Fostering Inclusivity for Neurodivergent Community Members and Colleagues

There are many different categories of diversity and, as community practitioners, continuously learning about them and questioning our assumptions will only help us build more inclusive communities. In this episode of Community Signal, we’re joined by Wesley Faulkner, a DevRel advocate at Daily, who also advocates for neurodiversity.

Wesley and Patrick discuss several ways in which we can build for inclusivity within our products, communities, and teams, all through the lens of specific real-world situations. For example, if we approached writing job descriptions with inclusivity, would terms like “rock star” and “extrovert” still make their way into job descriptions? How can career tracks that account for the different skills and ambitions of the community managers on our teams create more inclusive games, communities, and more? As Wesley says in this conversation, “constraints makes things better. Some people think that if you do accessibility, that you’re restricting the creativity of the medium, but … when you make [things accessible from] the beginning, it actually can make things better for everyone.”

Take the example that Wesley shares about sidewalks. When sidewalks were redesigned to include ramps for people that use wheelchairs, this also made it “easier for people who are running and jogging on the sidewalk, people who had strollers, [and] for little kids so they would trip less.” How can designing your community with inclusion in mind aid your community members and colleagues?  

Patrick and Wesley discuss:

  • Designing for neurodiverse communities
  • Coaching your community members to be positive contributors
  • Managing community managers with different skills and ambitions

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Big Quotes

Designing your community with accessibility for neurodivergent members in mind (08:27): “In terms of tools [to accommodate neurodivergent people], one easy trick I learned is that if you can navigate the community just with your keyboard, you’re hitting a good 80% to 90% of … use cases in terms of accessibility.” –@wesley83

Accessible communities make for more inclusive communities (12:16): “Constraints makes things better. Some people think that if you do accessibility, that you’re restricting the creativity of the medium, but constraints actually can make things so much more elegant. When you make [things accessible from] the beginning, it actually can make things better for everyone.” –@wesley83

Make the implicit of your community explicit (21:09): “Is this person helping the community or hurting the community? If they’re hurting the community, can you define what it is that they are doing that hurts the community? [Is it] written into the community guidelines?” –@wesley83

Codifying what it means to be a positive community contributor (24:02): “Moderation is education. You’re telling people how to be the best member they can be in the community. If you’re going to do that, then you have to codify what that is.” –@patrickokeefe

About Wesley Faulkner

Wesley Faulkner is a developer advocate for Daily, a 1-click video chat API. He’s previously spent time in developer advocacy or community at IBM, Atlassian, and LiveWorld. Wesley is also the co-host of the Community Pulse podcast, and an advocate for neurodiversity.

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Transcript

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