And when it comes to Wiki work, that's been largely men who've been editing and updating it. This isn't intentional nor by design. In fact, a lot of the recent work people have been doing when it comes to documentation is to make so whoever works on something doesn't have to reinvent the wheel or do unnecessary research - they can even contribute their findings to provide a wider set of data (I do this myself a lot).
What to Do about D&I
There's steps that members have been taking (as mentioned) and are in motion to help with those interested in coming to larger events like the Summit. Attendance at the summit isn't a requirement though - you'd be able to participate remotely! A lot of the conversation / work happens this way because there's a strong understanding of reaching people where they are (geographically in this case). In 2018, the Summit included talks about community building from micro.blog's Jean McDonald - one that impacted me and led thought around projects I'm excited to announce when they're ready. There was also a whole session dedicated to working on diversity and inclusion.
Some Setup Required for the Initial Setup
One thing that does come up as a point of barrier and contention is that "getting into the IndieWeb" requires one to muck with HTML. For developers and designers, this isn't necessarily a road-block depending on how their site is set up. For average users of the Internet and the generation coming in with a mobile-first approach, manipulating class names are possibly the last thing they're concerned with. How do we approach and capture this demographic?
Building more IndieWeb-centric CMS tools
- Reducing jargon on pages (separating introductions from explaintations)
- One-click installs of software people can use to get into the IndieWeb (Wordpress + IndieWeb!)
- Showing usecases of sites that aren't run by Gen 1 users
These are things I notice that people are talking about in chat and on their sites but aren't concretely codified anywhere on the Web. Especially the last bit - having IndieWeb sites that mirror things like comic strips, poetry or other forms of art. That's the largest chunk of people / platform work I notice that rely on social media for traction. If they could pull it back on their own site; it'd give them more autonomy and control around when people see their content as well as how they can keep their online presence going.
I do recommend anyone interested to go back to the diversity and inclusion conversation held at the IndieWeb Summit 2018 and to listen to the points addressed. There's things mentioned during that session that address things we can pull to. Some things I pulled out were:
Using the building blocks to build something people can go with (Indieweb Bento box?)
- Inviting someone who isn't the representative image of the IndieWeb at a higher ratio to events
- Start local - build up a visitorship locally via Website clubs (find one near you!)
- Run a 100 days of IndieWeb session (or 30 - whichever works for you) to demonstrate how things work
- Take the Feynman approach to documentation and explaining the IndieWeb.
I'm very eager and willing to spend time and energy on helping to enhance this space. I definitely have my own motives outside of communal good will but they're transparently held on my company's site. I do think, going forward as more people are aware of the problems with centralization, providing a way out is going to be the way to bring more people in the IndieWeb.